Cemetery of the Year winners 2019

Winners of this year's national Cemetery of the Year Awards at the presentation ceremony this month.

This year's Cemetery of the Year Award winners were announced at the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management (ICCM) Learning Convention & Exhibition at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, this month (24 September). Winners were presented with Gold and Silver Awards by Brent Stevenson from the Cemetery of the Year (CYA) Committee.

The winners

Category: Large Burial Grounds above 10,000 graves

  • Gold - Thornhill Cemetery. (Cardiff)
  • Silver - Brookwood Cemetery (Surrey)
  • Silver - Romford Crow Lane Cemetery (South Essex)

Category: Small/Medium Burial Grounds up to 10,000 graves

  • Gold - Tipton Cemetery. (West Bromwich)
  • Silver - Dunham Lawn Cemetery (Cheshire)
  • Silver - Castleside Cemetery (Durham)

Category: Parish, Town and Community Council Burial Grounds

  • Gold - Bourne Town Cemetery (Lincolnshire)
  • Silver - Forest Row Cemetery (East Sussex)
  • Silver - Chesham Bois Burial Ground (Buckinghamshire)

Category: Natural Burial Ground (this was a new category for this year)

  • Gold - Clandon Wood Nature Reserve and Natural Burial Ground. (Surrey)
  • Silver - Old Park Meadow Natural Burial Ground (Essex)
  • Silver - Atlantic Rest Natural Burial (Cornwall)
  • Silver - Arnos Vale Cemetery Natural Burial Woodland (Bristol)

The Cemetery of the Year competition was started in the 1990s and re-established in 2018 by the Memorial Awareness Board (MAB) after having not been held for several years. It is free to enter and open to all UK cemetery authorities. Entry is by an on-line application form with an assortment of multiple choice questions. The questions reflect some of the important areas of cemetery management. By comparing their scores with the average in their categories, participants can see the areas where their cemeteries scored well and where they could improve. 

Following last years’ competition, a Cemetery of the Year booklet was published summarising the questions and showing the answers given by entrants. A copy was sent to all the cemeteries that entered the competition.

This proved a useful exercise and will be repeated this year, when the booklet will also include further advice on cemetery management best practice compiled by the associations and organisations that endorse the Cemetery of the Year Awards (see below).

Philip Potts, who manages the Awards programme, says: “The Awards offer an excellent opportunity to reward hard-working staff and demonstrate the central role cemeteries and churchyards can play in the community. The competition is structured to allow all entrants to measure their cemeteries against other cemeteries in their category in areas such as industry standards, memorial registration schemes and freedom of choice. 

"Significantly, the scores in this year’s competition were higher from the cemeteries that had entered last year’s competition. They had made improvements based on best practice advice from CYA 2018. This is both encouraging and reassuring, showing that CYA is having a positive effect by not only rewarding hard working staff but also creating an information source of best practice in burial grounds from leading industry organisations. This allows entrants to develop their cemeteries, improve standards and create environments and services that are safer, more user friendly and compliant with current legislation.”

The Cemetery of the Year Award has been supported and endorsed by the following leading industry associations:

Pictured below are all the Gold and Silver Award winners.