Despite the Coronavirus restrictions that have put Burial Authorities under increased pressure this year, with many Cemetery Managers working from home, the Cemetery of the Year Awards received more entries than ever.
And this year’s competition showed a marked improvement in the scores achieved by the entrants, which again confirms the competition is having a positive effect on promoting best practice.
The Parish, Town and Community Council category attracted the largest number of entries, with many examples in all categories of how questions and feedback provided by the competition have prompted positive changes to be made – changes that will benefit everyone involved in the industry and, most importantly, the bereaved.
The Awards were originally created by the Memorial Awareness Board (MAB) in order to promote choice of memorials in cemeteries and encourage cemetery authorities to think more about how they could make their cemeteries more attractive and relevant public spaces.
The Awards expose the best practice of the winning cemeteries, giving other cemeteries ideas about how they can improve. They also improve standards and create environments and services that are safer, user friendly and compliant with current legislation.
The Awards are still supported by MAB but, these days, also by the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management (ICCM), The Federation of Burial & Cremation Authorities (FBCA), The Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) and the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons (BRAMM).
Normally the Awards are presented at the annual conference of the ICCM in September. As it was not possible to hold that this year, with the AGM taking place instead online this month (12 November), the Cemetery of the Year winners were informed remotely and sent their Gold and Silver Awards by post.
Gold winners are:
- Large Burial Ground – Thornhill Cemetery
- Small/Medium Burial Ground Category – Tipton Cemetery
- Parish, Town and Community Council Burial Ground Category – Forest Row Cemetery
- Natural Burial Ground Category – Clandon Wood Nature Reserve and Natural Burial Ground
They each receive a £1,000 cash prize for the cemetery, a Cemetery of the Year 2020 Gold Engraved Plaque, a Cemetery of the Year 2020 Gold Certificate, and a Cemetery of the Year press release to send to their local media.
Silver Award winners get a certificate and press release.
All the winners were encouraged to take photos of themselves with their Awards to accompany their press releases.