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The Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall Praises Secure Haven’s Pioneering Work

Dean of Chelmsford, The Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall

Dean of Chelmsford, The Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall

An Essex business founded with the aim of supporting the recently bereaved by looking after ashes after cremation has earned support of one of the area’s leading Church of England figures. The Dean of Chelmsford, the Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall, visited Secure Haven at Margaretting and praised the company’s ‘pioneering’ work in storing cremated ashes with dignity and respect while families worked through their grief and came to decisions about their final resting place.

The cremated remains of a loved one who has died can raise real questions here. It may not be at all obvious where they should go. The bereaved themselves may be in no state to make a helpful decision.

Dean of Chelmsford, The Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall

Dean Henshall added he knew ‘immediately’ that Secure Haven owners Cheryl and Paul Yarwood were ‘onto something important about the process of grief’ and that this gave important ‘breathing space for grieving people.’ Said the Dean:

‘Those who are responsible for funerals in my experience do an excellent job – and I speak as an Anglican priest who has taken several thousand funerals over the last 26 years.  Bereaved people receive excellent pastoral care, and funeral directors play a very significant role that is not simply practical but provides real emotional support. 

Dean of Chelmsford, The Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall

‘But what happens next?’ The majority of people in the UK are cremated. And for many, there is a straightforward answer to the question of what to do with the cremated remains. They must be scattered or buried at a cemetery, interred in a churchyard, placed in a columbarium, taken to a special place of significance.’

For others, however, the choices were not so clear cut. Recently national media reports that thousands of unclaimed ashes are left over at a Funeral Directors did not surprise the Dean.

The fact that so many sets of cremated remains are left for so long with funeral directors seems to point to a real sense of bewilderment for many grieving people. We live in a  culture with few signposts about what to do, and no common tardyons about grief and mourning. Which is why I was so eager to visit Secure Haven and delighted with what I encountered. What Cheryl has created there is not a sombre place at all but a building full of light which invites you in. The place where the ashes are kept is exactly appropriate.

Dean of Chelmsford, The Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall


Dean Henshall added:

It is a fascinating and significant contribution to the support of bereaved people and in encouraging more emotionally intelligent approach to grief.

Dean of Chelmsford, The Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall