Open day on Saturday April 23 to mark crematorium’s 50th anniversary

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An open day at Swindon’s Kingsdown Crematorium and Cemetery is to be held on Saturday April 23 to mark its 50th anniversary.
A variety of interactive events are planned for visitors, including a service at 1.50pm featuring the Great Western Harmony Choir in the chapel to remember those who have been cremated at the facility.

A memorial bench and timeline will be unveiled by Swindon Mayor Councillor Andrew Bennett and visitors can also take part in behind-the-scenes tours.

Staff will be available to help people look up old cremation and burial records and help with their genealogy enquiries.

Local historian Graham Carter will give a talk about the site’s history and people will have the opportunity to leave remembrance notes in the chapel.

Stone masons, funeral directors and other businesses will man stands at the open day, which will conclude with a balloon launch to commemorate those cremated and buried there.

People do not have to book to attend the open day, which begins at 11am. Tours will be at 11.15am, 12.15pm & 1.15pm.

More than 82,000 cremations have taken place at the Kingsdown Road facility since it opened on 21 April 1966, with 2,000 happening in its first three years. In 2015 a total of 2,028 cremations were held there.

Mamie Beasant, Swindon Borough Council’s Head of Registration and Bereavement Services, said: “Kingsdown Crematorium plays a big part in the local community as it is a place where people gather to remember loved ones.

“What many people may not know is its history and how it is run. An open day to mark the crematorium’s 50th anniversary is the perfect opportunity to find out more and I am sure staff there are looking forward to showing people around.