It is difficult to be buried or have your ashes interred in Rayleigh after you die. The Cemetery at Rayleigh has no further grave or cremation plots available for purchase, which with the exception of children’s graves has reached its capacity.
However later this year the District Council will be providing a new feature – a columbarium. This was a new word for us – if you look it up you’ll find it means:
“a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns (i.e. urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains). The term comes from the Latin columba (dove) and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons called a dovecote.”
It is not being publicised yet, and the final details are still being worked out, but it will take the form of two fairly low pillars, faced in two different shades of granite, set in a small south-facing space with some rose bushes. Each compartment will be able to securely hold one or two urns. One advantage over interment is that if the deceased descendants are leaving the area, they could have the urn taken out of the columbarium for placing in another locality.
This seems to be a tasteful and thoughtful idea from officers, encouraged by the Conservative portfolio holder Mike Steptoe; it deals with an understated but genuine local need, and we believe will be financially self-sufficient. So full marks to the District Council for this.