Austin's Blog


Harwood Park – an oasis of quiet contemplation

April 9th, 2017    Author:

Harwood Park – an oasis of quiet contemplation

 After a loved one has died, it can be comforting to return to their place of rest and spend some undisturbed time in quiet contemplation. At Harwood Park Crematorium and Memorial Gardens in Stevenage, we have 25 acres of grounds cocooned in open countryside that you are welcome to visit whenever you need to.

It’s a lovely place to enjoy the beauty of nature as you wander through Cherry Avenue, take in the majesty of Chestnut Avenue or breathe in the scent of flowers in our Rose and Trellis gardens. Our well-kept grounds also include Formal Memorial Gardens, a pond and children’s garden.

Many people come to Harwood Park regularly to lay fresh flowers or tend memorials that are dotted in special areas throughout the grounds. With a personal memorial garden, the ashes of your loved one can be scattered or buried within your chosen plot, accompanied by a feature tree, rose or shrub and an engraved memorial plaque. We have a choice of plots in different shapes, some of which are suitable for the ashes of up to four people – a lovely way to keep loved ones together.

Our memorials also include benches and seats, with an inscription dedicated to the person who has passed. Located by the pond and within our woodland areas, among other places, these make wonderful places to sit and quietly gather your thoughts.

You may wish to come to Harwood Park to visit what’s known as a ‘living memorial’ – a memorial tree planted in your loved one’s name. We have chestnut, birch and woodland trees, all planted as saplings so you can watch them grow and mature. There are memorial trees throughout our grounds and woodlands, all accompanied by a memorial tablet or plaque of your choice. Ashes can be scattered or buried by the tree.

All our memorials are available to you, whether or not the funeral was held at Harwood Park. We want our grounds to be somewhere you feel welcomed and comforted. A quiet, unhurried place you can return to time and again to reflect, remember and reminisce.

Tranquil setting of Harwood Park Crematorium

Tranquil setting of Harwood Park Crematorium

* If you would like help choosing a memorial for Harwood Park, please call us on 01438 815555.

How to write a eulogy

July 19th, 2016    Author:

When a loved one dies, you might be asked to give a eulogy at their funeral. This is a poignant way to say goodbye to the deceased and to commemorate their life. While it’s an honour to give a eulogy, it can feel like a daunting task so we’ve put together some tips that we hope will help you.

Before writing the eulogy it’s always worth asking the deceased’s family if they would prefer a particular style. Some eulogies are quite formal – giving a chronological overview of the deceased’s personal and professional life – while others are more personalised using stories and anecdotes. Often, a eulogy will combine a bit of both styles.

You don’t have to come up with all the stories and anecdotes yourself. Ask the deceased’s friends and family to share their favourite memories so you can include them. Don’t feel like you’re burdening them by asking for their help – talking about their loved one can help with the grieving process and they’ll appreciate hearing their recollections in your eulogy.

If you’re having difficulty recalling your own memories, take some time to visit the deceased’s house if you can. Seeing a particular ornament or smelling the flowers in their garden may trigger a memory. You could also look through photo albums or old letters for inspiration.

A eulogy could also include a passage from the Bible or a favourite quote of theirs or a memorial poem you feel would be appropriate.

Once you’ve written a rough draft of the eulogy with everything you’d like to include you can edit it. And of course it’s a good idea to practise reading the eulogy a few times before the funeral.

On the day, you’re bound to feel nervous – you’ll be speaking in front of a group of people and it will be a very emotional time for everyone. Don’t worry about letting those emotions show or stumbling over the occasional word. Just remember that you’re all there together, united in your love for the person to whom you’re saying goodbye.

* Austin’s are here to help you with all aspects of planning a funeral. Please get in touch with us on 01438 316623.

It’s OK To Cry at a Funeral

December 14th, 2015    Author:

 ‘To weep is to make less the depth of grief’ – William Shakespeare

Many people worry about crying when they’re at a funeral. They may feel that it’s inappropriate to grieve publicly, or worry that they’ll embarrass themselves, particularly if they find themselves overcome with grief. For other people, they might be concerned that their tears will be upsetting for others, and feel anxious about how they’re going to keep their emotions under control.

When you’re saying goodbye to a loved one, it’s perfectly normal – and acceptable – to cry. You’re mourning the loss of someone you knew and feeling great sadness that they will no longer be there in your life. There’s no need to hold back the tears when they come.

Of course not everybody cries at a funeral. Some people prefer to grieve alone, and that is fine, too. If you’re giving a eulogy, you might want to be ‘strong’ so you can get through the speech. In fact, as you recall amusing anecdotes you might find yourself laughing at the memories – laughter, like tears, is a wonderful way of releasing emotions.

Crying can actually help with the grieving process. When we cry, our tears help the body rid itself of chemicals that raise the stress hormone cortisol. That’s why many people feel better once they’ve had a cry. In fact, in one survey, 85% of women and 73% of men said they felt less sad and angry after they’d had a cry. Allowing yourself to cry means you can slowly, bit by bit, release your pent-up emotions and move from a place of deep sadness to one of acceptance.

* Don’t forget to join us for mince pies and mulled wine at our annual Christmas Carol Service at Harwood Park on Wednesday 16th December at 7.30pm. It’s a wonderful way to remember loved ones who remain in our hearts if not in our lives. For your free ticket, call 01438 815555. Donations gratefully received for the Samaritans.

Anglia In Bloom – Best Crematorium

October 7th, 2014    Author:
Harwood Park Crematorium has been awarded ‘Best Crematorium’ in the Eastern counties of Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk by ‘Anglia In Bloom’.
We are absolutely thrilled to receive the award which reflects the hard work and dedication of the whole team and especially Richard Densham, Steve Mumford (Head Gardener), Matt Read and Rob Bass. The award is a tribute to John Austin, as it was his vision, perseverance and creativity which resulted in the construction of Harwood Park Crematorium and Memorial Gardens.

Our fantastic team of gardeners