Under-fire council bosses have reversed a controversial decision to take down a large wooden cross from Accrington Crematorium.
Hyndburn council leader, Coun Miles Parkinson has announced that the original cross, which has been at Accrington Crematorium for 60 years, is to be reinstated after it was removed during a recent £17,000 refurbishment.
The removal of the cross provoked outrage after council bosses said it was due to general guidance for crematoria that the building should be non-denominational offering the flexibility to make all families welcome ‘whatever their beliefs’.
It was set to be replaced by a smaller cross on the altar, and only put back upon request for individual services, but the council leader has now intervened to reverse that decision.
Coun Parkinson said: “After listening to people’s views, I have decided to have the cross at Accrington Crematorium reinstated and curtains put in place to allow it to be covered if bereaved families request this during the service for their loved one. This is the best option available to cater for those of faith or no faith.
“The staff do a great job of maintaining our Cemeteries and Crematorium and we get lots of compliments for the service and the support families receive as they experience this difficult time. Whilst I understand what they were trying to achieve in having the old cross removed during the recent refurbishment, I think it’s important that the council always listens to public opinion and for this reason I have asked for the original cross to be reinstalled.”
He added: “Unfortunately I was away on holiday when the decision was taken, but I’ve looked into the issue immediately upon my return and have decided that this is the right thing to do.
“We will always try to make sure that the services we provide meet the needs of the community we serve and, following on from the recent refurbishment at Accrington Crematorium, we are now looking to install a screen and audio visual equipment, which will allow families to view photos of their loved ones during the service if they wish. “We’ve also recently bought land in Great Harwood which will ensure that in the long term loved ones can have a final resting place by their family. Also work at Accrington cemetery is currently ongoing renewing footpaths and roads there and creating new car park facilities.”
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