A donation of £15,000 from a Havant crematorium will help a charity provide its services across the whole country.

The donation to The Swan Song Project by The Oaks Crematorium was thanks to the generosity of families who have lost a loved one.

The donation was raised through a national verified scheme that recycles metals which remain after cremation with the express consent of bereaved families, such as items used in the construction of the coffin or orthopaedic implants.

The charity, the Swan Song Project, was chosen by colleagues at The Oaks to receive the donation of £15,000 due to the positivity it created around a subject that is often treated as taboo.

It gives people facing end of life and those surrounding them the opportunity to write and record their own original song.

Swan Song founder, Ben Buddy Slack, said: “For a charity our size, this donation really does make such a huge difference and we really appreciate the support.

“It is a very exciting time at Swan Song as we aim to make our unique service available across the country. The pandemic forced us to find a way to write songs with people over Zoom which has gone amazingly well.

“We want anyone who is facing the end of their life or dealing with a bereavement to have the opportunity and support to write and record their Swan Song and we are excited about being able to offer this service to more and more people.

“This donation will make a huge difference to our ability to expand the service. We are working hard to build new partnerships, raise awareness and recruit and train more songwriters so more people can have the opportunity to leave their legacy in song.”

The recycling of metals is done with the written consent of each bereaved family via the scheme run by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management.

The proceeds are then returned to the crematorium who donates the money to local charities.

Sue Mawson, Crematorium & Natural Burial Ground Team Manager, said: “The funeral service itself is often personalised, with music, pictures and words, but as we all know, a song will last a lifetime.

“To have a song written and sung just for one specific person strikes me as a beautiful gift. Even at the saddest time of facing the inevitable, the photos and stories spark joy and love that is evident, and the time and effort that Ben and his team put into this can never be assumed.

“Lockdown has affected everyone, and especially during funeral when attendance was limited, closeness was avoided and all at a time when this was what was important. The Swan Song Project has enabled a person in end of life to have a voice and to be heard in a way they have chosen for themselves.”

The Oaks Crematorium in Havant is part the regional, independent co-operative, Southern Co-op, and is set in 8.5 acres surrounded by ancient semi-natural woodland and a wildflower meadow, providing a picturesque setting and a space for all cultures, ages and beliefs.

To find out more about The Oaks Crematorium, visit www.havantcrematorium.co.uk. 

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