When you suffer the loss of a loved one the array of things you need to do can be totally overwhelming, from the moment they take their last breath and you find yourself thrust into collecting their death certificate and having to register their death to the minute they are buried or cremated and you have to acknowledge this is a final “goodbye”.


The only remaining thing for you to do is to decide how to mark their final resting place – what kind of a memorial will you put in place for them – and who can you trust to help you and guide you through the range of options open to you?


This may be the last chance you have to put into something tangible all the love and feelings you have for the person you have lost and, further, create that special place you can visit where it’s ok to grieve.  A place to take time to think and remember the good and bad times – shed a tear or two and in time a place which will become part of your healing and acceptance that life will never be the same again.  It is also a place for future generations to visit and learn about their heritage.


Whilst a funeral director may have a limited catalogue of standard memorials they can offer you “off the shelf” they can be lacking in the knowledge needed to offer a full service to you.

  They may not, for example, be able to advise on the cost of a permit for the memorial or the sizes and any other rules or regulations applicable to your chosen place of burial.  Buying online can also be risky and impersonal.


Monumental masons are much more experienced and better placed to advise you on the available options and, if you want something truly unique to you, their expert designers and draftsmen, together with a team of craftsmen artists, stone carvers and stonemasons will be able to take your thoughts and ideas through from concept to completion to create a fitting and beautiful memorial.

One such company who specialises in doing just that in and around the Yorkshire area is family-run J Rotherham.  The Rotherham family have been creating distinctive stone memorials for over four generations, indeed the stone carvers and masons carrying on the tradition in the business today learnt their skills at the hands of Joe Rotherham Senior, who still keeps a watchful eye over the business.


I asked a group of J Rotherham staff what they felt was important when helping their clients to choose and create a memorial?


First to answer was Matt Allsopp, who runs their showroom in Hull: “To show empathy, sympathy,  be friendly and understanding also able to listen and to know how and when to change the tone of the conversation. Most of all, always are willing to go the extra mile.”


Next to share her thoughts was Carol Nesfield, whose varied role finds her running one of their showrooms together with working in their head office and dealing with their suppliers,  “ If I personally needed to buy a memorial I would want to be able to take my time and not feel pressured.  I would want to feel that I wasn’t just another sale, that my memorial was extremely important to the person serving me, that they had to time to listen to me talk about my loved one.  That is how I hope we help our clients to feel.”


Business Development Manager, Michelle Smith added: “For me, it would be being kept updated and informed every step of the way and having confidence in the company .. if I ask for something that isn’t going to work or isn’t going to look good would they tell me?”


Anna Buckley, a member of the Rotherham Family and Company Director agreed with Michelle but observed: “This is definitely true… but can be a tricky one I think.  It needs to be handled with diplomacy and is an area where drawings and examples can be used to help the client.”


Juleigh Rigby, from their Branch in Goole, shared: “ I think it’s important to make the customer feel like they are your only one.”


From their York Branch, Sharon Malone concludes: “I would echo all of the above.  For me it’s important to understand something of the person the deceased was – what made them tick, what were their passions in life…what should be reflected in the memorial and beyond that what they meant to those left behind.  This is when it becomes really personal and the memorial becomes more than a memory.”


So choose carefully when planning your lasting tribute to your loved one and select a company who is going to take loving care over your “In loving memory”.


Sincere thanks to the staff of J Rotherham for their contribution to this post.  J Rotherham has branches throughout Yorkshire. For more information and contact details please visit: www.jrotherhammemorials.co.uk 



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