A Bristol cemetery has been praised for allowing people to take as long as they need to say goodbye to their loved-ones.

Mireille Hayden of Gentle Dusk, which provides training for those working with the bereaved, singled out Bristol Memorial Woodlands, just north of Bristol, as a great example.

Her comments came during National Grief Awareness Week (December 2-8) where health and care professionals will be using the week to discuss all aspects of bereavement and grieving.

She said: “We are in an age where crematoria give short allocated time slots for a funeral and often there is no grave, headstone or place where someone can go to remember their loved one.

“Bristol Memorial Woodlands offers people the chance to take as much time as they want to say goodbye to someone.

“There is a burial with a tree becoming part of a marvellous woodland where families can visit whenever they feel the need. There is something timeless about a woodland setting and it is a place of calm where people can reflect and come to terms with their grief.

“Creating and protecting this natural environment for the future is very positive. The model should be replicated across the country.”

Mireille says grief affects people in different ways and can last for years.

“In our fast-moving modern world many people just do not find the time to grieve. It is not something that just happens when a loved one dies and ends with a funeral.”

Mireille’s comments came after she led two training workshops at the Woodlands, with specialist palliative care doctor Mark Taubert as keynote speaker.

David Rae of Bristol Memorial Woodland said: “Often death and dying is a taboo subject but it is a conversation we all need to have as it affects us all. Everyone copes with grief in a different way.

“It is marvellous to see whole families having a picnic under a tree where grandparents were buried; or a person sitting alone with their thoughts in the woodland.

“Because people can visit us at any time and enjoy the space and where there is a specific plot and tree allocated to the person, individuals can take as long as they need to grieve.”

Plans are being drawn up for Gentle Dusk, which delivers training programmes and workshops for staff, volunteers and the public to help them overcome barriers about end of life and life planning, to hold events at the Woodlands in 2020.

More information on Bristol Memorial Woodlands can be found at www.memorialwoodlands.com and www.gentledusk.org.uk.