A MULTI-MILLION pound Vale facility offering families an alternative to traditional cemetery burials is set to begin serving the public on Monday (October 3).
The £4m Vale of Glamorgan Memorial Park and Crematorium, set on a 20-acre site off Port Road East, Wenvoe, has the capacity to provide up to 1,300 cremations each year.
Memoria Ltd chairman and chief operating officer, Howard Hodgson said the ethos was to provide 'an exceptional service given by people who care'.
Funeral directors and local clergy have already toured the site in preparation for its operation.
The chapel seats 76 people with the option of expanding to 96. With standing room, up to 200 people can be accommodated inside, but more than 400 can be potentially be served with the service piped outside.
Internet viewing is available for friends and family unable to attend the service.
Fourth generation funeral director Howard Hodgson, who served his apprenticeship in the Penarth office of Summers of Cardiff, said: "There had been a demand, but because the Vale is such a beautiful place, it had always resisted giving up agricultural land for anything.
"Councillor John Bird was in the fortunate position of having a driving range."
The site makes use of Welsh slate, limestone and sandstone and will also incorporate space for natural and standard burials, with flat headstones.
A children's section will also aim to help bereaved families.
Howard said: "Having lost a child myself, I know you have to have a bit of leniency when it comes to children. You have to allow people to have a teddy bear if they want."
He added: "A death is the most stressful time in your life.
"It's a sad and dreadful time.
"There's nothing we can do to take away the pain, but we can provide an excellent service." Vale of Glamorgan Memorial Park and Crematorium manager, Dean Williams said: "Our aim here is provide a first class service for the local community."