A landmark anniversary is being marked during an annual event at the Isle of Wight Crematorium on Sunday 21 August.

The IW Council-run service in Newport is 50 years old and is combining the occasion with its annual open day in aid of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.

The open day gives people the opportunity to learn about how the crematorium works and to meet staff and local organisations. Staff will also be on hand to give guided tours of the crematorium.

Local funeral directors and bereavement groups will also be there on the day to give advice and guidance, and a there will be a display by a horse-drawn hearse.

Iain Donald, Bereavement Services Manager for IW Council said he has many memories since he began working at the crematorium. He says “We try and cater for everyone’s needs from many different religions. For example, we once had a funeral for someone who was passionate about Harley Davidson motorcycles, so we helped arrange for a Harley Davidson to be put inside the chapel and on display while the ceremony took place.

“It is a small thing, but it can make all the difference to families on what is a very emotional day.”

Since the crematorium first opened in 1961, there has been around 63,000 cremations.

There will be many other activities and events during the open day, including floral displays, art demonstrations, local singers and musicians, a tombola and a release of balloons in memory of loved ones.

The day will be officially opened at 1030 by IW Council Chairman David Williams and will be closed at 1600 with a memorial service led by the Reverend Graham Morris.

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