Service spotlight: Bereavement services

A woman lays a bouquet at a grave in Strawberry Lane Cemetery, Great Wyrley
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Strawberry Lane Cemetery, Great Wyrley

The council owns and manages two cemeteries in the district: Sytch Lane Cemetery in Wombourne and Strawberry Lane Cemetery in Great Wyrley. 

On a day-to-day basis the cemeteries are looked after by Rebecca Morgan, our bereavement services officer.

Rebecca, who has worked for South Staffordshire Council for more than 24 years, has been in her current position since the first cemetery opened in 2009. 

“It’s our aim to provide a helpful and considerate service to the bereaved and to make sure that this is delivered in a dignified, caring and sensitive way,” she said. 

“Losing someone close to you is obviously an extremely difficult time and it’s important to me that we offer people clear advice and guidance to help them decide what is best for them and their family. 

“It’s important that the bereaved have a range of options for laying their loved ones to rest at our cemeteries and that the grounds are well maintained and offer visitors a space for quiet contemplation and reflection – both at the time of the funeral and in years to come.”

Working with local funeral directors, she arranges for burials to take place at our cemeteries, including grave digging which is carried out by both in-house staff and external contractors. 

The local community is regularly involved in activities at the cemeteries, aimed at giving people a sense of ownership of the sites. 

“Events and community involvement can also help people to start to have difficult conversations and think about death, dying and planning for the future which is hugely important,” added Rebecca.


Public Health Act funerals

The council has a duty under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 to arrange the funeral for anyone that passes away in South Staffordshire where there is no one willing or able to make funeral arrangements. 

Cases that are referred to us can come from a variety of sources such as the police, coroner, family or friends of the deceased, funeral directors, and care homes. 

When we take on a case, we have to carry out a search of the last known address of the deceased to try to find items such as the birth certificate, a will, contact details of friends or relatives, bank statements, pension details and any other information that may help us to locate relatives who may wish to take over the funeral arrangements and sources of funds that can pay for the funeral costs. 

As funeral poverty becomes a more prominent issue nationally, the number of cases we deal with per year is steadily increasing.  Each case can be extremely time consuming and every one is completely unique. 

We work closely with genealogy companies to locate possible relatives using information we obtain from the property search and from speaking to neighbours, friends, and other people that knew the deceased.


Closed churchyards

We are responsible for the maintenance and health and safety of four closed churchyards across the district.  A churchyard can become ‘closed’ and the responsibility for its maintenance passed to the council when it is full and there is no space for new burials.


Contact bereavement services

Email:, call 01902 696111 or visit Bereavement services | South Staffordshire District Council (

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