Festive services

Gerald Martin from Masons and Gerald Martin
Gerald Martin from Masons and Gerald Martin

A FUNERAL home is inviting people to remember their loved ones during a festive service later this month.

Mason and Gerald Martin, based in Park Road, Hartlepool, is holding its annual remembrance service where the bereaved can place stars on a 13ft Christmas tree to represent those they have lost.

It is one of two festive events the home is holding this year.

The other is a carol service for invited guests connected to the service Mason and Gerald Martin runs.

The remembrance service will be held at St Paul’s Church, in the town’s Grange Road, from 10.30am on Saturday, December 15.

Mason and Gerald Martin funeral arranger Julia Masshedar said the event is very popular.

She said: “We usually get about 400 people there. I have been working here for 16 years and the service has been held for at least that long.

“We started using stars about three years ago, but before that it was a remembrance tag.

“It’s quite nice getting the children writing messages for their grandparents they have lost.

“It makes them feel like they are actually writing a message to them.

“It’s also nice for the adults, it’s a little act of worship before Christmas which means they have ‘been with’ their loved ones for that day.”

Carols and prayers also form part of the service, which is performed by Father Richard Masshedar and Reverand Bill Worley, and Hartlepool Community Choir will be involved.

Mason and Gerald Martin is also hosting an advent carol service in the run-up to Christmas.

It is open to associates of the firm, including solicitors, florists, vergers, vicars, ministers, caterers, cemetery staff and newspaper obituary organisers, as well as their families.

Around 150 people usually attend the carol service, which will take place on Wednesday, December 12 at St Hilda’s Church on the Headland.