Service held as vital extension to Leicestershire cemetery opens with support from Central England Co-op

Posted by james brindle | Published: 06/04/2022

A special dedication service has been held for an extension to a Leicestershire cemetery which will ensure it will continue to provide for the community for many more years to come.

Claybrooke Cemetery serves the communities of Claybrooke Parva, Claybrooke Magna and Ullesthorpe and had become oversubscribed with more space urgently needed to ensure it could continue its vital role.

It’s required a joint effort from parish and town councillors and staff to secure the land needed for the extension, while additional funding was also secured from Central England Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund for an archway to be built over a bridge to the new extension.

The Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, led a special dedication service at the cemetery attended by local dignitaries and many of those behind the project, with refreshments after at Wilf Smith and Son Funeral Home, part of Central England Co-op Funeralcare.

Graham Hart, Interim Chair of Claybrooke Cemetery Joint Burial Board, said: “It’s been a big effort by all the parish councils and Harborough District Councillor Rosita Page to secure the funding for the extension.

“The situation was becoming increasingly urgent with just three or four plots left so we had to move quickly to secure and prepare the land.

“The outgoing clerk of the burial board Maurice Howell has also been very active in getting planning consent and helping us get to this point so we must thank him for his hard work.

“Claybrooke Cemetery’s future is vitally important for the communities in the area so their loved ones can rest in the parish that they have lived in and been a part of during their lives.

“It’s believed that 90% of residents of these villages still prefer to be buried and this extension will serve the needs of the three parishes for the next 100-120 years.”

Wilf Smith and Son Funeral Home sponsored the application to Central England Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund which has funded a special archway to the new extension.

Funeral Director David Luckey said: “We’re proud to be part of the community in Claybrooke and Ullesthorpe and were delighted to support the project to create this much-needed extension to the cemetery.

“It was also a pleasure to be part of this special day marking the opening by welcoming the guests to the home and providing refreshments and to hear more about how vital the new extension will be to the parishes we are honoured to serve.”

More information about the Central England Co-op Community Dividend Fund and how to apply can be found at


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 8,000 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 20 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.

It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.

Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

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