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New-look bereavement suite opens at North Devon District Hospital thanks to charitable donations

New-look bereavement suite opens at North Devon District Hospital thanks to charitable donations

Staff and supporters celebrate the opening of the new-look bereavement suite at North Devon District Hospital.
Staff and supporters celebrate the opening of the new-look bereavement suite at North Devon District Hospital.

A new-look bereavement suite has opened at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) thanks to donations from the local community.

The newly-named Bluebell Suite features colourful wall murals, soft furnishings and a kitchen area to help bereaved families feel as comfortable as possible.

The newly-named Bluebell Suite

Outside, a small garden has been created with an arbour and bench seating, planters, plants and a water feature.

The work has been funded with a £12,000 grant from North Devon Crematorium; £845 from Barnstaple Hospital League of Friends; and a £320 community grant from North Devon district councillor Helen Walker. Additional plants were kindly donated by Paul Tomlinson of PGM North Devon.

The new bereavement suite is part of a major £1.4million redevelopment of the mortuary at NDDH by the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Julie Whitton, Senior Grants and Trusts Officer at Royal Devon Hospital Charity (formerly known as Over and Above), said: “Sadly, there are around 1,000 deaths a year at NDDH so this super new facility will make a huge difference to North Devon families at such a difficult time.

“The Bluebell Suite will offer them a quiet, comfortable and caring space, away from the busy activities on the wards where our fabulous bereavement team can provide emotional and practical support and advice if it is needed.


Julie Whitton

“It’s been wonderful being able to help facilitate the fundraising to make this project happen.”

Chris Cousins, Mortuary and Bereavement Lead at NDDH said: “The bereavement suite is used for many purposes including, collecting belongings and talking to families, so it is important that it is a safe and welcoming space.

“We offer wide range of support and information and are here to help guide people through the initial processes that take place following a death, and offer as much support and assistance as is needed. 

The new bereavement garden.

“Thanks to these kind donations from the local community, the new-look bereavement suite will give families the chance to have important conversations about death and dying, and we hope that they can leave this room feeling supported and uplifted during what is a difficult time.”

The crematorium’s funding came from the proceeds of a national recycling scheme run by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICMM), which enables metals from cremated remains to be safely recycled with the consent of the bereaved.

North Devon Crematorium Manager, Mark Drummond, said: “The Bluebell Suite is a valuable resource, providing a space of comfort and solace during a difficult time. We are so pleased to have been able to support its refurbishment with our donation.”

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