A Memorial is a permanent symbol of remembrance and respect, so it is important that its design and the firm producing it should be carefully chosen.
It is always advisable to select a well established Memorial Mason with a good reputation, who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MEMORIAL MASONS (NAMM) and abides by their code of good working practice and written guarantee scheme or ideally, be recommended by a friend or relative who has previously had work done by them.
Memorials can take many forms, but all must be made of strong and durable materials and must be capable of taking a permanent carved inscription (and possibly additional ones in later years). Natural Materials have proved to be the best, with granite being by far the most durable of all materials, either in its highly polished form, part polished or with a natural finish.
Memorials are also available in white marble, stone, Welsh slate or Westmorland green slate. However, these materials are much more porous and prone to erosion than granite and require far more maintenance and upkeep over a period of years, and for these reasons they are not used as widely as they once were. Granite is now available in a wide variety of colours, shapes and finishes and has now become the most popular and the most suitable material for a Memorial.
Churchyard and Cemetery Authorities issue regulations and guidelines regarding types, sizes and colours of Memorials they will allow, so if you choose a local company to do the Memorial they will be able to advise you of any restrictions which may apply.
A good Memorial firm will usually have a varied selection of Memorials on display, but if your personal requirements are not on view, ask for a Memorial to be designed to your requirements. Have a good look around and discuss with the Masons what you think you would like and then ask for a written quotation for the Memorial you have chosen or designed. The quotation should clearly show all the costs involved e.g., Lettering, etched designs, fixing, Church/Cemetery fees and VAT if applicable.
PLEASE REMEMBER WHEN CONSIDERING A QUOTATION, THAT THE CHEAPEST IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST. A MORE EXPENSIVE QUOTATION GIVEN BY A REPUTABLE COMPANY WHO HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR MANY YEARS, GIVES EXCELLENT AFTER-SALES SERVICE AND OFFERS THE WRITTEN SIX-YEAR GUARANTEE FROM NAMM WILL ALWAYS BE A MUCH SAFER AND MORE RELIABLE CHOICE THAN A COMPANY OFFERING A CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE BUT WITH NO PROVEN TRADING RECORD.
With the quotation complete you should ask for “A SCALED COMPUTER PRINTOUT SHOWING DETAILS OF THE MEMORIAL YOU HAVE DESIGNED”. Any reputable company will provide this as a matter of course. Your signature on the printout is your approval that everything is correct, so please check it very carefully.
If you are not sure about anything in the quotation or the printout, ask if you can take it away with you to consider it more fully. The time taken to complete the Memorial you have designed will depend on a number of things:
- The availability of the Material/Colour/Shape you have chosen.
- The time taken to gain Memorial approval from the Church or Cemetery.
- How quickly you give your approval by signing the printout and returning it. If you would like the Memorial completed by a certain date you should tell the Mason and they in turn will be able to advise you if completion is possible within that particular time span.