Afterthoughts

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A memorial plaque to remember loved ones

A memorial plaque is a popular way of creating a lasting mark of a loved one. A very British place to put a plaque is on a garden or park bench – click here for our article on how to create one.  However, if you’re looking for something slightly different, there are many other places a plaque can be placed to create a meaningful memorial.  There is even one small but highly significant plaque on the moon to honour 14 deceased NASA and USSR astronauts!

Seats with significance

Most of us have probably seen a plaque on the back of a stadium seat, church pew or even in a pub, marking the life of someone who spend many of their days there and often dedicated time to support that place.  If your loved one had a special place such as a sports club or place of worship it is always worth approaching them with a proposal.  For many cash strapped organisations, this can be a useful way of raising funds as well as supporting loyal members or clients.

Blue plaques

Possibly one of the most famous uses of memorial signs is the blue plaque scheme currently operated by English Heritage in London.  The scheme has inspired many others around the country, with organisations such as Birmingham Civic Society, Manchester Art Gallery and Malvern Hills District all joining in.

The majority of these signs are proposed by the general public and although you might have to wait a while – the English Heritage scheme’s criteria state that the person needs to have been dead for at least 20 years – it might be worth pursuing if your relative has contributions to be remembered.   Achievements don’t have to be on the scale of Lord Byron or Marx to be awarded a plaque.  English Heritage identifies more niche contributions it has marked and compassionate endeavours such as social worker Mary Hughes whose plaque reads ‘Friend of all in Need’.  You could also consider specialist organisations such as the Transport Trust who will consider proposals in particular professions.

If you would prefer to mark a loved one’s memory a little sooner, companies can manufacture personalised ‘heritage signs’ with your own inscription which you can attach to a building or wall that you own, allowing passers-by to understand a little bit about the person you loved and acting as a lasting memory for you too.

Plant a tree

An increasingly popular place to put up a plaque is on or by a tree or plant.  This can be as simple as buying a plaque with a stake attached to place in the ground next to a favourite rose bush in your garden.  Alternatively, organisations such as Life for a Life specialise in planting trees in memory of loved ones, the purpose being to replace “negative feelings of pain and loss with uplifting feelings arising from the establishment of a new life in the form of a tree”. Your money will also contribute to developing woodlands to benefit the wider community and environment.  Trees with a memorial plaque and the option of interning ashes start at £695.

Create a family heirloom

Memorial plaques can also be attached to pieces of furniture and this can be quite a cost effective way of creating a lasting and very personal memory of a person from as little as £12.  Did your loved one spend time at a desk or chair that could have a plaque attached? Equally, adding a plaque to everyday objects such as a cricket bat or basket that hold memories of those we have loved can turn them into family heirlooms to be cherished by future generations.

Write your own epitaph

Memorial plaques might also be an idea you might like to think about in your own financial funeral planning.  It is common for people to specify tombstone styles and engravings, so why not be more creative and think of an alternative way to mark your time on earth?  You might even like to write the words yourself.   Many figures in history have famously written their own epitaph including Jonathan Swift who wrote for his burial site in St Patrick’s cathedral in Dublin:

“Here lies the body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Divinity and Dean of this Cathedral, where savage indignation can no longer lacerate his heart; Go traveller and imitate if you can, this dedicated and earnest champion of liberty.”