The Circle Of Life

Jan Leatham the editor of The Banchory Fly published the following article in the February 2017 edition.

The Circle Of Life – Baldarroch Chapel and Crematorium

The first thing you notice as you approach the brand new building at Crathes is the artfully curved and veined roof, which creates a very striking feature and the second is the beautiful setting. Baldarroch’s roof has been built to resemble a leaf, to represent the circle of life and reflect the natural setting in which the chapel and crematorium sits.

Inside the furniture and beams are all pale wood, and the colours are soft and restful. Inspirational texts decorate the walls and beautiful seasonal flowers punctuate the tranquil space, which has as its centrepiece a shallow lit alcove, containing a wooden cart known as a chapel bier – an antique from a church in Braemar in the 1800s. Brian Petrie, the Crematorium Manager, says, ’The coffin rests on the bier and is topped with any floral tributes. There is no curtain or catafalque and we believe this makes the experience less daunting. Many of the things we offer here at Baldarroch are to enable the family and friends to personalise funerals as much as possible, to try and make a difficult day more bearable. For instance we have the facility to make up a slideshow of treasured photos, and you just have to tell us which music you would like, and we download the tracks here and create a playlist for the service. The funeral package at Baldarroch is £795 and there are no hidden extra costs’.

Brian is keen to point out that Baldarroch has impressive green credentials too. He says, ‘Metals left behind from medical conditions such as hip replacements are recycled by a special company in the Netherlands, who return 80% of the profits they make, which we then donate to charities such as cancer research, or palliative care facilities.   Another important factor, and something which does concern local residents, is the fact that we have extremely modern technology and equipment behind the scenes here, which ensures that the atmosphere is not polluted’.

Baldarroch only takes a maximum of five services a day Monday to Friday and two services on a Saturday, and each one has an hour and a half allocated time. The chapel seats 154 and there is plenty of room for overspill in the foyer. They also invite the family back into the chapel after the service to say their final farewells. As the only crematorium in Aberdeenshire, the Crathes site has been gaining a reputation, with 300 services including some from as far away as Shetland and Glasgow already. The chapel is also available for weddings and christenings. The business employs four local people, Brian, his wife Angela and Alex Simpson as Crematorium Assistants, and Crematorium Technician Jade Garden. It is also a proud supporter of local businesses wherever possible, with landscaping and maintenance by Roy Cowie, plants supplied by Raemoir Garden Centre and flowers by Rosie’s Florist. Brian also wears the kilt outfit for the services which is a unique Scottish touch.

Baldarroch are planning an open day this Spring, but anyone can pop in for a showround, although it is best to call and book.