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Nine-year-old’s ‘postbox To Heaven’ Goes National

Matilda Handy came up with the idea for crematoriums to construct a "postbox to paradise" to mail messages to deceased loved ones

Crematoriums across the UK are to install a ‘postbox to heaven’ so people can send letters to deceased loved ones – after a nine-year-old girl came up with the idea.

Grieving Matilda Handy suggested the heartwarming idea while looking for a way to express her emotions after her grandparents passed away.

The schoolgirl wanted to send her late grandma and granddad cards and letters so her mom approached Gedling Crematorium, in Lambley, UK, where she works.

Matilda Handy suggested the heartwarming idea while looking for a way to express her emotions after her grandparents passed away. PHOTO BY SWNS

Crematorium bosses responded by installing an old postbox painted white just before Christmas, which led to more than 100 letters being posted.

The postboxes are now set to be implemented at 36 other sites across the country after Matilda’s moving tribute to her grandparents proved so popular.

Matilda first thought of her idea when her post office worker grandmother Pat died in 2017 before she also sadly lost her grandad Keith in November last year.

Mom Leanne, 45, hopes her daughter’s heartfelt creation can help ease the suffering grief causes and be of comfort on anniversaries and holidays.

Leanne, from Arnold, Nottingham, said: “My mom and dad are in heaven and so we’re sending them letters in heaven.

“My mom passed away in 2017 and since then Matilda has always said she wishes we could send cards and letters to her mama in heaven.

“My mom worked in a post office for 25 years in our local community and it just seemed fitting for her.

“Matilda was so used to being around postboxes and letters and always wanted to send mama one.

“We wanted to unveil it at Christmas. We wanted to make sure it was the right time. A lot of people miss sending cards at Christmas time and that’s an important occasion for people in the community.

“I had a lady who said she really struggled as she couldn’t send her mom a Christmas card. The postbox had a big impact on her. It is used every single day, whether it’s someone old or young.

“People find real comfort in sending something, whether it’s a child drawing a picture or an older person sending something to their loved ones. The art of writing something helps with the process.”

Matilda’s maternal grandmother Pat Morris died in 2017 while her paternal grandad Keith Handy passed away in November 2022, shortly before the box was opened. The schoolgirl said she hopes the postbox can aid others dealing with grief.

She said: “We’re doing these to be used by people when they walk past.

“It’s been hard because my grandad passed away in November 2022 so it definitely did help me. It’s just a very nice way to express my feelings and send a letter to them and to say how much I love them.”

Matilda was the first to use the postbox and sent a letter containing a moving poem that read: “If heaven had a phone, Then I’d give you a ring. Just hear your voice and tell you, how my day has been.

“But it doesn’t have a phone, To make missing you better, so instead I write my feelings down. And send them in a letter. I know that you’ll be watching, As I write down every word, And I’ll feel it when you reply, The unwritten and unheard.”

The Westerleigh group, which owns the crematorium, is now introducing the boxes to all of its 36 UK sites – as well as three new ones due to open later this year. Leanne added: “There’s going to be around 40 Westerleigh sites in England, Scotland and Wales that will have them.

The Postbox to heaven at Gedling Crematorium. PHOTO BY SWNS

“We can walk through our local town and people will stop us and say how beautiful it is. Matilda’s teacher told everyone how amazing it is.

“We’re certainly proud of her, it’s helped her. If it can help her it can help a lot of other people. To think this little idea, to actually be in 36 crematoriums across the country and helping thousands of families, we just never even imagined it.”

Matthew Brook, head of memorialization at Westerleigh Group, said: “Matilda’s postbox has touched the hearts of so many bereaved people across the country.

“Priding ourselves on serving our communities with exceptional care, we are delighted to be installing similar postboxes across all Westerleigh Group crematoria and helping many others who are grieving the loss of their loved ones in a similar way.

“We look forward to welcoming more people to our beautiful crematoria grounds and finding comfort in placing their letters to loved ones in a postbox.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker.

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