Shropshire Star

Newport Town Council to digitalise cemetery records

A town council is set to spend over £16,000 on a management system which will digitalise its cemetery records.

Newport Cemetery. Picture: Google

Newport Town Council approved at its meeting on Wednesday night to spend £16,270 on the management system and £1,000 per year after that.

The War Graves Commission system will create a digital map of Newport cemetery.  Information about who owns the graves, who is buried there, information about the headstone and any further details can then be submitted.

Town clerk Jo Reay said that to map the cemetery the company would use a drone.

She told town councillors that there were no data protection laws with those people who had passed away, but there would be data protection for some grave owners.

Mrs Reay added that the town council could publish information about what was on the grave and who was inside.

She said that the council would be responsible for the data, but the War Graves Commission would host the information and was paying for the system.

Councillor Heather Brennan questioned how many people make requests to see the cemetery data.

In response Mrs Reay said: “We are in that grave data every day. We get requests from funeral directors, we are constantly getting the books out.

“It’s less of a public service, but more management. It would increase our efficiency. At the moment we are in and out of different books and maps.”

The town council also heard about recent improvements to the cemetery chapel which has included the heating, painting and lighting.

“The chapel is looking amazing,” said Mrs Reay. “A celebrant (who used it recently) said what a lovely space it was. It’s warm and looks nice, it makes the chapel much more welcoming.

“It’s now a case of promoting it so the chapel is used a lot more.”

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