A young girl’s idea for a ‘postbox to heaven’ so she could write to her grandparents has been realized at cemeteries across the UK.
10-year-old Matilda Handy came up with the suggestion after both her grandparents died, five years apart.
Her mother, Leanne, approached the Gedling Crematorium in Nottingham last year with the idea—and they heartily responded by erecting an old post box painted white and gold just in time for Christmas.
The emotional endeavor proved so popular that they now have been rolled out across 40 sites in England, Scotland, and Wales.
“Matilda was the first person to put a message in our first memorial post box at Gedling last December,” said her mom, who works for the company.
“We had no idea then that, one year later, there would be a memorial post box at every one of Westerleigh Group’s sites—bringing comfort to people all over the country.”
Matilda’s grandmother worked for the post office, which made the first ‘Letters to Heaven’ box even more moving.
Soon after installation, more than 100 letters were dropped in the first box, which aimed to be a comfort to relatives longing for loved ones on anniversaries and holidays.
The idea has since been adopted by UK funeral directors, too, and Leanne said other countries are doing the same.
Matilda told SWNS news, “I am so thankful that our post boxes are able to help not just me and my friends and family but people all over the UK and as far away as Australia.”
“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.”
Her mom confirmed that Matilda was always saying she wished she could send birthday and Christmas cards to her grandparents to read in heaven.
“Matilda was so used to being around postboxes and letters and always wanted to send mama one.
“A lot of people miss sending cards at Christmas time and they find real comfort in sending something, whether it’s a child drawing a picture or an older person sending something to their loved ones… It helps with the process.” (Check out GNN’s grieving news page to see more ideas that comfort.)
Westerleigh Group, one of the UK’s largest independent owners and operators of crematoria and cemeteries, said the positive feedback from the first box prompted them to commit to installing memorial post boxes at all its sites by the end of this year.
The group estimates that around 3,000 letters, cards, and messages have been slipped into the memorial post boxes so far.
Debbie Smith, CEO of Westerleigh Group, said the legacy of Matilda’s idea is “helping to bring comfort to thousands of bereaved people around the country, and beyond.”
“We’ve received so much incredibly positive feedback from people who tell us they have gained therapeutic benefit and comfort.
“Initially, people thought the post box at Gedling was there just for Christmas, but all our boxes are available all year round for people to post cards whenever they wish.”
The schoolgirl has also written to King Charles to see if he might want to install one outside Buckingham Palace, to remember loved ones such as the late Queen, Prince Phillip, and Princess Diana.”
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