Young girl's 'postboxes to heaven' are being rolled out to cemeteries across the UK
The idea was hugely popular when it was first introduced at a crematorium in Nottinghamshire
Dozens of crematoriums across the UK are going to have 'postboxes to heaven' installed so people can send letters to deceased loved ones - after a nine-year-old girl came up with the idea.
The first postbox was installed at Gedling Crematorium in December, and was the idea of Matilda Handy, who wanted to send letters to her grandparents who have both passed away.
The youngster explained that writing letters to her grandparents helped her grieve, and allowed her to express her feelings in a different way.
The postbox was a popular addition, with more than 100 letters being posted after it was installed.
Now, the postboxes are to be rolled out at 36 other sites across the UK.
Leanne, from Arnold, Nottingham, said: "My mum 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 mum 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.
“It's 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.”
The box was unveiled shortly after the death of Matilda's paternal grandad, who passed away in November 2022.
She was the first to use it, posting a letter containing a poem.
Following the idea's popularity, the Westerleigh group, which owns Gedling Crematorium, has decided to introduce the boxes at all 36 of its UK sites.
Boxes will also be introduced at the group's three new sites due to open later this year.
Leanne, who works at Gedling Crematorium, added: “There's going to be around 40 Westerleigh sites in England, Scotland and Wales that will have them.
“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 memorialisation at Westerleigh Group, said: “Matilda’s postbox has touched 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 one 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 post box."