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Facelift plan for Nairn cemetery chapel after it was bought by a local undertaker Callum Ross of the town’s DM Ellen funeral directors

By Donald Wilson

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Nairn Undertaker Calum Ross has purchased the rest room at the entrance to Nairn cemetery. Picture: Callum Mackay
Nairn Undertaker Calum Ross has purchased the rest room at the entrance to Nairn cemetery. Picture: Callum Mackay

A major refit and upgrade of one of Nairn’s most peaceful spots is on the cards after it was bought by a local undertaker.

The Chapel of Rest at Nairn Cemetery has been bought by Callum Ross of the town’s DM Ellen funeral directors.

The former gatehouse lodge can accommodate up to 70 mourners and was first used for small funeral services in the 1970s, but has been closed since the outbreak of Covid.

There are now plans to bring it back into use by March next year.

Mr Ross told the Courier about his interest in the property earlier this year when it was placed on the market at offers of £60,000 by former owners Highland Council, which deemed it “surplus to requirements”.

It was refurbished by the former district council in 1980.

Mr Ross, who also has a funeral chapel in Forres, said: “We took over the property on September 17.

“Since then, we have been in touch with the architect to progress things forward and our intention is to develop the chapel in two stages.

“The first stage is to develop the current floor plan of the building by upgrading the chapel itself, making it a more dignified, comfortable setting.

“Included in the development of the chapel will be an upgrade to the current sound system and the installation of a visual system to allow families the opportunity to play videos or slideshows.

“We will also install video recording equipment to allow for live-streaming or to simply record a service at a family’s request. We understand that not every family will want to use these new additions, but we are seeing more requests for slideshows and live-streaming, so it’s important to be able to provide these options when required.”

He added that the toilet facilities were also in desperate need of improvement.

“Our hope is that stage one will be completed by the end of March 2022 which will then allow us to open the chapel to the public for funeral services,” he said.

“We will then move on to the second stage of the build which will be adding an extension to the property with a foyer for those families who may wish to meet and greet mourners on arrival to a service, as well as a family room which will provide a comfortable private space to gather in the lead up to a service.

“This stage should be completed with very little disruption to the original floorplan of the building meaning we can continue to provide services throughout this part of the development.”

He added: “At this point we are still at a very early stage and all our aims will be subject to building warrants and planning permission, but we are hopeful that our plans will be favourable with Highland Council.”

But he added: “The responses we have had since our intentions were announced in the Courier have been really positive so that’s always great to hear.

“Ultimately our aim is that Nairn Cemetery Chapel will provide a dignified, comforting environment to say goodbye to a loved one. We believe this plan will do exactly that.”

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