Letters to Heaven is a new initiative that will see special letterboxes placed in four of the largest cemeteries across the city and district, allowing visitors to send letters to those they have lost.
The special Letters to Heaven Letterboxes will be situated in the City Cemetery and Ballyoan in Derry, Castlederg and Strabane cemeteries.
Launching the pilot scheme this week, Mayor Councillor Patricia Logue said she was delighted to welcome the new addition to the cemeteries.
“I am honoured to launch this new scheme and I look forward to hearing the lovely stories that no doubt, will come from this special initiative.
“The simple idea of being able to still communicate with your loved ones who have sadly passed away will bring so much comfort to those who are unfortunately grieving in our communities.
“I would encourage users of the Cemeteries to look out for the letterboxes and make use of them from time to time.”
The idea of the scheme was brought to the attention of the Council earlier this year by former Independent Councillor and Mayor, Graham Warke.
Mr Warke was contacted by a local woman who lost a family member in February, leaving behind a young son. The woman felt the young boy would benefit if he thought he could write a letter to his father. They were inspired by a similar scheme which was initially rolled out in Nottinghamshire and then other areas across the UK.
Mr Warke brought it before the Full Council meeting in March 2023 and the idea received great support from fellow Council Members.
Conor Canning, Head of Environment at Derry City and Strabane District Council said Council was happy to roll out the scheme across cemeteries in local communities.
“This is a very emotional and heart-warming scheme that Council is delighted to facilitate. If a modest letter will bring comfort and support to visitors of our cemeteries, then we are more than happy to roll this initiative out.
“There is a belief that enabling bereaved people, particularly children but also adults, to send messages to their loved ones who are no longer with us, will benefit their emotional and psychological wellbeing greatly.”
For more information please visit www.derrystrabane.com/services/cemeteries/letters-to-heaven