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are also three separate entrances to the venue, ensuring privacy on arrival. The hall’s gardens, in fact, were designed in 1860 by the prominent Victorian landscape architect William Andrews Nesfield, whose other designs include Kew Gardens and Regent’s Park, and Kelham Hall offers relatives another way to remember their loved ones, in the form of a memorial bench sited in the grounds, which they are free to return and visit whenever they like. Mr Pass added: “Kelham Hall is in a


wonderfully unique position because, while the events side of things is privately run, the hall is publicly owned, so members of the public can walk around the grounds. “That can be a real comfort to families who, once


they have held an event here, have an emotional connection to the hall and want to return. “We are very proud to be publicly accessible.


It means that people can come back here and walk through the grounds as many times as they like. “That feeling is very important and very much


part of the service that we offer at Kelham Hall.” Kelham Hall & Country Park, Main Road, Kelham, Nottinghamshire NG23 5QX. Call: 01636 980000. Email: info@kelham-hall.com


L


ooking out onto fields that stretch for miles to the Lincolnshire horizon and steeped in a rich history from its days at the heart of the Second World


War, Hemswell Court offers visitors intimate seclusion in a luxury setting. “We are one of Lincolnshire’s best-kept secrets


and until you come up our drive and come to see us you wouldn’t know what we have here,” says Shaun Lees, the venue’s managing director. “But we are extremely proud of what we have


created, off the beaten track and in one of the county’s most tranquil spots.” Close to Gainsborough and 14 miles from


Lincoln, Hemswell Court is a five-star-rated venue with a growing reputation for providing a sumptuous backdrop to weddings, family occasions and corporate events, with a menu which uses only the finest, locally produced ingredients and a full wine list featuring vintages sourced from boutique wineries all over the world. Now it has added funeral teas and wakes


to its events - a natural move, since Hemswell Court prides itself on offering guests who book the venue exclusive use of its private facilities while they are there. This, plus its flexibility, which enables it to alter


its offering to suit individual requirements, means that Hemswell Court is better equipped than


78 Farewell Magazine


many venues to serve the funeral wake market. “We are very adaptable, we do have a


brochure but we will adapt what we do to suit what people are asking for,” says Mr Lees. “Of course, that’s important, because there is so much scope to make wakes more individual and it is the small, personal touches that make all the difference. “So, whether people just want to come


and have a sandwich and a coffee during the afternoon or a full sit-down evening meal, we can accommodate them with the guarantee that they will be the only people here.” Hemswell Court is close to a number of local


cemeteries and churches and about half an hour from the nearest crematorium in Lincoln. There are closer venues, of course, but its setting means that it is worth a slightly longer journey time to enjoy the tranquillity and privacy of its countryside location. It also has a history that many other venues


would give their right arm for. Sixty years ago, the building was at the centre of the British war effort, as the officer’s mess at the former RAF Hemswell, the home of Bomber Command’s 100 Squadron, where the air force’s top brass would wine and dine while plotting Germany’s downfall. At the end of the war, RAF Hemswell’s planes flew mercy missions to drop food parcels to starving Dutch civilians on the other side of the North Sea before the base went on to play a prominent role in the Cold War. Adding to the building’s mystique, the base


also featured in the 1955 film The Dambusters, masquerading as RAF Scampton, the legendary flyers’ home.


Hemswell Court is proud of its history


and every year hosts a reunion event for the dwindling band of veterans who served at the base during the war, although a thorough renovation project means that it is now in every respect a 21st century entertainment venue. Many of the mess’s features have been


retained but otherwise what passed for officer class grandeur has been replaced with a spectacular decoration scheme, with rooms filled with priceless antique furniture, paintings, tapestries and exquisite furnishings, lending a classical elegance to any occasion. There are four function rooms, capable of holding parties numbering from 20 up to 200, including the Grand Hall, which features attractive Georgian-style windows and imposing doors and the Dining Room, which overlooks the gardens and is ideal for smaller, intimate gatherings where privacy and seclusion are required. Outside, meanwhile, the windswept grounds


have been redeveloped into five acres of attractively landscaped gardens. “People are certainly devoting more time


and resources to wakes these days because, instead of going to their local pub like they might have done once upon a time, they want to pay their respects by giving them a proper send-off,” says Mr Lees. “I think that we are a perfect venue for them


– I certainly can’t think of many better places where someone’s friends and family can gather together in order to commemorate their passing and celebrate their life.” Hemswell Court, Lancaster Green, Hemswell


Cliff, Lincolnshire DN21 5TQ. Tel: 01427 668508 PHOTO: Hemswell Court Daffodils


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