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Walford lead Liam Edwards, teacher Ruth Braddick, student Oliver Furber, Crematorium Manager Krystian Ostrowski, Derwen director Natalie Ellis and Emstry team member Peter Leddington.

Our Walford team are celebrating after receiving a large donation to help students in their training for work.

Emstrey Crematorium, in Shrewsbury, has made a £5,000 donation to Derwen College Walford after being inspired by the arduous work of student, Oliver.

Oliver, a 17-year-old Horticulture student at our Walford campus, enjoys a weekly work placement at the crematorium, working with the staff team to tend to the cemetery grounds.

Crematorium Manager Krystian Ostrowski has been so impressed with Oliver’s work, and that of his support teacher Ruth Braddick, that he recommended that Emstrey Crematorium chose Derwen Charity as one of its annual charities to support. The donation of £5,000 is to be spent to support students, specifically those at our Walford site.

The money has been earmarked for gardening equipment which will support Oliver and future Horticulture students in learning skills to progress them into employment.

Oliver, who is autistic, attends Emstrey every Wednesday, and has learnt many skills which will help him to gain employment after he finishes College. The work has helped him towards reaching his Horticulture qualifications, by allowing him to mow lawns, strim hedges and bushes, and even practice his building and painting skills.

He also learnt customer service and health and safety skills, and must always be mindful and respectful of visitors to the crematorium and cemetery.

He even carried on working through the summer holidays while College was closed.

“I love working here”

Oliver said: “I love working here. They are a lovely team. I would love to have a job here one day.”

Krystian said: “Oliver is the first regular work experience student with special educational needs to be offered a placement at one of Dignity’s 45 crematoria.

“We are immensely proud of how well he has done, and his passion and commitment to the role. He shows great initiative and work skills.

“The work that he, and his teacher Ruth, do every week inspired me to put Derwen Charity forward as one of the charities we are supporting this year.”

Derwen College director Natalie Bellis, was pleased to visit Oliver in his work placement, and to receive a cheque from Emstrey Crematorium and Dignity.

She said: “We are delighted to receive such a generous donation from Emstrey Crematorium. Derwen Charity supports people with SEND to reach their aspirations and in their wellbeing, and to gain greater independence and work skills.

“The money will go towards new gardening tools and machinery which the students use in their college-run Leaf It To Us business. This, in turn, will help them progress to greater independence and employment after college.”

Oliver’s Walford journey to work and independence

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