A MAN has been honoured for the support he offers to bereaved families and his devotion to tending a natural burial site.

Stephen Robson, from Langley Park, was nominated by several people, through his local councillor, to receive the Chairman’s Medal.

It the highest honour that Durham County Council can award to individuals and organisations for outstanding voluntary contribution to their community.

Mr Robson worked at the South Road Woodland Cemetery following redundancy from Finchale Training College in 2012 and has volunteered at The Durham Woodland Cemetery since 2015.

The 62-year-old was joined by his wife, Jan, his sister, nephew and three fellow trustees of the cemetery’s friends group to receive his medal, in recognition of the time, energy and passion he puts into caring for the woodland site.

On receiving his award, Mr Robson said: “The award was totally unexpected but gratefully received.

“It’s important to me to ensure people have somewhere beautiful for their loved ones to rest in peace.

“The work in itself is a reward, knowing that I’ve helped people through tough times makes it all worthwhile.”

Mr Robson has worked tirelessly to preserve the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere in the natural glade setting, helping to maintain and improve the site, keeping foliage at bay, cutting the grass, looking after funerals, and offering advice and support to bereaved families.

Councillor John Lethbridge, chairman of Durham County Council, said: “Durham County Council are very proud to run the picturesque Woodland Cemetery site and the friends group offer us fantastic support with this. Stephen plays a significant role in making sure the cemetery is a truly beautiful place.

“I know that many people will be very happy that his hard work and sensitivity has been recognised.”