A Short History of the MAB Campaign
Over 25 years ago the National Association of Memorial Masons started a public relations campaign. Originally the Memorial Advisory Bureau, it eventually became the Memorial Awareness Board. Over the years the PR agency which was used has changed but the method of funding has not. The whole campaign is funded by a levy collected from retail memorial masons by supporting industry wholesalers.
The initial thrust of the campaign was to increase the market for memorials to commemorate cremated remains. At that time not many burial and cremation authorities offered much in the way of opportunities to memorialise after cremation. Scattering of ashes was the norm. The MAB campaign, which included providing information to cremation authorities and the distribution of “Don’t scatter fond memories” leaflets, raised awareness of this issue and encouraged the public to ask about commemoration after cremation and the burial and cremation authorities to provide suitable facilities. We have seen a significant rise in the numbers of cremated remains being interred rather than scattered since then.
Following the success of the campaign for memorialisation after cremation, the second target of the campaign was to increase consumers’ freedom of choice and therefore the variety, design and size of memorials allowed. This was done by riding along with “The Citizen’s Charter” and capturing the mood of the moment in the mid-nineties. Since then we have seen an increase in the number of burial grounds which allow memorials with kerbs, along with the relaxation of regulations governing the design and dimensions of memorials permitted in various parts of the country.
More recently, the campaign had tremendous success in improving burial grounds. If cemeteries and churchyards are attractive, safe and well maintained, people are more likely to erect memorials in them. In the years it has been held the Cemetery of the Year Awards (CYA) attracted entries from 50 to 70 cemeteries and churchyards which were upgraded to higher and higher standards. This part of the campaign was paid for from our campaign funds along with some sponsorship.
The campaign is in its next phase and progressing with a new MAB website; successful House of Commons seminars; most unusual memorial and photography competitions; and media toolkits, etc.