Norm Mason, centre, was recognised for three decades of service to the Broadford Cemetery Trust at a presentation last month. Mr Mason is pictured with wife Ev and current trust chairman Paul Fleming.

BROADFORD’S Norm Mason was lauded for three decades of outstanding service to the town’s cemetery trust at a presentation in Gavan Hall last month.

Mr Mason joined Broadford Cemetery Trust in 1989 and is the trust’s longest-serving chairman – a position he held from 1993 to 2009 and again from 2013 to 2018.

Mr Mason was also secretary-treasurer from 2008 to 2013.

He was the trust’s statutory representative at most funerals from 1993 to 2016 and was responsible for ensuring correct grave location and preparation as well as liaising with funeral directors and bereaved families.

As secretary Mr Mason helped secure grants to improve the cemetery, including its paving, cremation walls and IT equipment.

Current trust chairman Paul Fleming paid tribute to Mr Mason and his wife Ev at the presentation, acknowledging the work both had done for the cemetery.

“The thing with people who fill that role is that they’re there when loved ones are at the most sensitive place in their grieving and having to make pretty important decisions about aspects of the burial,” Mr Fleming said.

“You need a very empathetic team, and that was Norm and Ev, because often people would come around to their place and they’d sit them down at the kitchen table and have a cuppa and talk about grief, and at the same time talk about the matters of the burial.”

Mr Fleming described Mr Mason as ‘the living face of the trust’.

“Norm talked about some of the operational issues and taking Broadford Cemetery from a place where the grass was burnt off in the late spring to a situation now where we have a contract mower and gardener who keeps the whole place very tidy for everybody. He reminisced on where we’ve come from and where we’re at now,” he said.

Current cemetery operations manager Graeme Marshall said he learned the role from Mr Mason.

“As l see it, Norm was the go-to person that the Broadford community would call on when they required an answer on cemetery issues,” Mr Marshall said.

About 50 people gathered for the ceremony, including three of Mr Mason’s four children and several of his grandchildren.