Advance Systems in Magherafelt has won a contract to help automate and manage the cemetery records of an English district council.
Torridge District Council in North Devon is to use Advance’s internet-based Cemetery Pro software product to run its 11 graveyards, including four in Bideford, the region’s principal town. The product enables cemetery data, previously held in a documentary form, to be saved and accessed easily by computer.
Cemetery Pro, developed by Malachy Devlin, Advance’s founder and managing director, features a powerful search engine that enables users to record deaths, locate graves, issue registration certificates and bill undertakers. The software can also be used to produce management data quickly, such as deaths over a specified period by total numbers and gender.
Torridge Council, which has a population of 60,000, is the first civic body outside Northern Ireland to order the product. Advance has already supplied its software to councils in Northern Ireland including Lisburn, Cookstown, Newry, Omagh and Strabane.
Formed in 1997 by Mr Devlin, Advance currently employs three people and is also dealing with inquiries from the Republic of Ireland and the US.
Mr Devlin says: “This is great news for the company and is a further endorsement of the quality of our unique software product. With help and support from Invest Northern Ireland’s North West Local Office (NWLO) in Derry, we’ve been developing our marketing activities, using the internet, for example, to raise our profile in our target markets in Northern Ireland, the Republic and Great Britain.
“The council was also attracted by the product’s internet feature which makes it very easy for family history researchers to access the data on line. Our user-friendly searchable database will enable Torridge to meet a commitment to improve access for its people to cemetery records,” he adds.
The system will be installed and Torridge staff trained by Mr Devlin over the next few weeks.
Kevin Helferty, NWLO manager, welcoming the company’s success, adds: “We’ve been working with Advance to help it maximise the business potential of a product that clearly meets the needs of an important niche market.”