A "letters to heaven" postbox has been installed in a Northern Irish cemetery, allowing mourners to send letters to loved ones they have lost.

The postbox was installed in Antrim's Six Mile Cemetery last week and will soon be installed in every major cemetery in the Antrim and Newtownabbey area.

UUP councilor Leah Smyth, the deputy mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, first proposed the idea for the new initiative after being inspired by a nine-year-old girl from Nottingham, England. 

Matilda Handy came up with the concept for the postbox following the death of her grandparents. 

With the help of her mother, who works at a crematorium in Nottingham, Matilda painted an old postbox white and installed it at the crematorium. 

The box was soon filled with letters to deceased loved ones and similar initiatives have now been rolled out at 36 sites throughout the United Kingdom. 

"I had seen it [Matilda’s story] shortly after Christmas and straight away I thought it was lovely," Smyth told the Belfast Telegraph. 

Smyth said she lost her grandfather when she was 10 years old, adding that she found it "really difficult" to process her emotions. 

"I think I would have loved something like this at that point in time and I thought of my own kids as well."

The postboxes are currently being installed in the Belmont, Antrim, Carnmoney, Ballyclare, and Crumlin cemeteries in the Antrim and Newtownabbey district and could soon be rolled out across Northern Ireland after Smyth revealed that representatives from other councils had been in touch with her to learn more about the initiative. 

"I’ve since had councilors from other areas asking me how to go about doing it because they want to do it too and they want to visit when the postboxes are installed, so it’s really taking off." 

Smyth said the letters will be recycled once the postboxes fill up. 

"It won’t cost anyone anything and once the postbox is full, the letters will be recycled. The therapy is in writing the letters and posting them, so whoever uses the postbox will fully understand where the letters go afterward."