We answer some of the common questions people have about crematoria and the cremation service.
What percentage of people choose cremation?
About 70 per cent of all deaths in the UK are followed by cremation.
Are there any religions that do not approve of cremation?
Orthodox Jews, Muslims and the Greek Orthodox Church do not allow cremation. It is accepted by all other Christian denominations as well as Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and Buddhists.
Does it cost more to be cremated than buried?
No, usually burial is more expensive. This is because of the shortage of burial space in the UK. Ask your local funeral director for local costs.
Are there any special procedures before cremation?
You will need two medical certificates from two separate doctors, which the doctors will charge for. If the person who has died had a pacemaker, this will have to be removed. Your funeral director will arrange all this for you and help you fill in the paperwork.
Should jewellery be removed before cremation?
Certain materials (such as glass, some metals and PVC) may not be cremated with the person who has died. If you would like an item to stay with the person who has died, your funeral director will advise you. Once the coffin is at the crematorium we cannot open it to recover any items.
Can I have any kind of service I want?
Yes. You can have a religious or a non-religious service, or no service at all. The service must be carried out within the time allowed for each funeral, which varies between each crematorium. If you prefer, you can hold a service in a separate place, like a church, followed by a ceremony at the crematorium. You can arrange for your own minister to carry out the service or the funeral director will help you find a suitable person.
What happens at the crematorium?
Mourners gather at the crematorium at an arranged time. When the coffin arrives the close family will follow it into the chapel, followed by everyone else, and someone will direct you to your seats. The coffin will be placed on a platform and the service will start. Towards the end of the service, the coffin will usually be hidden from view by curtains. If you are arranging a funeral and would prefer the coffin to remain on view until everyone has left, we can arrange that for you.
At the end of the service, the funeral director will lead the close family out of the chapel, followed by the other mourners. You will have an opportunity to look at the floral tributes and the family will have time to thank people for coming.
How long after the service does the actual cremation take place?
Within 24 hours of the service. A close member of the family may witness the cremation, as some religions require. If you would like to arrange this, please tell the funeral director when you make the funeral arrangements.
What happens to the coffin?
The coffin is taken into a room where the nameplate is checked again. An identity card is then attached to the cremator where the coffin is placed and is kept with the ashes until they leave the crematorium.
What happens during the cremation?
The coffin is placed into the cremator. The heat is very intense and the process takes about 90 minutes. When the cremation is finished, all that is left is small amounts of bone. These are taken from the cremator, cooled and placed in a machine which reduces the bone to ashes. These are the ashes which are put into a temporary container, which you can upgrade to one of our many choices of permanent urn.
How can I be sure that the remains will be kept separate?
Each cremator is only large enough to take one coffin. When a cremation has finished, the ashes are placed into a separate chamber within the cremator for cooling. Once reduced, they are put into an individually identified container.
What happens to the ashes?
You can arrange through your funeral director or the crematorium for the ashes to be scattered or buried in the crematorium garden of remembrance. If you like, you can go to the ceremony. Some gardens of remembrance give you the opportunity to bury the remains under a bush or tree, or to put them in a niche (a sealed place for ashes in a wall, and marked with a plaque). Alternatively, the ashes can be returned to you. Your funeral director will help you and can show you a choice of urns.
We realise the importance of making the right decision in regards to the final resting place of a loved one, therefore we can continue to care for the ashes until you are ready to make these arrangements.
You can also collect the ashes from the crematorium or have your Funeral Director collect them on your behalf.
Can I have a memorial at the crematorium?
All of our crematoria offer a wide choice of memorials and we believe this offers a benefit to all our families. We cater for individual choice and our memorial options range from an entry in the Book of Remembrance to elaborate individually designed family garden plots, all of which are all available within our beautiful gardens of remembrance.
Five days after the cremation you will be sent a brochure with details and pictures of many of the memorials available. You can then arrange to visit the crematorium where one of our Memorial Consultants will explain the various options available to you.
The gardens are open to the public 365 days a year and you may visit them when you like during opening times.
Where can the ashes be laid to rest?
While most people choose to have the ashes placed in our gardens of remembrance others prefer to have the ashes laid to rest in a family grave in a churchyard or cemetery. If you wish to place to ashes elsewhere, you will need the permission of the landowner. If you want to bury the ashes in a private garden, you should consider the long-term implications such as if you decide to sell the house.
Can the ashes be sent to another area?
The funeral director can arrange for the ashes to be sent to another part of the UK. If you want them sent to another country, there may be a small fee to cover legal paperwork.
Is cremation governed by a code of practice?
Yes. There is a strict code of conduct for crematoriums, which is usually on display in public areas.
How can I make my wishes for cremation known?
You can tell close friends or family, leave instructions in your will (but this may not be read until after the funeral) or buy a funeral plan.