How many people use cremation today in Great Britain? 1968 was the first year in which there were more cremations than burials. Now cremation is used in almost 70% of all funerals.
Are there any religious groups which forbid cremation to their members? Yes. It is forbidden by the Orthodox Jews and Moslems. It is normal method for Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and Buddhists. All Christian denominations allow cremation.
Is cremation dearer than burial? No. Generally the cost of a grave is much higher than the fees charged for cremation. The funeral director’s charges are much the same for both services. The only additional charge for cremation arises when the death has not been referred to the Coroner, therefore fees to two doctors have to be paid for the necessary certificates. This dose not apply to burials. With cremation there are no later costs for headstones, grave care, etc., which arise with burials.
What religious ceremony can I have with cremation? The service for burial and cremation is the same apart from the form of committal sentences. The service may take place in one’s own church or chapel with a short committal service in the crematorium chapel. Or the whole service may be conducted in the crematorium chapel, which usually lasts for 20 minutes. You may arrange for your own minister to conduct the service or you may use the service of the Church of England rota minister. The form of service should be arranged with the minister and if hymns are to be sung at the crematorium, the organist there should be advised in advance.
Must there be any religious ceremony with cremation? No. This is not obligatory. A civil ceremony can be conducted or there may be none at all. On occasions a memorial service is conducted separately from the cremation ceremony.
How is a cremation arranged? The Cremation Regulations are still quite complicated and it is wisest to approach a funeral director immediately death occurs and ask for a cremation to be arranged. Discuss how soon you wish the cremation and whom you wish to officiate at the service, also the form of service. The funeral director will then do all that is needed to get the necessary statutory forms for the cremation. You will need to sign the statutory Form A if you are the executor or the next of kin or are authorised by either to do so. The death will have to be registered and you will be advised how to do this.
Do I have to sign anything else at this stage? You will probably be asked how you wish to dispose of the ashes. If you know what you want at this stage, you will be asked to sign an authority for the crematorium to carry out your wishes. If you are undecided, do not sign any authority. Most crematoria will keep ashes for a month, giving you time to make a decision.
What can happen to the ashes then? In most cases the ashes are strewn in the Gardens of Remembrance at the crematorium. The alternative is to remove the ashes from the crematorium in a suitable urn for elsewhere. This may be by burial in a family grave, by purchasing an Ash Plot for burial of ashes in a cemetery, or by strewing the ashes at another crematorium or in some favourite spot. However, it must be borne in mind that when ashes are strewn in other places, e.g. graves, churchyards, etc., prior permission must be sought and any local rules or regulations obeyed.
What is the Garden of Remembrance at a crematorium? The Garden of Remembrance consists of areas set aside for the disposal of ashes. Usually these areas have been dedicated for the representatives of Christian churches. Ashes may be strewn without any spot being reserved any one person nor are individual memorials permitted to mark the spot. This is because the areas are used again and again over the years and will be for as long as the crematorium is in operation.
What memorials are possible at the crematorium? Usually the only permanent form of memorial available is an entry in the Book of Remembrance. This book is displayed in a room in the Chapel and each day the entries for that day are on display so that a person is remembered on the anniversary of the death. In some crematoriums it is also possible to dedicate a rose bush or tree with a small plaque but this is for a limited period with the option of renewal on further payment. The crematorium is able to accept donations of such items as seats with a memorial inscription. If you are anxious about memorial facilities at the crematorium you should ask the funeral director at the time of making the arrangements. This can avoid disappointment at a later date.
What happens at the crematorium on the day of the funeral? The coffin is usually brought into the chapel followed by the mourners in procession. While it is being placed on the catafalque the mourners take their seats and the service proceeds. At the moment when the committal of the body takes place the coffin may be obscured from view by means of curtains closing in front of the catafalque or the coffin may remain on view. At the end of the service mourners leave the chapel and may inspect the floral tributes before leaving.
How can I be sure that the correct body is cremated? The name plate on the coffin is checked with the cremation order to ensure correct identity before the service begins.
What happens to the coffin after the committal? It is withdrawn into a committal room where the name plate of the coffin is checked with the cremation order to ensure correct identity. The coffin is then labelled with a card prepared by the crematorium giving all the relevant information. This card will stay with the body from now on until the final disposal of the ashes.
Does the cremation take place immediately or are the coffins stored up until a number are ready to be cremated? Where possible the cremation will follow immediately after the service. The Code of Cremation Practice which is adhered to by the members of the Federation of British Cremation Authorities requires that the cremation shall take place on the same day as the cremation service.
Is the coffin cremated with the body? Yes. The Code requires that nothing must be removed from the coffin after it has been received from the chapel and it must be placed into the cremator exactly as received.
What happens about the handles and other coffin fittings? Crematorium regulations require that all fittings shall be combustible material and normally the handles and name plate are made of hard plastic. Ferrous nails and screws do not burn but stay with the ashes until they are withdrawn from the cremator, when they are subjected to a magnetic field which removes them
What about precious and other metals? The temperature at which a modern cremator operates (between 800`C and 1000`C) is such that the metals are fused with other material so that they are not recognisable. The Code of Practice states that any metallic material resulting from a cremation should be disposed of in accordance with the instruction on the cremation authority and recommends that this should be done by burial within the crematorium grounds.
What would you recommend to people about leaving items of jewellery on a body? The best advice is that it should be removed after death unless it is intended that it should be cremated. Once the coffin has been placed in the chapel there is no way of recovering such items.
Is more that one coffin cremated at one time in a cremator? No. The only exemptions permitted to this rule are in the case of mother and baby or twin children when the next of kin requests that the two be cremated together.
Can relatives witness the committal of the coffin to the cremator? Yes. Normally two people are permitted to attend and the cemetery office should be advised in advance of thin wish.
How do I know I shall get the right ashes? As explained, each coffin is identified on arrival and the identity card is placed on the outside of the cremator as soon as the coffin is put into it. The card stays there until the ashes are removed and it is then transferred to the cooling tray. The ashes then go to the preparation room and the card stays with them, finally being put in the urn which contains the prepared ashes. As each cremator will only accept one coffin and the ashes must be withdrawn before the cremator is used again, all ashes are kept separate throughout the process. The size of the cremation chamber is 7ft. 6in. long by 2ft. 8in. wide by 1ft. 10in. high.
Preparation of the ashes has been mentioned. What does this entail? When the cremation is complete, that is when there is no further combustion taking place, the ashes are withdrawn from the cremator into a cooling tray. Often cooling is accelerated by fan blowing air. When cool, the ferrous material is removed. The remaining ashes are then placed into a machine which reduces the remains to a fine white ash. All non-ferrous metals are cleared and disposed of in accordance with the Code of Practice.
What do the prepared ashes consist of? The ashes are totally bone ash and usually weigh between 4 and 6lbs. They are in a state which will permit them to be strewn.
If ashes are strew on the ground, what happens to them? As the highest biochemical activity exists at the surface of the soil and the cremation ashes are in a small granular form, weather and biochemical action quickly break down the ashes to for part of the earth and within a short time there is no trace of them. Where ashes are strew it is the practice to dress the area with suitable loam/sand mixtures to cover the remains.
What can I do if I want to bury the ashes and have a gravestone? In such a case it would be necessary to have the ashes buried in a cemetery or churchyard where provision is made for this to be done. The gardens of the crematorium are not a burial ground within statutory law.
Can I keep the ashes if I want to or must I dispose of them? Applicants can do what they wish with the ashes and may keep them.
How can I ensure that I am cremated when I die? Clear instructions in writing should be given to the person who will be responsible for your funeral when you die. Such instructions are not binding in law so you should ensure that the person instructed is someone who is likely to carry out your wishes. The final decision will rest with your executors.vice, we need a little more time. Please stop by again. Thank you for your interest!