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Two-stage funerals could meet national and individual needs

As representatives of the funeral sector met regularly with UK Government ministers over the last few weeks, Pure Cremation says a new style of funeral in which a commemoration is held at a later date could serve as a useful blueprint for the nation in order to achieve socially-responsible farewells in the current crisis.

Direct cremation has been growing in popularity in recent years and grieving families have a variety of reasons for choosing this style of send-off in which the deceased is collected, cared for and then cremated without a service or mourners present.

Pure Cremation specialises in direct cremations and is the only dedicated direct cremation provider in the UK to have its own crematorium, located at Charlton Park in the Hampshire countryside near Andover, complete with the latest video facilities to allow webcasting of committals where requested. 

Catherine Powell, co-founder of Pure Cremation, said: “Sadly, in the current health crisis some people will find themselves in isolation and unable to attend a ceremony, especially if they have been in close contact with a loved one who succumbs to the pandemic.

“Direct cremation has become more popular because the biggest benefit of separating the cremation from the farewell is the freedom to say goodbye to someone special where, when and how you choose. The low cost has also been part of the appeal.

“As we don’t know how long this situation will last, delaying cremations and burials until the virus has passed is simply not an option. Rather than making families wait months for a traditional funeral it is more sensible to arrange an unattended committal as soon as possible, and then take time to plan a truly personal memorial event for a later date.

“Our task is to continue to give every family superb care, and to offer inspiration that helps them achieve satisfying farewells once they are able to celebrate the life that has been lived.”

Recent examples of personalised commemorations include the co-ordinated lighting of candles across multiple time zones by friends and family living in several different continents, and a beachside barbecue at a favourite beauty spot reached by canoe.

Families are also finding other ways to represent the deceased, such as a much-loved motorbike or a display of hand-knitted toys that have been received and treasured by friends and relatives.

“We hope that the fact that direct cremation is already the first choice of funeral arrangement for thousands of families in the UK will reassure others. With the right support everyone can achieve a social-responsible farewell that is both personal and special.”

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