Direct cremations take over traditional funerals amid coronavirus

Direct cremations where loved ones don’t attend and receive the ashes after overtake traditional send-offs amid pandemic – as expert claims the low cost practice will ‘fundamentally transform’ the funeral sector

  • Many Brits looking to delay traditional funeral celebrations until after lockdown
  • Cost effective ‘direct cremation’ ceremonies take place without anyone present
  • Farewill founder Dan Garrett believes this could become a standard UK practice 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Direct cremations have ovetaken traditional send-offs in the UK amid the coronavirus crisis – and an expert has predicted the low cost practice will ‘fundamentally transform’ the funeral sector.  

With the majority of Brits looking for options to delay full funerals until after lockdown so that loved ones can attend, experts report there has been a 300 per cent increase in demand for this more cost effective option.

The cremation takes place without anyone present, and afterwards the ashes are brought to the family, who are then free to organise a celebration of the person’s life at a later date if they wish. 

Dan Garrett, 30, of London, who founded Farewell – a UK-based will writing and death specialist – told FEMAIL the ceremonies are ‘here to stay’ and will surpass ‘overtly Victorian’ traditions which date back hundreds of years.

Direct cremations have ovetaken traditional send-offs in the UK amid the coronavirus crisis – and an expert has predicted the low cost practice will ‘fundamentally transform’ the funeral sector. Pictured: stock image of a woman with an urn containing ashes

‘I think it was already really growing,’ he said. ‘I think people are challenging traditions and rituals around death, which are so overtly Victorian.

‘It’s the fastest growing part of the funeral world, so it’s definitely here to stay. The most interesting part of it is the memorial people have afterwards and how people choose to say goodbye. 

‘I think it will fundamentally transform the funeral sector and it’s starting to happen already.’

Dan, a designer who noticed a gap in the industry while working in Japan, explained that direct cremations are ‘more secular’ and allow for more ‘personal and creative’ memorial ceremonies. 

‘It’s like an unattended funeral,’ he said. ‘We pick up the body, take it to a crematorium, do the cremation and deliver back the ashes, and what happens after is like a memorial service. 

With the UK’s death toll hitting 30,540 today, the funeral industry has been struggling to cope with the influx of deaths. Pictured: a coffin of a Covid-19 victim entering a crematory oven in Spain

‘It’s the idea of separating the two parts of the process. It’s a bit like what’s happened with weddings in the last 20 years – it’s a bit less traditional and more secular.

‘You can do more personal, creative things with a funeral by not doing it at the place it took place.’ 

With the UK’s death toll hitting 30,540 today, it’s no surprise that the funeral industry has been struggling to cope with the influx of deaths. 

‘It’s been really tough to handle,’ said Dan. ‘I won’t say it’s as hard as working in the healthcare side of things, but the funeral industry in the UK has been really, really stretched.

‘There are complications with picking up bodies in hazmat suits and there have been regional delays in access to crematorium facilities.’ 

What is a direct cremation? 

The body of a loved one is collected and transported to a crematorium, where the company will work with doctors and nurses to deal with necessary paperwork.

A simple cremation without a funeral service is carried out, and the ashes are then delivered to loved ones in a simple cardboard urn. 

You can then arrange your own personal memorial service before displaying the ashes or scattering them.

 Source: Farewill

The online wills and probate experts say direct cremations are 75 per cent cheaper than a standard ceremony, which usually cost around £4,800. A direct cremation with Farewill is priced at £1,200. 

Dan told how prices in the funeral sector have ‘crept up’ over the years, and believes lockdown will ‘push forward’ innovation within the industry. 

‘An increase in death rate means things do get quite busy, but the really interesting thing is, it’s been a struggle in the industry for a few years,’ he said. 

‘Costs have crept up over the last five or 10 years. A lot of that is because when someone dies, especially if it’s not expected, you’re slightly side-swiped. 

‘You wander off into the funeral directors and before you know it you’ve bought an £8,000 funeral, so there’s been really little innovation in the sector for genuinely over 100 years. 

‘Since lockdown, it’s pushed forward a lot of innovation that’s been waiting to happen in the funeral industry. Prices are coming down and people are thinking about funerals differently.’ 

Calls for ‘small-scale’ church funerals to be restarted

Earlier this week a group of Conservative MPs called for the Church of England to allow small-scale funerals in churches amid lockdown restrictions.

Churches shut down in March amid safety concerns over the spread of coronavirus, with current social distancing rules permitting funerals only at crematoriums or at the graveside.

A letter signed by 36 MPs suggests clergy should be allowed into churches to officiate services while adhering to safety procedures.

The letter, addressed to Lord Archbishops and Diocesan Bishops of the Church of England, voices concerns that ‘the wishes of the deceased and bereaved are not being fulfilled with a proper committal in the church of their wish’.

It adds that the Church should ‘consider, most intently, the pain and anguish of those families unable to have a funeral’.

Source: Read Full Article