Questions people ask regarding cremation

How many people use cremation today in Great Britain?

Since 1968 when the number of cremations exceeded burials for the first time, cremation has increased considerably. Current figures suggest that around 70% of all funerals are cremations.

Do any religious groups forbid cremation?  

All current Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, allow cremation, as do Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and Buddhists. It is however forbidden by Orthodox Jews and Muslims.  

Is cremation more expensive than burial?  

No. Generally the cost of a grave is much higher than the fee charged for cremation (due to a grave having to be maintained for ‘x’ number of years beyond the actual burial date, whereas cremation does not have that requirement to the same degree) although the funeral charges are similar for both services. The only additional charge for cremation arises when the death has not been referred to a coroner and two doctors need to be paid for the necessary certificates. This does not apply to burial currently.  

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 at your own place of worship with a short committal service in the crematorium chapel, or you may have the whole service at the crematorium chapel. Alternatively, you may prefer a civil ceremony be conducted, or even no service at all.  Some also prefer  to hold a memorial service after the cremation where the cremated remains become the focus of the service. 

How is a cremation arranged?  

The Cremation Regulations are complex and many people approach a funeral director immediately death occurs, and advise him that they wish to arrange a cremation. The funeral director will ensure that all the necessary statutory forms for cremation are obtained and presented to the Crematorium.  

Can a cremation be arranged without the services of a funeral director? 

Yes. The Executor or nearest surviving relative may arrange the cremation service themselves and advice is available at the Crematorium.  

Can relatives witness the committal of the coffin to the cremator?  

Yes. The Crematorium must be informed that you wish to witness the committal when the cremation is booked.   Staff are informed and will  then make the necessary preparations on the day.  
It should be noted that individual crematoria may have different protocols relating to this mainly governed by the layout of their building.  At Mansfield & District Crematorium we restrict viewing to a maximum of 6 persons. 

Is the coffin cremated with the body 

Yes. The Code of Cremation Practice requires that the coffin be placed in the cremator in exactly the same condition as that in which it was received at the Crematorium.  
Crematorium regulations require that the coffin and all its fittings and furnishings be made from materials suitable for cremation. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 has placed a new responsibility on Cremation Authorities to ensure that the process is completed under controlled conditions which will minimise the impact on the environment. In these circumstances it will be necessary for any items included in the coffin for presentation or viewing purposes to be removed by the Funeral Director before the coffin is conveyed to the Crematorium.  

How soon after the service will the cremation take place?  

Under normal circumstances the cremation is usually carried out shortly after the service and certainly on the same day. The only exceptions to this are in the case of an emergency or as a planned procedure (occasionally a request is made for a service to take place prior to completion of the legal documentation and the cremation will be carried out at a later date). If the cremation does not take place on the day of the service the person who applied for the cremation is kept fully informed.  

Can I personalise the funeral service ? 

We actively encourage families/friends to make the funeral service of their loved one as personal as they like.  We have an extremely extensive music system and are able to source most music that is legally and currently available (excluding that that only appears via youtube of mp3 downloads).  We also have bespoke Copeman Hart organs in both our chapels which provide a beautiful sound to accompany any singing.  We encourage the use of soloists (vocal or musical), video presentations and have magnetic photostands for use within the chapel for photos of your loved on.  We often have dove or balloon releases following a series, which is very symbolic (unfortunately we cannot allow Chinese lanterns as we are surrounded by trees and potentially it could put the building and woodland at risk). 

How are cremated remains kept separate?  

A cremator can only accept one coffin at a time and all the remains are removed from the cremator before the next cremation. An identity card is used throughout the whole process until the final disposal, thereby ensuring correct identification. 

What happens to the cremated remains after cremation?  

The law relating to cremation requires that cremated remains are disposed of in accordance  with the written instructions of the applicant (usually the executor or nearest surviving  relative).   At Mansfield & District Crematorium they can be strewn in the woodland to the rear of the building  in specially designated areas of the Garden of Remembrance, either as a witnessed appointment or with no-one present, in an area where a previous friend/member of the family has been scattered or not.  The remains may also be removed from the crematorium for disposal elsewhere (favourite place, cemetery, churchyard etc –please note you should obtain the owner of the lands permission to carry this out) or retained by the client.  At Mansfield & District Crematorium we usually only release cremated remains to your funeral director as he will know which member of the family he is dealing with – this hopefully ensures that the correct person receives them .  In exceptional circumstances we will release to family but only by prior arrangement and with the person who is to collect them being introduced to us beforehand and providing relevant forms of identification.Occasionally we may be asked to forward the cremated remains to an address in the United Kingdom – this we will do, at cost, by courier.  

Can more than one body be cremated at a time?  

No, each cremation is carried out separately. The aperture through which the coffin passes into the cremator and the cremation chamber are of dimensions that will only safely accept one coffin.  However, exceptions can be made in the case of a mother and baby or small twin children who can be accommodated within one coffin, so long as the next of kin or executor has made this specific request.  

Can I visit a crematorium and see what happens behind the scenes?  

Yes. Visits are encouraged however we would ask that you make an appointment to ensure that a senior member of staff is available to escort you and explain the process to you.  The visit may take place whilst cremations are taking place or when not; the choice is yours This open door policy helps to dispel the myths that have been explained above. On seeing the cremation process the viewer can be reassured that all cremations take place individually, coffins are cremated with the deceased and that identity is maintained throughout the process so that a family can be sure that they receive the correct cremated remains.  For groups arrangements it would depend on the numbers involved as obviously  we need to ensure we have space to work and cause no disruption to funeral services.  Larger groups may have to be accommodated either in the evening or at a weekend by prior arrangement.  The Director & Registrar frequently talks to groups of trainee officiants/ ministers, nursing home staff and funeral directing staff about the procedures at the crematorium and is always happy to discuss these further.