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Delivering ashes to families after a direct cremation is all in a days work for Paul Rea at Pure Cremation. Care of ashes post cremation is a key part of the high-level of care we offer families of the deceased.

As most of our customers choose to have their ashes delivered back to a family member, our last important task is to complete this with care and consideration.

We asked Paul Rea one of our operations team, to specialise in this role. Paul was delighted and really enjoys meeting our customers and learning more about their plans for their loved one’s ashes. We caught up with Paul to find out more about his work.

Q: Paul, can you tell me a bit about what you do?

A: Once the cremation has taken place and we have the ashes back in our care, it’s my role to arrange the return the ashes to the appointed person at a convenient time. We try to be flexible making sure we return the ashes in time for planned personal celebrations or trips abroad. There are always urgent deliveries to ensure that the ashes are with the family for their personalised celebration either at home or overseas. Recently I managed to be in Nottingham for a 7pm appointment on a Friday evening as it was the only time that worked for the family. I’ve not yet had to meet a customer at the airport but Bryan (Managing Director) certainly has, so it’s probably only a matter of time.

Q: Is there one question you are asked more than any other?

A: Yes, in fact there are probably two: A lot of customers comment on the weight of the ashes, either being light or heavy. I usually explain that the ashes are just the remains of their loved one and do not include any other materials. Also, the weight of the ashes does vary depending on the build of the individual. The other really common question is “how do you know these are ‘my loved one’s ashes?”. That’s an easy one to answer as the cremator can only accept one person at a time and they all have strict operating processes. We also use ceramic tokens that stay with your loved one throughout the process, engraved with a unique cremation number.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your role?

A: Meeting the families is always a pleasure and it’s also interesting to visit parts of England and Wales for the first time. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to help the families in the final stages of laying their loved ones to rest.

Q. What other elements of the role give you satisfaction?

A. Most of the families are pleased to see me as they can then carry out their loved one’s last wishes disposing of their ashes as requested. They often ask me to pass on their thanks to the rest of the team, which is always lovely. Most families, share their plans with me. I always find this interesting and there are a couple of recent examples I particularly liked.

Q. And any interesting stories?

A. On returning the ashes, one family told me that they had decided to hold a Viking Funeral as a way of scattering the ashes. The deceased had been a fan of the film the Viking Funeral and therefore this seemed appropriate and a fitting celebration of his life, with the whole family getting involved. On another occasion, I returned Dad’s ashes and the family told me that they had found Mum’s ashes when clearing the house. They had decided to scatter mum & dad’s ashes on the beach, together, forever which I thought was lovely. I was even able to help in suggesting how they might achieve this, which was really rewarding.