In the UK cremation now accounts for over 70% of all funerals. Over the last few years, there has been a huge shift towards having a Celebration of Life rather than a traditional funeral service, increasingly led by a Civil Celebrant rather than the local vicar.
And now more and more people are deciding that it actually suits them better to have this Celebration at a place of their choosing, on a day and time that suits them. They don’t need the body or a coffin there to remember the person who has died. Memories are reflected through music, photographs, videos and personal tributes.
This shift means that the traditional services offered by funeral directors no longer fit what many families want. Something the majority of the industry is struggling to adapt to.
Most funeral directors will try to sell you a traditional funeral because that’s all they know and this fits their view of a “proper” send-off. We’ve heard from families that some have even told blatant lies such as a hearse being a “legal requirement” for a funeral..
You have to remember that providing traditional funerals is an expensive business – all those hearses and limousines at £100,000 plus each have to be paid for, not to mention suitable high street premises and staff on call 24/7. Most simply can’t afford to offer a more basic service instead of the traditional version.
So while many people are actively telling their family to look for a “no frills” service it hasn’t been easy to find. Pure Cremation has been offering this style of funeral across a wide area for more than 3 years, but until recently the term “Direct Cremation” was unfamiliar here in the UK.
So what exactly Is direct cremation?
A direct cremation is the funeral industry term for a basic cremation with minimal cost outlay and no services or ceremony performed before the cremation. You may also hear a direct cremation referred to as an immediate cremation, a basic cremation or a simple cremation. We call it Pure Cremation. It all means the same thing.
Below are the key things you need to know about direct cremation:
- A direct cremation involves no funeral service. There is no viewing of the deceased or farewell ceremony conducted. Usually, there are no mourners present, although you can be present for the committal if you wish.
- No embalming is required before a direct cremation. (If the deceased had a pace-maker we will need to remove it)
- No expensive coffin is required for a direct cremation. We use a simple solid pine eco-coffin.
- The cremation takes place at a facility convenient to the funeral provider and is unlikely to be local to you. You won’t be able to choose the time, location or date of the cremation although at Pure Cremation we always ask whether there are special dates such as birthdays or anniversaries you’d like us to avoid.
- Direct Cremation is a positive family choice and rarely the result of financial difficulties.
Although it is sometimes called a ‘simple cremation’, a direct cremation cannot proceed until allof the usual paperwork is in order, and this needs to be submitted to the crematorium at least 48 hours before the cremation takes place.
An Application for Cremation and Ashes Instruction Form must be signed by the executor or next of kin, and the death registered. We will need to obtain either Doctors’ Cremation Certificates or a Coroner’s Form 6 as with any cremation. This usually takes around 5 working days to complete but may take longer.
The cremation process itself takes approximately 1 1/2 hours, so the cremated remains are generally ready for collection from our office (or for hand delivery to be arranged) within about 3-7 days.
You can have your own farewell service as soon as you like. Some families prefer to have a Memorial service once the ashes are returned, often choosing an attractive urn or casket. Others will arrange a farewell ceremony that includes scattering the ashes in a favourite location, or you can simply have a Thanksgiving Service with a lovely picture of the deceased as the focus for remembrance. It’s up to you.
It’s good to know that direct cremation can increase your options, but you need to be confident that the cremation will be undertaken in an efficient and caring manner by a specialist company with a good reputation and experienced staff, such as Pure Cremation. The low cost allows your family to arrange a fitting memorial or celebration ceremony that truly reflects your loved one’s values, beliefs and relationships.
Not all funeral directors will provide a direct cremation so do check exactly what’s on offer when you get a quotation. Even though you want a simple, good value for money service you still want to know that your loved one is in good hands, so do check the credentials of the company you’re dealing with as well as their prices.