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Crematorium FAQ

How many cremations are there?

About 70 per cent of all recorded deaths are now followed by cremation. Medway Crematorium currently undertakes approximately 2,700 cremations per year.

Is cremation more expensive than burial?

No. Usually the cost of burial is much higher than the fee for cremation, but much of this cost relates to grave purchase, which is optional.

Is it necessary for the cremation to be associated with a religious ceremony?

No. The deceased’s family can make any service arrangements that they consider appropriate. Secular services can be conducted at the crematorium or, if preferred, a ceremony need not be held. Memorial services can be held separately from the cremation in local places of worship by arrangement with a minister.

What are the normal options for the disposal of cremated remains?

The ashes may be scattered at the crematorium by or in the presence of a Bereavement Services operative or they can be taken for disposal somewhere else. If the ashes are to be buried in a grave, scattered at another crematorium or disposed of privately, permission should be obtained first.

Get permission from us to bury ashes in a grave, scatter them at another crematorium or dispose of them privately.  

Unless instructed otherwise, we will scatter ashes in the grounds three weeks after the cremation. Ashes are scattered in the woodland glades, around numbered trees or placed into columbaria. Families and friends may wish to be present to witness the scattering.

Request to arrange a mutually convenient date and time.

There is a small charge for this service. Payment can be made to the funeral director, who will pass the money onto us, or payment can be made on the day of the scattering.  

The ashes are normally distributed over a wide area of ground or around a specific numbered tree where they quickly break down so that within a few days little trace of them can be seen.

What happens to the coffin after the committal?

After the coffin is taken to the committal room, the nameplate is carefully checked. An identity card accompanies the coffin and the ashes from then on until their final disposal. The coffin as received at the crematorium is cremated and no staff are allowed to interfere with the coffin.

Is the cremation of a body governed by a code of ethics and working practices?

Members of the Federation of British Cremation Authorities must operate strictly in accordance with a code of cremation practice. The code is displayed at the crematorium.

How soon after the service does the cremation take place?

The cremation will take place shortly after the service. The code of cremation practice specifies that the cremation is always completed within 72 hours of the receipt of the coffin, but unless there are major disruptions to plant and equipment, cremations at Medway take place on the same day as the service.

Is the coffin cremated with the body?

The coffin is placed in the cremator as it arrived at the crematorium. Regulations require that the coffin and all its fittings must be suitable for cremation and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 states that the process must be carried out under controlled conditions so that the impact on the environment is minimised. Any items included in the coffin for viewing before the funeral are removed by the funeral director before the coffin is taken to the crematorium. Flowers may not be included with the coffin for cremation.

Should items of jewellery be left on the body for cremation?

Usually, all items of jewellery are removed before the coffin is sent to the crematorium. Let the funeral director know your wishes in this respect when the funeral arrangements are being discussed. The crematorium does not open the coffin, nor remove any jewellery before cremation.  Once in the cremator, these items cannot be retrieved.

Can more than one body be cremated in a cremator at the same time?

Each cremation is carried out separately according to the code. Exceptions may be made, for instance in case of mother and baby or young twin children, but this must be specifically requested by the person applying for the cremation as this is not something that the crematorium would contemplate without written authority.

What happens to the cremated remains after cremation?

After a cremation the ashes are taken in a special container to a treatment area. The metals from the coffin and from medical implants are removed and disposed of separately. Nothing else is salvaged, in accordance with the code of cremation practice.

How are cremated remains kept separate?

A cremator takes only one coffin at a time and all remains are removed before the unit can be used again. An identity card accompanies the coffin and ashes at every stage of the process. The code of ethics and practical necessity combine to ensure that the separation of cremated remains is achieved.

How are cremated remains treated at the crematorium?

The ashes are taken from the cremator, cooled and put into a purpose-made unit after any ferrous metals are removed, which reduces the residue to a fine consistency suitable for disposal. Finally the ashes are put into a carefully identified container for collection. All metals are currently disposed off at the crematorium, but this is under review with possibilities for certain metals (those used in surgery for example) to be recycled. Precious metals are not recovered.

What should you do if you want to choose to be cremated?

Leave clear instructions in writing for the person who will be responsible for arranging your funeral. Because instructions are not binding in law, make sure that he or she is likely to carry out your wishes. The final decision will rest with the executors. You can discuss any of the above with the staff at Medway crematorium who will be pleased to arrange for you to visit the crematorium.