The Co-operative, which is Britain’s biggest funeral provider, has launched a low-cost, mourner free ‘direct to cremation’ service.
As traditional funeral costs spiral and demand for cremations rises, the Co-op’s new ceremony free cremation service costs £1,395 and slightly less in Scotland, at £1,230.
David Bowie and novelist Anita Brookner both opted for fuss-free direct cremations and the Co-op claims over 80 per cent of its customers chose to be cremated rather than buried last year.
Alternatives: As funeral costs rise, cremations are becoming increasingly popular
Recent figures show that a funeral using a funeral director costs roughly £4,078, depending on the location and type of service.
With these figures in mind, cremations are on the up. In the UK, around one in ten cremations are direct, while in the US the proportion is markedly higher, at 32 per cent, the Co-op said.
While the Co-op’s base charge for direct cremations is £1,395, or £1,230 in Scotland, mourners face paying an additional £95 if they want their loved one’s ashes to be delivered to them.
Collecting the ashes or having them scattered in the grounds of the crematorium is free.
The Co-op’s direct cremation fee includes collection and transport from anywhere in mainland UK, a private ambulance to the crematorium, a simple coffin, cremation fees, doctor’s fees if required and assistance with the paperwork involved.
After his death in January 2016, David Bowie had a fuss-free direct cremation
No mourners: The Co-op’s new direct cremation service offers a mourner-free alternative
Caroline Jones, Head of Propositions for Co-op Funeralcare and Later Life Planning, said: ‘We’ve seen an increased demand for this simpler service and our priority is always to do right by the families in our care.
‘We’re expecting the demand for this offering to continue to rise, by introducing Cremation Without Ceremony we’re ensuring that we’re offering choices to families when the time comes to say goodbye.’
One factor influencing the Co-op’s decision to launch a direct cremation service was the growing tide of demand for celebratory services after someone’s death, rather than a conventional funeral.
The Co-op said: ‘Despite Cremation Without Ceremony costing less than half that of a traditional funeral, the business has found that for many the decision is not driven by price.
Additional charge: Mourners face paying an additional £95 if they want their loved one’s ashes to be delivered to them via the Co-op’s new service
‘Co-op has found that by not including a service, it gives families the chance to remember their loved one in their own way at a location of their choosing. Whether that be through a memorial service, a family get together or scattering the ashes at a place they loved’
In a bid to ‘push often taboo topics onto the national agenda’ and help it to establish how to develop its services, the Co-op has launched a survey into the nation’s attitudes to death, dying and bereavement.
Prohibitively expensive: Recent figures show that a funeral using a funeral director costs roughly £4,078
What is a direct cremation?
Direct cremation is offered by some companies – where the body is collected from a mortuary during normal working hours and cremated at a convenient time.
There’s usually no viewing or ceremony beforehand, or a limousine for the family and mourners.
And if you wish to have the ashes afterwards, make sure you request them.
You usually need to collect them, but some might deliver for a charge.
This then leaves you to hold a ceremony, if you wish, at a time and place of your choosing.
Source: Money Advice Service