Northampton crematorium issues warning against leaving personal belongings in coffins after takeaway and mobile phone found

Alcohol, golf clubs, fishing rods and more have all been left in a coffin

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 7:45 am
A crematorium has urged families not to leave personal belongings in coffins.

A Northampton crematorium has issued a warning asking that personal belongings are not left in coffins.

The Crematorium and Memorial Group (CMG), which operates Counties Crematorium in Towcetser Road, Milton Malsor, is urging families to ask before any belongings are left in their loved one’s coffins as they could, unintentionally, pose a risk to staff safety or the environment.

The warning comes after the group issued a list of items that had been left in coffins, including: chocolate, cigarettes and cigars, alcohol, a mobile phone, golf clubs and balls, a book, soft toys, a fishing rod, a takeaway meal and a computer game.

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CMG’s Technical Services Manager, Tony Davidson, said: “We work with local funeral directors to help families have a respectful funeral for their loved one.

“We understand that mourners may wish to leave items in the coffin, but we respectfully ask that they talk to us or their funeral director about alternative ways of personalising the funeral.

“The worst case scenario is that these items damage the cremator or injure a colleague causing a delay to other family’s funerals.

“Clearly nobody would want this to happen.”

Combustible items such as alcohol, mobile phones or battery-powered devices can all cause an explosion if cremated.

Hard objects such as golf or bowling balls can be propelled during the cremation process causing substantial damage to the equipment.

Plastics used to manufacture items such as fishing rods and sporting goods can emit poisonous fumes once set alight.

However, personal mementoes such as wooden rosary beads, unframed photographs, religious texts or handwritten tributes on paper or card can all be left in the coffin.

CMG advises families not to leave items of sentimental or financial value in the coffin that they wish to keep and to be sure to remind their funeral director to remove any items before cremation takes place.

Jewellery and medals can also be cremated but cannot be recovered afterwards.

Crematorium Manager, Natasha Small, added: “There are a number of alternative ways we can help a family to personalise the funeral.

“Our state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment has access to thousands of pieces of recorded music from traditional hymns to classical masterpieces to the latest pop or rock artists.

“We can also upload family photographs or home movies, and these can be played

throughout the service to provide memories for the entire congregation.”

Flowers have always been a traditional tribute, but Natasha says they don't have to be an ‘elaborate or expensive display.’

She added: “Flowers from the family’s garden can be just as meaningful.

“Mourners can also add a personal touch by writing a special memory or tribute on paper and including this in the coffin.

“If a family wished to include a small personal item with the ashes when they purchase a memorial, we would encourage them to talk to us about this option.”