Dramatic drop in number of attendees at funerals but plans in place to allow them to continue

The ceremony room at Kingfisher Funerals

The ceremony room at Kingfisher Funerals - Credit: Archant

New arrangements for funerals have been put in place to meet the Government’s restrictions on social contact during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Cambridgeshire County Council has today (March 25) issued advice in its daily briefing to the media on attending funerals.

In a statement, CCC said: “We will be limiting funeral gatherings in chapels to the immediate family only – including spouse/partner, parents/carers, brothers/sisters, children and partners of children.

“Crematorium grounds and cemeteries are still open, however, please be mindful of keeping at least six feet (two metres) away from other visitors.”

The council’s Bereavement Services office is closed, although it is possible to make an appointment to collect cremated remains, however, the council is asking people to avoid this if possible.

The waiting room at Cambridge crematorium is now closed and attendees are now asked to stay in their cars until the cortege arrives at the crematorium

The Book of Remembrance is also now closed but the inscription can be viewed from the outside of the building and there will be vases available for any tributes left.

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Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services, based in St Neots, St Ives and Huntingdon, is in the process of “making massive changes” in order to provide an essential service to the community.

“It is clear that funerals will have to change during the pandemic, and perhaps for some considerable time thereafter,” said Andrew Hickson from the company.

“In the last week we have seen a dramatic drop in the number of attendees at funerals. Local crematoria are taking steps to limit the spread of the virus.

“We have always offered the facility to hold funerals at our premises. We will continue to offer this facility, but we will restrict the number of attendees to immediate family only, and we will practise social distancing during ceremonies.

“We have the facility to live stream the funeral service or ceremony so that those unable to attend the funeral can watch it from home as it happens. If you can’t come to the funeral, we’ll bring it to you.

“We have ceremony rooms at our premises in St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives, and can offer these facilities in all three towns.

“Our staff are now working from home in order to protect themselves and their families. We need them to be healthy so we can cope with any rise in demand that the virus brings. They have full access to our computer system, our diary and our phone system. All phone calls and emails will be answered as normal.

We will be arranging funerals by telephone and email wherever possible. We have video facilities for clients who would like some visual interaction.”

The Kingfisher offices in all three towns are now closed.