The memory remains – mourners ‘will place greater importance on ashes than a coffin’

close up shot of a person holding a red rose

By Patrick Barnham

Funeral services experts claim more than have of mourners see a loved one’s ashes as a more significant focus for a remembrance ceremony than a coffin.

Pure Cremation published a report from its Big Future of Funerals Survey which compiled responses from 17,135 pre-paid funeral plan customers to shed light on how UK consumer attitudes towards funerals will evolve.

One key finding is that 52% of respondents want to express their life through the ashes’ final resting place – marking a fundamental shift in the way family and loved ones say goodbye.

Over the past three decades there has been a steady decline in the number of families choosing formal disposition of the ashes in a cemetery as the bereaved look for sites that are more meaningful to them.

Catherine Powell, co-founder and Owner of Pure Cremation, said: “A cremation funeral is ‘unfinished’ until the ashes have been laid to rest. Families have long taken care of this themselves, without the help of clergy or funeral directors, so making this element the focus for the farewell is a very natural evolution.”

Demand for direct cremation has more than quadrupled in the last four years and is expected to match the demand for burials within the next three years.

She added: “Direct cremation gives families new freedom to reflect their loved one’s life story at a favourite place, such as a garden, the forest where they walked their dog every day, or the beach where they proposed.

“Using the ashes as the focal point makes it much easier to choose the perfect farewell location and creating this deeply personal connection could provide greater closure than a ceremony at a specialist ‘death venue’ such as a church or a crematorium.”

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