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Crematorium in Bath to stream funeral services due to social distancing measures

Picture credits: Local Democracy Reporter Service (LDRS)

Many mourners will be forced to watch funerals at a crematorium in Bath via a high-definition video streaming service, after new restrictions were announced.

Haycombe Crematorium has been closed to all visitors apart from close family attending funerals to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Bath and North East Somerset Council said it had no choice but to limit access to up to 10 people attending each funeral, or by appointment for those who need to meet with office staff. 

All hymn books have been removed to help prevent the spread of the infection and mourners and attendees are advised not to touch, kiss or come into contact with the coffin. 

The council has installed a new high-definition streaming system so those unable to attend can still view the service. 

It has also confirmed it is “making the necessary preparations” for a temporary morgue, but has given no further details. 

Council leader Dine Romero said: “Unfortunately we have no choice but to follow new laws which require us to close Haycombe, apart from allowing immediate family to attend funerals. 

“This has not been an easy action to have to take and our sympathies are with families who will be affected by these measures.

“While viewing a loved one’s funeral service on a webcast is not what most of us would wish for, it is currently the best option that we can provide to help grieving families and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“We apologise for any distress caused by these unprecedented changes to our service but hope that people will understand why we have had to put them in place.”

The live webcasts will allow people in self-isolation, or who cannot travel, to pay their respects. 

Families will also have the option to select and programme music, images and plan services, with help from their funeral director.

For the time being, the council’s non-operational cemeteries are open but this situation may change as guidance is clarified.

Approximately 300 full burials are carried out at Haycombe Cemetery per year, with another 100 to 200 burials of cremated remains, according to the council’s website. 

The council has also confirmed it is making the necessary preparations for a temporary morgue and said it will give further details “as and when” it is needed. 

Bristol City Council is already creating a temporary mortuary for up to 240 bodies, it was announced this week. 

Haycombe Crematorium can be contacted on 01225 396020 or by email via cemeteries_crematorium@bathnes.gov.uk

For all updates on council services go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/coronavirus

By Local Democracy Reporter Service, reporter Stephen Sumner

 

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