Funeral - independent
Advice and information on how to organise a funeral without the
use of a funeral director.
How to arrange a funeral
Most people use the services of a Funeral Director who
organises the funeral by collecting and removing the body,
arranging embalming and viewing of the deceased, providing a
coffin, hearse and other vehicles. They will also contact the
crematorium, clergy and doctors to ensure that all necessary
arrangements are made, as well as the newspaper if you wish to have
an obituary notice published.
There is no reason why you should not make all the
arrangements yourself, including the provision of a ‘coffin’ and
transportation of the deceased to the crematorium.
Copies of all the necessary forms are available from the
crematorium and the staff will be happy to assist you in arranging
The death must be registered
Today most deaths occur in hospital or at home after an
illness and the deceased has usually been attended by a medical
practitioner who can certify the cause of death and issue a
notification of the cause of death which needs to be taken to the
Registrar of Births and Deaths so that the death can be registered.
The majority of Registrars now operate an appointment system and it
will be necessary to arrange a suitable appointment.
The Registrar of Births and Deaths will issue a Certificate
for Burial or Cremation which should be forwarded to the
crematorium or cemetery/churchyard administrator.
Where the death is caused by an accident or the deceased has
not been attended by a medical practitioner, i.e. within 14 days
prior to death, it will be necessary for the cause of death to be
ascertained. This is done by a Coroner who will investigate the
circumstances surrounding the death and then issue a notification
of the cause of death which is transmitted to the Registrar of
Births and Deaths. The Coroner will issue a Coroners Order for
Cremation or a Coroners Order for Burial.
Cremation services may take place at Woodlands Crematorium,
Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.20am and 2.40pm at
40-minute intervals and should be booked with the crematorium at
least three working days in advance. It will be necessary to inform
the hospital or medical practitioner who last attended the deceased
that a cremation is to take place. The medical practitioner will
then complete a statutory Form B setting out the cause of death and
other circumstances surrounding the death. This Form B will then be
passed to another qualified medical practitioner who will examine
the body and complete a confirmatory certificate known as Form C
before arranging for both forms to be delivered to the crematorium.
There is a charge for the completion of both of these forms.
Where the Coroner has been involved in establishing the cause
of death and has issued a Coroners Order for Cremation Forms B and
C mentioned above are not required.
You will need to sign a statutory Application for Cremation
(Form A) in the presence of another person who will be required to
certify that you are known to them and that they have no reason to
doubt the answer given to any of the questions on the form.
The crematorium will also need written instructions for the
service and disposal of the cremated remains. All statutory forms,
including the Coroners Order for Cremation or the Registrars
Certificate for Cremation or Burial, must be delivered to the
crematorium by no later than 10.00am on the working day prior to
the funeral service.
The full service, which will last approximately 25 minutes,
can take place in the crematorium chapel or part of the service can
be held in your own church with only a short committal ceremony
being held at the crematorium. Should you wish to have a longer
service or expect a large number of people to attend, it is
possible to arrange for additional time on payment of a small
As an alternative, the full service may be held in your own
church and the coffin brought for cremation with no further
ceremony. In this case the coffin will still be brought into the
chapel and be placed on the catafalque before entering the
Whichever option is chosen it will be necessary to consult the
officiating minister to ensure that the appointment is suitable to
It is not necessary to use a hearse to bring the coffin to the
crematorium. People arranging personalised funerals often use their
own estate cars or hire a van in lieu of the traditional hearse.
Similarly you may use a biodegradable (cardboard) coffin instead of
the usual chipboard coffin if you wish.
Interments in the council cemeteries may take place Monday to
Friday between the hours of 9.30am and 3.00pm. The cemeteries
are administered through the office at Woodlands Crematorium, who
should be contacted as soon as possible.
You will need to complete an Application for Interment Form
and provide the Registrars Certificate for Cremation or Burial, or
the Coroners Order for Burial. If the family already has the
Exclusive Right of Burial in a grave, the appropriate grave
details, and if available the Grave Deed, must be provided to the
In order to allow sufficient time to prepare the grave, three
working days notice is required before the service.
The funeral service can be conducted at the graveside, in a
place of worship or, if the interment is in Scarborough, the chapel
at Woodlands Crematorium.
The coffin for burial can be traditional, biodegradable
(cardboard) or made of other biodegradable material such as woven
As with cremation the use of traditional hearse and limousines
could be dispensed with and alternative vehicles used for the
journey to the cemetery.
External website links
The Natural Death Centre has published advice on arranging a
funeral without a funeral director, available from
The Natural Death Centre
6 Blackstock Mews
Tel: 0871 288 2098
Further information can be obtained about getting assistance in
paying for a funeral (in certain cases), please follow this