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  • Writer's pictureMemorial Woodlands

Bristol families choosing direct cremations

A growing number of Bristol families are choosing to have unattended cremations followed by burial of ashes at Bristol Memorial Woodlands when a loved one dies.


Since the beginning of the year Bristol Memorial Woodlands has recorded that around 30 per cent of funerals at the woodlands see friends and families gather for a life celebration with ashes being buried so that families have a place where they can remember their loved one.


Christopher Baker, who founded Bristol Memorial Woodlands to provide a place for burials, said: “Direct cremations, where there is no ceremony at the Crematorium have been growing in popularity since David Bowie chose that way to leave the world. The latest Sun Life Report shows that direct funerals have grown in popularity from just 2% of all funerals in 2018 to 18% last year.


“But we have found that those left behind do want to have an event to mark someone’s passing and often families want a place where they can go and remember a loved one. There is also the practical issue of what to do with the ashes after a direct cremation.


“The majority of our funerals are still burials where people appreciate that we are creating a 100-acre woodland that is protected in the future, so that future generations will be able to walk here and remember their ancestors.


“But we have seen a strong demand to use the woodland setting as a venue for the final act following a direct cremation. People can spend a half day or whole day here remembering their loved one in the way that they wish with ashes at the centre of the event rather than a coffin.”


Many of the direct cremations that then use Bristol Memorial Woodlands are carried out at nearby Westerleigh Cemetery & Crematorium which is part of Westerleigh Group. Westerleigh Group have their own direct cremation provider Distinct Cremations, who provide services that cover the whole of Somerset and Gloucestershire.


Steve Wallis, Managing Director of Distinct Cremations said: “A growing number of families want an affordable, no-fuss funeral, which we provide with respect and the highest standard of service.


“We then personally deliver ashes to families, and they can then have whatever celebration, gathering, service or event that is appropriate in a timescale of their choosing. For some that may be a woodland burial, and we are just pleased that our service enables families to arrange something that is suitable for them.”

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