Cremation

Many people approach a funeral director immediately after a death occurs to arrange a cremation. The funeral director will make sure we receive the necessary forms and help you with the funeral arrangements.

No one can be cremated until the cause of death is definitely known. The following forms from the funeral director or crematorium have to be completed:

  • Application form (form 1) signed by the next of kin or executor
  • Two cremation certificates (forms 4 and 5) each signed by a different doctor (you'll have to pay for these)
  • Forms 4 and 5 aren't needed if the death is referred to the coroner, instead you will get the certificate for cremation (form 6) and a certificate signed by the medical referee at the crematorium (form 10) and a certificate for burial or cremation issued by the registrar

Our short guide explains some of the choices available to you:

Download Arranging a burial or cremation [PDF, 595KB]

Cremation services are available at the following crematoria:

  • Weston Mill Crematorium (seats 100 with space for standing)
  • Efford Crematorium (seats 70 with space for standing)

Apply for a cremation

Download Apply for a cremation [PDF, 72KB]

The service

Services in the chapel are booked on the hour and half hour from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. The time allowed in the chapel is 20 minutes. The remaining 10 minutes is used for the entry and exit of the mourners and the removal of the coffin and viewing floral tributes. You can book an additional quarter or half an hour for £65 or £130.

The content of the service can be made up of poems, prayers, hymns, personal music and tributes about the person.

You can look around the chapel and grounds before the service. Email cemeteries@plymouth.gov.uk or call 01752 306104/01752 304837 to organise a date and time to look around the chapel. The grounds are open 365 days a year so have a look around them at your leisure.

The committal

While the service is in progress the coffin rests on the catafalque (platform for the coffin). The committal ceremony usually takes place towards the end of the service. At this point the curtains are usually closed, screening the coffin from sight.

The coffin remains where it rests until all the mourners have left the chapel. You may request that the curtains aren't closed, although the words of committal will still be said. If the coffin curtains aren't closed the coffin will remain in sight the whole time. If you wish to witness the committal you'll need to inform us when you book the cremation so we can make the necessary arrangements.

The funeral director will come into the chapel while the exit music is being played. They'll greet the main mourner asking them to follow them to where the floral tributes are on display. The flowers will remain there for viewing for five days.

The cremation

The cremation is usually carried out shortly after the service and always within 24 hours of the funeral. Each cremation is carried out separately and the coffin is cremated with the body. All the remains are removed before the next cremation and an identity card is used throughout to ensure correct identification.

The cremated remains will be ready for collection (normally from your funeral director) on the next working day. If you need them on the same day then your service will need to be in the morning.

Cremated remains

Ashes can be scattered in a garden of remembrance or favourite spot, buried in a churchyard or cemetery, or kept. There's no need to make a hurried decision about any memorials or the final resting place of the cremated remains as we can look after the remains for up to one month to give you time to consider. If no wishes have been expressed, the funeral director or crematorium staff will contact the relative before disposal. There may be no ashes with the cremations of babies and very young children you can have a memorial in our baby garden.

Download Consent for interment/scattering of cremated remains in a reopened/new grave [PDF, 75KB]

Download Consent for interment of cremated remains in a new/reopened sanctum vault [PDF, 73KB]