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pure cremation

DIRECT CREMATION PIONEER SETS BENCHMARK FOR FUNERAL INDUSTRY

Pure Cremations goal is to offer the very best value and to increase operational efficiency rather than raise prices. At the Prepaid Funeral Review, we are keen to see this sector expand, but it is crucial that family and friends are aware that a direct cremation plan is in place and they won’t have the normal service at which to say goodbye.

Pure Cremation, the UK’s first dedicated provider of direct cremation, is setting a benchmark for the funeral industry to follow, leading the way on fulfilling the wish list set out in the CMA report published today.

The report, which highlights the need for a shake-up of the funeral industry, not only demonstrates that Pure Cremation is comfortably ahead of the curve but is well placed in shaping the future of the wider industry.

The report from the government-led Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) follows a two-year investigation into the inconsistent and excessive pricing for funeral and cremation services nationally.

It was prompted by the increasing costs of funeral services which for more than a decade have outstripped inflation, disproportionately affecting the nation’s poorest members of society when they are at their most vulnerable and pushing many into debt.

The most important recommendation demands transparency from all funeral directors and crematoria on pricing and ownership, something Pure Cremation has displayed on its website and literature since it opened its doors in 2015.

Bryan Powell, founder and CEO said, “Every funeral provider serves vulnerable customers and so they have a higher duty of care than other businesses when it comes to clear price and service information.”

The company is proud to be a consumer champion – holding its prices for the last 3 years, in contrast to the strongly criticised above-inflation price rises in both funeral homes and crematoria.

Bryan Powell commented, “Our goal is to offer the very best value and to increase operational efficiency rather than raise prices. We continue to make significant investments in staff, equipment and technology to achieve this.”

The CMA report recognises the increasing popularity of direct cremation – a cremation-only funeral with no mourners, no service, no church, officiant, cars or flowers. Pure Cremation was established to specialise in delivering this cost-effective, alternative farewell without any compromise in care or dignity.

This puts the company in a strong position to bring a fresh perspective to the suggested inspection and registration scheme, intended to give consumers confidence in standards of professional care and root out poor practice.

Catherine Powell, Director of Customer Experience, said: “As the leading non-traditional funeral provider we can offer valuable insights into the true needs and expectations of 21st century families and so ensure any inspection scheme is fit for purpose.”

Today’s report also highlights the difficulties faced by the bereaved when arranging a funeral, often for the first time.

Stephen Pett, of the Prepaid Funeral Review added “One of the top benefits of prepaid funeral plans is that a lot of the arrangements are already taken care of, at a price fixed (often) many years before.  A recent case showed that savings could be made only days before a death.”

The CMA is frustrated by the lack of meaningful local competition in this market, something that Pure Cremation’s presence is helping to address. With the same all-inclusive fee across the UK (including Northern Ireland), almost every family now has access to an affordable alternative to an expensive, traditional funeral.

And, thanks to their trade service, grieving families across England and Wales can even combine the services of a local funeral home with a low-cost, unattended cremation at Pure Cremation’s own facility in Hampshire.

The report rightly touches on the financial consequences of not discussing funeral wishes in advance. Pure Cremation was the first major break away from traditional funerals, and the company was the first to launch a dedicated direct cremation pre-paid plan. This is proving extremely popular with the growing number of people who want to ensure their families spend as little as possible on the practicalities by providing for those modest costs themselves.

Catherine said: “The recommendations from the CMA are already embedded in the Pure Cremation DNA and we will continue to bring innovation to this stagnant market for the benefit of all customers – whatever style of send-off they choose.”

Are Funerals Safe These Days?

Catherine Powell of Pure Cremation

We salute those families who are choosing direct cremation in order to play their part in protecting their communities

LEADING DIRECT CREMATION PROVIDER INCENSED BY MP’S UNHELPFUL AND CARELESS APPEAL TO SENIOR CLERGY FOR RELAXATION OF LOCKDOWN MEASURES FOR FUNERALS

One of the UK’s leading dedicated direct cremation providers has branded MP’s concern that ‘the wishes of the deceased and bereaved are not being fulfilled with a proper committal in the church of their wish’ as being careless and unhelpful when families are already having to make difficult choices amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A letter signed by 36 MP’s was this week sent to Lord Archbishops and Diocesan Bishops of the Church of England asking for church doors to reopen suggesting they should ‘consider, most intently, the pain and anguish of those families unable to have a funeral’.

The action follows UK Government regulations which limits those attending funerals to immediate family members, with councils in some areas even banning mourners altogether for a brief time. As a result, the only options available to families are either a direct cremation or very small attended funeral held at the graveside or crematorium.

Catherine Powell, co-founder and Customer Experience Director of Pure Cremation believes that the letter branding direct cremation as a “tragedy” is highly irresponsible and this language only adds to the grief and distress suffered by the bereaved.

Catherine Powell commented: “We salute those families who are choosing direct cremation in order to play their part in protecting their communities. We are proud to be able to give them valuable reassurance and comfort by sharing the inspiring stories from the thousands of families who have deliberately chosen this simple, unattended cremation as a way to break away from tradition and to take control over the farewell events.”

Since the pandemic began, Pure Cremation has been doing its utmost to support families who find themselves arranging a direct cremation even though this wouldn’t have been their first choice for saying goodbye to a loved-one.

Catherine continued: “COVID-19 has essentially stripped families of the opportunity to hold a traditional funeral surrounded by family and friends. As you can’t postpone laying a loved one to rest indefinitely, it makes great sense to hold a simple and respectful cremation without delay and focus on a proper celebration of life or thanksgiving service once the restrictions are lifted.”

Direct cremation has increased in popularity over the last five years as more people look for an alternative to the usual “funeral formula” and this is an escalating trend. Pure Cremation’s growth is evidence of this, with sales of their funeral plan doubling each year, resulting in more than 10,000 active plans in April 2020.

She adds: “Unfortunately the MPs who wrote to the Bishops on this topic seem more interested in raising their profile than considering the impact their words might have on all the bereaved families who have made the difficult decision to separate the two parts of a funeral by arranging a direct cremation.

“They should be supporting their grieving constituents by emphasising the positives – more time to plan the perfect farewell, more time to gather the memories and stories that will make the event a poignant and accurate reflection of the life that has been lived.”

An early pioneer of direct cremation, Pure Cremation is the only dedicated provider with its own crematorium and the only firm operating throughout the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland.

Based in Andover, Hants, the company employs its own specialist team of 61 staff who demonstrate real compassion and care for the families they serve, right from the initial phone call through to the hand delivery of the ashes.

Cutting Funeral Costs

Pure Cremation Comments on Funeral Habits and their Cost.

Continually increasing funeral costs and funeral poverty have once again dominated this year’s Royal London National Funeral Cost Index with the average cost of a funeral rising yet again faster than normal inflation.

OK, it is only marginally above the rate of inflation, but it is a major issue causing debt levels to rise by £79 to £1,680 for those who cannot comfortably afford a funeral. Funeral poverty set a record of more than £160m an increase of around £10m on the previous year.

The report also reveals the funeral industry suffers from vast gulfs in funeral costs from area to area, with widely varying fees for crematoriums and a shortage of burial plots with costs from minor to mind boggling to buy a plot.

So what is needed is a wider choice of ways to say goodbye.

Direct cremations and other ‘no frills’ options are increasingly popular but the report highlights ‘the challenge is to ensure that awareness of these options is raised and consumers are encouraged to shop around more to find the right solution for their needs’.

Pure Cremation is probably the leading specialist in direct cremation, not only offering low-cost cremation-only services but pushing wider conversations about what a funeral should look like and what it should achieve.

Pure Cremation’s  Catherine Powell commented: “Britain seems caught between the reality of an almost completely secular society and a template for the final rite of passage that originated 200 years ago. Weddings have changed beyond recognition in the last two decades to reflect preferences – a similar reinvention for funerals is long overdue.

“It is not just a question of cost and the cheapest option – it’s a question of choice and more importantly what is right for the family and the deceased.”

It is now more than 10 years since a report commissioned by the Funeralcare Forum revealed that 80% were disappointed with the funeral they arranged for a loved one – a shocking statistic that had nothing to do with the quality of care provided and everything to do with an anxiety about whether they had “done the right thing”. Another reason for prepaid funeral, where that burden is largely lifted from the shoulders of those left behind.

“People continue to resist talking about death and funerals, perhaps because they don’t realise the range of choices they now have. This causes both emotional and financial distress that could so easily be avoided.”

The team at Pure Cremation feel they have a responsibility that goes beyond simply promoting their service. Price transparency has always been a fundamental part of their approach, along with a consultative service offering clear guidance for bereaved families to help them make fully informed decisions, because they recognised that whilst direct cremation may be the right choice for many it is not for all.

They have also found a way to make a real difference to a group highlighted in the report, those applying for assistance with funeral costs.

Pure Cremation Crematorium

Pure Cremations Crematorium at Charlton Park Crematorium, Andvover

Pure Cremations new crematorium is due to open in early 2019 and will meet the demand in Andover and surrounding areas for funeral services. It will also serve Pure Cremation’s direct cremation customers from across the UK, with interest in this modern alternative continuing to grow after David Bowie specifically chose this simple style of send-off.

Catherine Powell, director and co-founder of Pure Cremation, explained why it was so important to involve others who support the bereaved in Andover at such an early stage in the build programme: “The vision for Charlton Park Crematorium is of a valued community asset local people can be proud of, and which will provide families with the quality farewell experience they deserve – whatever their final wishes may be.  We are already working closely with the likes of clergy, civil celebrants and funeral home staff to achieve this vision and to meet the changing needs of Andover’s families.

“Funeral care-givers in the area are setting a truly innovative example and so we were delighted to accept Canon Jill Bentall’s invitation to speak at the first Funeral Stakeholder Meeting held at Bridge St Methodist Church. It was a great opportunity to outline our vision and answer questions.

“We are very grateful for the support we have received from the professional community since we first revealed our plans for Charlton Park Crematorium.  Many stakeholders have taken the time to understand our proposition –including S & J Maddocks funeral directors – and we look forward to continuing to develop a collaborative relationship built around offering every family the choice of a meaningful farewell on their terms.“

Charlton Park Crematorium represents a major investment by Pure Cremation in creating a sensitively-designed, state-of-the-art crematorium on vacant land in Andover.  A thoughtfully-planned and detailed landscaping scheme for the 11-acre site includes the retention of all protected trees and enhanced boundary planting, to create a tranquil setting for contemplation and remembrance.

The crematorium will feature a chapel which seats up to 80 mourners, a cremator hall, vestry, cosy farewell space for small gatherings, administrators’ office and car parking.  The facilities will enable Pure Cremation to provide an improved service; with greater flexibility on the timing of committals, and innovative options such as ‘virtual attendance’ and ‘virtual witness’, among the many additional benefits for its customers.

In a move which reaffirms its commitment to Andover, Pure Cremation will relocate its headquarters from Newbury to Charlton Park Crematorium.  With all its services brought together under one roof families will have the reassurance of knowing their loved ones are being looked after from the moment they come into Pure Cremation’s care until the scattering or return of the ashes.

Canon Jill Bentall said: “It was my pleasure to visit site and to officially commemorate the ground-breaking milestone at Charlton Park Crematorium. Having been very interested to learn about Pure Cremation’s future plans, I welcomed the opportunity to find out more about this important new community facility and to meet the team behind its construction.”

What is a direct cremation?
A direct cremation is a modern alternative to a traditional cremation funeral, where the cremation takes place completely separately from the personal farewell.

Direct cremation involves the collection and care of the deceased with dignity and respect. The coffin is delivered to the crematorium; and here the cremation takes place without a service and usually without any mourners being present. The ashes are then returned to the family – in Pure Cremation’s case, they are hand-delivered within 28 days of the cremation.

Direct cremation gives people the freedom to celebrate the lives of their loved ones in a far more personalised way – when and how it suits them. It is a straightforward, liberating, fuss-free choice; and it also represents excellent value for money when compared to the average costs of a traditional funeral.

About Pure Cremation?
Pure Cremation is trusted by more than a thousand families each year to guide them through the process of a dignified, fuss-free cremation without any compromise on the quality of care, and to inspire them to make the most of this new freedom to say goodbye their way.

The 21-strong Pure Cremation team, which is based in Newbury, has the capacity to serve thousands of families every year with trademark kindness and attention to detail. Each individual member of the team is equally committed to Bryan and Catherine’s original vision of simple care delivered to the highest standards.p

Pure Cremation Direct Cremation plans

Free Wills

Pure Cremation is urging people to make the most of Free Wills Month and save themselves hundreds of pounds in solicitor fees whilst making their final wishes known.

The team at the UK’s leading specialist provider of direct cremations is calling on individuals aged 55 and over to take advantage of the popular campaign which runs twice a year – with the next event taking place from October 2nd.

That said, Steve Pett of the Prepaid Funeral Review team added “Most people who chose to take our independent advice on choosing a funeral plan will get a voucher which will cover most of the cost of a normal Will at any time of the year – and with the option of paying more for more sophisticated advice, should it be needed.”

Ingrid McCleave of Eastbourne Law Solicitors said “Many non home owners in simple circumstances will be well served by simple Wills.  But most homeowners, business owners and those with blended families need more sophisticated advice, which is not always available.”

Pure Cremation continues: “Free Wills Month brings together a group of well-respected charities to offer members of the public the chance to have their ‘simple’ wills written or updated free of charge by using participating solicitors across the country.

It allows people to provide for friends and family as well as leave a gift to your chosen charity.”

Catherine Powell, co-founder and director of Pure Cremations believes the campaign is an opportunity to overcome a major issue faced by grieving families every day – confusion around a loved one’s final wishes.

Catherine said: “It is important to remember that dying without a will could leave your affairs in limbo for many months, adding to the cost and worry for your family.
“In the same way, failing to leave instructions about your funeral wishes could mean your family spend far more than they need to on a style of funeral you wouldn’t have wanted.”

A recent YouGov survey conducted on behalf of Pure Cremation revealed more than two-thirds of us (67 per cent) thought it was important our final wishes were carried out after our deaths, while 70 per cent of us wanted their loved ones’ final wishes carried out upon their deaths.

Sadly, the lack of guidance puts funeral arrangements for loved ones among the top ten causes for family conflict in the event of a death – ahead of custody of dependents and family relocations.

“Making a will protects your family and ensures your wishes are respected in terms of custody arrangements for children as well as the distribution of estates and funds; it only takes a few more minutes to record your funeral wishes in a separate document, ideally via a pre-paid plan, and so ensure that you really have done everything you can to shield your family from difficult decisions. “More people are opting for a direct cremation pre-paid plan, and the reasons are many and varied, as shown by our survey. Cost is certainly a factor – well over half our respondents (57 per cent) said the simple, low-cost pricing structure was an attraction, while 42 per cent said they wanted protection against rising funeral costs.

“But this is not the whole story – almost two-thirds of people (63 per cent) said they had purposefully chosen a direct cremation above a traditional funeral. Our survey figures have shown that more than a quarter (27 per cent) chose a direct cremation because they didn’t want a fuss, 16 per cent said they were of no religious denomination, while 14 per cent admitted to not liking funerals.

“Seventy-six per cent wanted to save their family from having to organise a funeral while more than half – 57 per cent – wanted their family and friends to celebrate their lives rather than mourn their loss. There’s no doubt that putting our affairs in order results in a huge weight off your shoulders right now, as well as caring for our loved ones even after we’ve gone.”

Pure Cremation was established by experienced funeral director Bryan Powell and his wife Catherine and was born out of a growing number of requests from customers for a direct cremation service.

The company predicts it will serve more than 1,200 families this year as it continues to meet the needs of a growing number of people opting for a respectful direct cremation arranged without any fuss and leaving their family free to say farewell how, where and when is right for them.

As the UK’s only dedicated direct cremation provider, the Pure Cremation team is able to deliver a level of personal service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For an independent review of direct cremation funeral plans, click the link.