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Changes to services at Cheltenham cemetery and crematorium in response to latest government advice

New funeral arrangements to begin Monday 6 July

From Monday, 6 July, in light of changes to government guidance on the lockdown, the council is revising current funeral arrangements to accommodate up to 30 mourners, whilst continuing to work with funeral directors to minimise Covid-19 risks and provide dignified and safe funerals.

The new arrangements include a range of measures to reduce the risk of viral transmission, but these will be kept under review and may be subject to change at short notice, having regard to both local circumstances and national guidance regarding the lockdown. The changes have been communicated to all local funeral directors.

What are the new arrangements?

  • A maximum of 30 mourners will be allowed into both the Oak and Willow chapels for a 35 minute service and will be spaced apart to comply with social distancing guidelines.
  • Organ playing will be allowed and antibacterial wipes will be provided both at the organ and at the lectern.
  • Music and hymns will be allowed and the words will be projected onto the Chapel screens; no paper copies will be provided, as this will help to limit the potential for virus transmission.
  • The details of services and how they are conducted will be at the discretion of the Funeral Director.
  • The chapels will be cleaned after each service.
  • Items cannot be placed on the coffin or on the catafalque. Any flowers on the coffins will be removed at the end of the service and placed in the reflection garden for viewing and later collection.
  • The vestry and waiting room will not be open. Mourners will be directed by the funeral director.
  • The toilets in both the reflection gardens will be open for people to use.
  • The Willow Chapel will be operational for direct services at selected times. Only the funeral director can be in attendance and webcasting will not be available for these services.
  • Grounds maintenance staff will be on site to start to address some of the issues due to staffing constraints and Covid-19 pandemic. We remind people visiting to continue to respect social distancing and not to approach staff.

Cllr Chris Coleman, cabinet member for clean and green, said: ‘’Due to the on-going Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic and in line with government restrictions, it is still considered appropriate to limit the number of people in any public space and ensure necessary social distancing. 

‘’We understand how difficult these restrictions are for the family and friends of the deceased. Our risk assessments are under regular review and we take a number of factors into account, including the availability of staff, the ability to safely maintain and enforce the two-metre social distancing requirements, compassion for the bereaved and the impact increased attendance is likely to have on the continued health, safety and welfare of all those attending, managing and officiating at funerals.

“Understandably, given this change in the service offer, some families may wish to change their booked arrangement and as far as is possible, we will work with families and funeral directors to accommodate their wishes, whilst appreciating that this may not be practical, or possible for everyone.

“We thank the public for their patience and support as we adapt and review our services on an on-going basis.’’

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