Funeral services during the coronavirus outbreak

Funeral standards

It is recognised that in these hugely challenging times it may not be possible to conduct funerals and cremations in the usual way. This situation impacts on residents of Hammersmith & Fulham of all and no faith and belief.

The standards below offer a set of criteria to apply in all circumstances wherever public safety and operational capacity allow. All those involved in the funeral process are kindly asked to take note of them.

Funerals should remain as normal as possible for as long as possible in line with social distancing regulations. When this cannot be sustained the following minimum standards should be maintained:

  1. The family’s choice of burial or cremation for their loved one should be respected, in line with the requirements and conditions set out in the Coronavirus Act 2020.
  2. A celebrant (minister) of the family’s choice of faith/belief should always be present at the funeral even if there is no congregation at all, recognising that this may not be the individual of their choice.
  3. As far as possible, name and contact details for the family should be given to the celebrant by the funeral director a minimum of one day before the funeral to allow contact with the family.
  4. Attendance at funerals should be limited to those from within the household or close family of the loved one – their partner, children, parents and siblings. As per Government advice, anyone who has had contact with your loved one will need to self-isolate for 14 days from their last time of contact. However Shielded people and those self-isolating can attend funerals as long as people follow the social distancing guidance. Anyone who is showing signs of COVID-19 should not attend.
  5. Ceremonial words should be said in line with the family’s choice but these may be truncated from usual funeral rites.
  6. An offer to facilitate livestream via social media should be made. However it is recognised that not all crematoria /cemeteries have adequate WiFi/signal to achieve this. Where this is known to be the case (and where it is not), the family may prefer the funeral to be filmed so that it can be shared afterwards.
  7. Faith and belief communities should, within their understanding of what is possible, offer memorial services and subsequent commemorations to bereaved families.
  8. Bereavement support should be offered. This COVID-19 toolkit from Thrive LDN may be helpful in this regard.
  9. Organisations which charge fees (funeral directors, celebrants, crematoria, cemetries etc) are asked to work together to achieve consistency in what they charge in these circumstances.

If you are arranging a funeral with a funeral director they will help you to plan the service based on these standards and answer any questions you might have.

These measures are subject to further revision as government guidance changes.

We are not currently taking bookings for burial of cremated remains.

Financial help with funerals

Limited help is available in some cases where the family does not have the money to hold a funeral.

Visit GOV.UK for help with funeral costs.

Paperwork

The interment form is available to download from our website. This form is normally completed by the funeral director and now allows for a digital signature to be added by the person requesting the burial if they are unable to sign in person.

Notice of interment form (word 59KB)

We are accepting email copies of the green registrars certificate or the coroners certificate, however these must be forwarded to the cemeteries email, showing that this has been sent from the registrar or coroner. 

Forms and other paperwork can be hand-delivered to the post box on the office door at North Sheen Cemetery. Or you can send the forms via email to cemeteries@lbhf.gov.uk. The originals (if available) should be brought on the day of the burial.

Cemeteries office 

Our offices are no longer open for face to face appointments. If funeral directors wish to visit the office, we will expect social distancing guidelines to be observed. We are contactable on 020 8878 1934 or cemeteries@lbhf.gov.uk .

If you wish to choose a section of the cemetery for burial please see our cemetery maps.

We are working hard to keep everything running smoothly and we have increased our burial capacity. However we need to prioritise urgent work accordingly and kindly ask that if your query is non urgent please contact us at a later date.

Visiting the cemetery 

We would ask that families respect the government guidelines with regards to non-essential travel, this includes refraining from travelling to visit a grave at this time. 

Toilet facilities are open to the public.

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