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Independent Funeral Directors
Serving Dorset for over 100 years


The BCP Council recognises the needs of formal and informal rituals when the bereaved mourn the loss of a loved one. They fully appreciate that current restrictions are extremely tough on the bereaved families and friends during this global emergency crisis and the personal sacrifices being made in order to comply with current guidance. However, they are in place to protect as many lives as possible and it remains important that they continue to be adhered to. 

There have been a number of updated regulations and guidance issued in the last week regarding the management of funerals and bereavement sites during the pandemic. In view of this latest advice BCP Council wish to provide the following reminder and update: 

Attendance at Funeral Services

Revised guidance issued on 9 July by Public Health England on the number of mourners permitted to attend funerals confirms that attendance is to be managed as safely as possible to ensure a safe distance of at least 2 metres can be maintained between individuals, household groups and support bubbles. The advice has not changed regarding the safe distance of 2 metres. This is to confirm that the restrictions in place within Bournemouth East and Poole Chapel will remain at 20 people and 10 people within Bournemouth West Chapel + funeral director + celebrant + chapel attendant.

At Poole, no more than 10 people can remain outside the chapel doors once the 20 are seated inside. Those outside are to maintain a safe distance at all times. The 10 are permitted to enter the chapel, to pay their respects to the deceased on passing once the service has ended and the 20 seated have vacated to the outside area on exit from the Cloisters. 

At Bournemouth, due to the shared egress route used by both chapels there are to be no mourners permitted to stand outside the chapel doors which will remain closed during services. 

Public gatherings of more than 30 people outside the Chapels and in any outside area of the site is not permitted. 

Entering the Chapels

We would ask that friends and family members are discouraged from bearing the coffin into the chapel. We appreciate the significance of this ritual to families, so if families are insisting on bearing the coffin, then this will need to be communicated to the crematorium 2 working days prior to the service taking place. This will be considered on a case by case basis with each bearer as a minimum required to wear surgical facemasks and latex gloves which are to be safely disposed of by the funeral director on the day. 

The coffin is to be placed into the chapel before the mourners enter. Mourners are not permitted to enter the chapel before the coffin and are not permitted to follow the coffin into the chapel at Poole.

At Bournemouth, due to the shared egress route for both Chapels, mourners will be invited to follow the coffin into the Chapel at a safe distance.

Face Coverings 

From Monday 10 August, all funeral professionals (including celebrants), mourners and visitors attending services or entering any enclosed space onsite will be required to wear a secure face covering. This includes chapels located at Bournemouth and Poole Crematorium, Bournemouth cemetery chapels, Christchurch cemetery chapel, Poole cemetery chapels, Book of Remembrance Rooms and bereavement support offices. 

Individuals do not need to wear a face covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to): 

  • young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons) 
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability 
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress 
  • if travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate 
  • in order to take medication

Mourners and other visitors to the site are asked to supply their own face coverings, however, a mask will be offered to anyone arriving onsite and entering a building not wearing a face covering.

Celebrants will be permitted to lower or remove their face covering once stood at the lectern, located a clear 2 metres plus from the seated congregation. This will allow clear, unmuffled speaking during the service. Once finished, the celebrant will be required to put in place their face covering before moving away from the lectern. 

Waiting Room 

The Waiting Room at both Bournemouth and Poole Crematorium remain closed to mourners and other visitors. Access is only permitted for use of the toilet facilities or access to the Book of Remembrance Room in Bournemouth. The hot drinks machine will not be operated, with the cold water dispenser available for use. 

Hand Sanitising

Hand sanitiser dispensers are provided on site at Bournemouth and Poole Crematorium – at the entrance to and exit from the chapels. Hand washing facilities are provided within the toilet areas located inside the waiting room.

Service Times 

Standard service times in all three crematorium chapels remain unchanged. 

Live Streaming of Services 

Both Poole & Bournemouth Crematorium offer live streaming, watch again and visual tribute services. Douch Family Funeral Directors are subsidising Live Streaming at Poole Crematorium by £20 to all their clients.

Witness Scatters and Interments of Cremated Remains

Bookings for witness scatters and interments can be booked at both Bournemouth Crematorium and Poole Crematorium in the normal way. Published fees for this service will be applied.

No more than 5 people to be in attendance at each witness service held to reduce risk of transmission to staff members conducting the services and in view of the terrain of open space to safely accommodate the 2-metre distance.

Ceremonial Guard of Honour 

From time to time requests are made to hold a ceremonial guard of honour for the deceased. This is to be discouraged in view of tendencies to gather on site following the arrival of the funeral cortege. Requests for formal ceremonial guard of honour will need to be made directly with the Bournemouth or Poole office 2 working days prior to the date of service. Informal guards of honour will not be permitted.

From Monday 20th July the following measures will be introduced: 

NHS Test and Trace Programme 

The Department for Health and Social Care issued guidance on 03 July regarding business support with the NHS Test and Trace Programme. As a business providing onsite facilities to members of the public we are required to collect contact details of individuals or one member of a household/support bubble group entering and leaving any building located within any of the bereavement sites operated across the BCP conurbation, or of those who come interact with members of the bereavement team. Any person or group visiting the Book of Remembrance, attending witness scatters or interments, or simply visit the site to make any enquiry will be asked to complete a Contact and Details Form. This form will be kept in accordance with Data Protection Regulations for up to 21 days, after which the information will be securely destroyed. We are still awaiting guidance from our associate bodies regarding how the Test and Trace Programme will apply to funerals. For the time-being we will assume that the Applicant for Cremation or Burial will be the lead contact for funeral bookings made, and the funeral director will be the lead contact in terms of funeral staff who attend the site during the funeral. The information stored will only be shared with NHS Contact Tracers when asked for. 

Singing in Chapel 

Hymns requested as part of a service are not to be accompanied by live singing within the Chapels. Instead, choral backed versions of the hymns selected by families are to be ordered via Obitus. No choir or live singing of any kind will be permitted in the Chapel during services. 

Playing of Brass or Woodwind Instruments 

Any brass or woodwind instrument such as a trumpet, clarinet or bugle will not be allowed to play within the confines of the chapel. Playing of such instruments will only be permitted outside the Chapel or in the during a service within a safe distance of 5 metres or more from the seated congregation. The playing of bag pipes will only be permitted in the outside areas. Any requests for the playing of brass or woodwind instruments will need to be directed to the Bournemouth and Poole office 2 days prior to the date of the service taking place. 

Book of Remembrance

The Book of Remembrance Room at Bournemouth Crematorium will open between the hours of 9 am and 4pm Monday to Sunday. 

The Book of Remembrance Room located within the conservatory at Poole Crematorium will be open between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm Monday to Friday only. 

There will be restrictions limiting attendance within the confined space to no more than 2 per viewing with appropriate hand sanitiser dispensers made available for use on entrance and exit. Appropriate notices will be in place. 

Burial Attendance

No more than 20 people are to be in attendance at each burial service held in the cemeteries located at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. 

Where services are held within any of the cemetery chapels, the maximum number to attend within the chapel will remain at 10 to ensure social distancing can be maintained in the space available. 

The same safety guidelines and principles to be followed as for attendance at cremation services above.

Hand Sanitising at Cemeteries

There are no hand washing or sanitising facilities available within the cemeteries. Visitors are asked to bring their own personal hand sanitisers and take all necessary precautions when visiting the cemeteries. 

Access to Cemeteries 

All cemeteries within BCP Council are open to members of the public for visiting graves. Vehicular access points together with pedestrian gates will be opened at the applicable published times. 

Social distancing measures to be complied with at all times including when travelling to and from the cemetery. 

Access for memorial stonemasons is permitted to carry out memorial stone installation, fixing and cleaning with full compliance of their relevant association COVID-19 working safety protocols. Memorial permits to be applied for in the normal way by post or by email.

Bereavement Support Offices 

The Bereavement support office at Poole Crematorium will be re-open to members of the public with safety measures in place. No more than 2 people will be permitted access to the office at any one time. Hand sanitiser dispensers will be in place and visitors asked to use on entrance and exit. A glass screen is in place providing additional protection for visitors and staff alike. The office will be open for access from 9 am until 5pm Monday to Friday. 

The Bereavement Support Office at Bournemouth Crematorium will remain closed to public access for the time-being while preparations are put in place for additional protection screens to be installed. It is hoped that the office will re-open to members of the public from Monday 3rd August. Further notification will be confirmed nearer the time. 

Access to Poole’s Memorial Grounds 

Access to the memorial grounds at Poole Crematorium is permitted for those not attending funerals wishing to visit a memorial or interment/scatter plot located within the woodland glades, lawn area or the garden of remembrance.

For further updates on restrictions to funeral arrangements during Covid-19, follow this link