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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. 

In consideration of recent Government advice and recommendations issued by the Death Management Advisory Group on the easing of restrictions in place, the following changes are to take place: 

Attendance at Funeral Services

The Government have announced that from 04 July, a ‘1-metre plus rule’ will be introduced in England where it is not possible to stay 2-metres apart. Advice on the number of mourners permitted to attend funerals confirms that “attendance is to be as low as possible to ensure a safe distance of at least 2 metres can be maintained between individuals.”. This advice has not changed following the review of the social distancing rule. 

Using a revised risk-based approach in view of existing guidance, no more than 20 people are to be in attendance at each service held in the Poole Crematorium Chapel and Bournemouth Crematorium East Chapel. Due to its smaller size, for services held within Bournemouth Crematorium West Chapel no more than 10 people to be in attendance.

This will ensure a safe distance of at least 2 metres (6ft) to be maintained between individuals in attendance. Alongside the Funeral Director, Officiant and Chapel Attendant, only the following should attend services; members of the deceased’s household, close family members. If the above are unable to attend, then close friends should attend. 

Mourners are also reminded that they should follow the advice on social distancing when travelling to and from the funeral gathering and immediately following services after exit from the chapels. 

Entering the Chapels

Friends and family members are not permitted to bear the coffin into the chapel. Only funeral director staff are permitted to do this.

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.

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

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. 

With effect from Tuesday 30 June, extended service times at Bournemouth Crematorium will be made available for booking.

Live Streaming of Services 

From Tuesday 30 June, Bournemouth Crematorium will be able to offer live streaming, watch again and visual tribute services.

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.

Book of Remembrance

The Book of Remembrance Room at Bournemouth Crematorium and Poole Crematorium remains closed.

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. 

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.

In Depth

  • At Poole Crematorium, the coffin is to be taken into the chapel with the bearers exiting the chapel prior to the mourners being ushered into the chapel. Due to the two chapel layout design at Bournemouth Crematorium and the shared egress route, the coffin is to be conveyed into the chapel followed directly by the mourners.
  • Service slot times will continue to be offered as per the current daily schedule however in order to assist the Chapel Team in cleansing the chapel before and after each service, we would ask that services in chapels are limited to:
    • Bournemouth – 20 minutes (for 30-minute slot time)
    • Bournemouth  – 45 minutes (for 60-minute slot times)
    • Poole – 20 minutes (for 30-minute slot times)
    • Poole – 45 minutes (for 60-minute slot times)
  • The waiting rooms at each crematorium will be closed to the public, officiants and funeral directors. Access to the toilets at Bournemouth Crematorium will be unhindered by this closure. Access to the toilets at Poole will be provided via the chapel waiting room – doors will be unlocked but will be closed with a sign on the doors asking mourners to remain outside. Doors to be opened at Poole once the funeral director is ready to commence ushering mourners into the chapel via the waiting room.
  • Visual and musical tributes will continue wherever practicably possible.
  • Live organ music requests will not be accommodated. Families are to be encouraged to book their musical requirements via the existing media services provided at each crematorium.
  • The floral tribute court at Poole Crematorium is to be closed with floral tributes to be displayed on the grass embankment directly opposite the cloisters exit. Floral tributes will remain on display prior to removal as per the standard protocol at each crematorium.
  • All witness charging of the coffin will be suspended. The only exception to this will be for religious reasons with a limitation set to two witnesses.
  • All hymn books and funeral service books to be removed from the seated rows and placed at the rear of the chapel. Families are to be encouraged to refer to their Order or Service (if in place) and to take this with them following the service. Books can be used at the funeral director’s discretion.

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