What Shall We Do With the Ashes?

What Shall We Do With the Ashes?

March 1, 2023

With around 75% of funerals in the UK involving cremation, it can often be difficult to know what to do with ashes following the service. This is often because families don’t always know what to do with ashes immediately after saying goodbye to a loved one.

Understandably, some people are too distressed to think about it and there’s a risk that ashes end up in a kind of limbo situation. Rest assured that as your funeral director, we will always work with you to find the right solution.

At R. Locke & Son we can securely care for the ashes of your loved one for 12 months whilst you take the time to decide what is right for you and your family. It may be that you need a little bit of time to consider the most fitting resting place for the cremated remains. But there are a variety of options, which we’ve listed below in an effort to help guide your thinking (naturally, your and the deceased’s faith may have a bearing on how ashes are disposed of):

  • Interment.
    This tends to involve burying the ashes in a cemetery, churchyard or natural burial ground grave plot. This can involve a short service for the family to attend if wished. If you choose a churchyard or cemetery for the interment, it may be possible to lay a stone tablet as a permanent memorial for your loved one.
  • Scattering in a garden of remembrance.
    Many crematoria have a garden of remembrance for the scattering of ashes. This can be carried out on your behalf by ourselves or the crematoria staff, or it’s usually possible to do the physical scattering yourself as part of a small ceremony with the crematoria staff.
  • Scattering in a place which has special meaning to the deceased person.
    This is one of the most popular ways to dispose of ashes, as it’s rich in meaning and it can be comforting to know your loved one is somewhere that meant a lot to them. However, it’s essential to check the landowner’s permission policy on ashes scattering before going ahead. Some sites require special permission. As your funeral director, we are happy to look into this on your behalf.
  • Ashes into jewellery.
    A lovely way to keep part of your loved one close at all times is to have a small portion of their ashes incorporated into a piece of jewellery, which in turn can become a family heirloom, passed down through the generations. We work with partners which specialise in memorial jewellery and can advise if this option is of interest. Other mementos are also available such as wooden hearts or candle holders.
  • Dispersal at sea.
    This has always been a popular option for individuals who have had a connection to the sea whether through service or having lived in a coastal location. Depending on where you live special arrangements may need to be made through the local authority or naval services.
  • Fireworks.
    A relatively new form of disposal but becoming increasingly popular is to create a custom firework to facilitate a spectacular tribute to your loved one.
  • Under a memorial tree.
    If your loved one cared about nature, what better tribute than to bury their ashes under a newly planted tree in the garden?

Sometimes families decide to share the ashes into portions. It maybe that the main portion of ashes in interred to provide a permanent place to visit, but a small portion may be taken for scattering or used in memento

Some dos and don’ts for scattering ashes:

  • Scattering ashes can be one of the most comforting rituals in anyone’s grief journey. If you can establish your loved one’s final wishes before their death, then knowing their ashes have been safely delivered to their final resting place is sure to bring peace of mind.
  • But while it’s important to honour the deceased’s final wishes, it’s also essential to avoid any adverse impacts of scattering ashes in an inappropriate place.
  • The Environment Agency advises against scattering ashes within 1 km upstream of any areas where water is abstracted for drinking. It is also recommended that ashes aren’t scattered near marinas and that no other items are placed in the water.
  • Additionally, if you’re planning to take the ashes to another part of the world for scattering, we strongly recommend carrying them in hand luggage rather than checked baggage. The last thing you want is for your ashes to go missing with a lost suitcase. Generally, additional proof and identification of the ashes is required and R. Locke & Son are able to arrange this for you.

In summary, there are lots of options for the dignified disposal of your loved one’s ashes. We are always happy to assist with any arrangements as part of our service.