At West Berkshire Crematorium we are very proud of our facilities and the high standards of care that we provide for the bereaved.
On the day of a funeral or when visiting a loved ones resting place, families and visitors will only ever see our grounds and gardens, or the chapel or cemetery.
This dedication to providing the highest standards of care is further demonstrated behind the scenes at the crematorium. These are the areas that are not normally accessed by the general public.
Once the curtains close and everyone leaves the chapel the coffin is carefully transferred to the crematory where the name plate is checked again. The deceased details are provided on a name card and this card will follow the deceased throughout the entire process. Once all checks are recorded the coffin is charged into the cremator and the cremation process commences.
At the end of the cremation process the remains are collected and cooled. The final stage is the reduction of the remains to a fine ash that is suitable for scattering. The ashes are placed into an urn or casket where the name card will be attached for identification.
West Berkshire Crematorium has an open door policy whereby members of the public may by appointment view the facilities behind the scenes during an operating day. This policy will help dispel any myths and answer any questions. On seeing the cremation process the viewer can be reassured that all cremations take place individually, coffins are cremated with the deceased and that identity is maintained throughout the process so that a family can be sure that they receive the correct remains. We also accommodate Hindu and Sikh funeral rites whereby the charging of the coffin into the cremator may be witnessed.
For further details about the cremation process please refer to the ‘Code of Cremation Practice’ which West Berkshire Crematorium adopts in full.
For a few images from "Behind The Scenes" Click here for our Gallery...
Westerleigh Group has a policy of carrying out a cremation within 24 hours of the funeral service. This means that the cremated remains (ashes) will usually be available by lunchtime the following day. When the cremations forms are completed with your Funeral Director, you will be asked if you have made a decision on the disposal of the cremated remains. At this point it is important to remember that there is no rush to make a decision. It is always best to wait if you are not absolutely sure as once the ashes have been scattered or interred that decision cannot be reversed.
Your choices for the ashes are usually as follows:
- Remove from the crematorium by the Funeral Director or the applicant for cremation (the person who completed and signed the cremations forms) for disposal elsewhere.
- Scatter in the designated part of the garden at the crematorium. This is usually carried out 2 months after the funeral service, unless we are advised to scatter sooner. We can either carry out the scattering for you or the scattering can be witnessed by members of the family. One of our staff will carry out the scattering and a prayer or poem can be said for you. No memorials or markers can be placed with the ashes when they are scattered. If you prefer to have the area marked in some way, then you would need to inter the remains and choose from our choice of memorials.
- Inter at a memorial at the crematorium (see separate section on memorial choices)
- Retain at the crematorium. This is the preferred choice if you haven’t yet made a decision. The crematorium will look after the ashes for up to 6 months, until you are ready to make your choice. During this time it is advisable to pop along to the crematorium to look around the grounds or just chat to one of our members of staff who can explain all the options.
The choice of the final resting place for a loved-ones remains can be very worrying and confusing. We would like to reassure you that there is no rush to make a decision and we are always here to help wherever we can.
Remember we offer a beautiful range of unique jewellery – just a spoonful of the ashes is needed to create a piece of jewellery or a crystal keepsake – and the rest of the ashes can be buried or scattered elsewhere.
Following a cremation, a variable amount of metals will be retrieved from the cremator. This is usually metal left from the manufacture of the coffin – nails, screws and staples etc. – but may also contain metal used in orthopaedic implants such as hip and knee replacements. Traditionally these metals would have been buried in the grounds of the crematorium, but in recent years the guidelines were changed to allow the metals to be recycled. This not only provides a far greater benefit to the environment but also allows us the opportuntiy to raise money for local charities. Now, the majority of all UK crematoria are currently recycling metals.
The Westerleigh Group has adopted a metal recycling scheme which takes the metal and, after deducting costs involved in the recycling process, such as transport, sorting and smelting, donates the surplus to local bereavement related charities. In the 5 years Westerleigh have been involved in metal recycling we have donated approximately £100’000 to UK charities.
Precious metal such as gold and silver jewellery that has been left on the deceased will melt and disperse during the cremation process. We would strongly advise that jewellery is not left on the deceased but is retained by the relatives.
Our ‘Application for Cremation’ form will advise families that we will be recycling the metal retrieved following their loved ones cremation and they have the option to opt-out of the scheme if they wish. They will be responsible for collecting the metals from the crematorium. However, the vast majority of families choose to join this worthwhile and beneficial scheme.
We donate this money once a year and we put details of the recipients on our website and the local press will usually publish the story to enable families to learn about the good causes that have benefitted from the recycling scheme.
We will endeavour to maintain a consistently high standard of grounds maintenance, through the year. The grass in each crematoria will be cut every 2-3 weeks (except in extraordinary weather conditions) as a minimum throughout the growing season. Bins to be emptied daily in those sections visited frequently. All major roads and paved areas to be swept/blown daily. Toilets will be inspected regularly and cleaned daily. All groundsmen and women to wear identifying clothes.