Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Ashes of 405 people remain unclaimed at Southampton funeral directors

Ashes at B. Matthews
Image caption The oldest ashes date back to 1975

The cremated remains of 405 people have been left uncollected at a Southampton funeral director.

B Matthews said some of the ashes had been in its care for more than 30 years - the oldest dating back to 1975.

Funeral director Victoria Nethercott said the firm had now launched an appeal after "rigorously" searching for family members.

The National Association of Funeral Directors recommends its members store ashes for a minimum of five years.

Ms Nethercott said: "After a funeral, the ashes are kept at one of our branches until family members are ready to collect them.

"However, we understand that there are many reasons why families may choose to leave the ashes in our care.

"For some, collecting them is too painful, in some cases it can be down to a breakdown in family communications on who will collect the remains, while others simply need more time to decide what to do with them."

She added: "We feel is it our responsibility to now try and reunite these families with the cremated remains of their loved ones as we believe it's only right that every individual is given the opportunity of a peaceful final resting place."

Dominic Maguire, spokesperson for National Association of Funeral Directors, said many firms had "a large depository of ashes", some of them dating back to the 1940s.

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