Funeral poverty: 'No frills' cremation offered in Wrexham

Coffin Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption "Funeral poverty" is fuelling a demand for low-cost cremations, the council said

A "no-frills" style of funeral has been made available in Wrexham.

Rock star David Bowie, who died in 2016, is among those reported to have opted for a direct cremation, with no funeral service or mourners.

Councillor David A Bithell, responsible for environmental services, said: "The cost of funerals can be a difficult expense for some families to meet."

He said the unpublicised charge would be less than the council's standard cremation fee - listed online as £713.

A growing number of families are said to be facing what is known as "funeral poverty", with the number of so-called pauper's funerals in Wales reaching a five-year high in 2018.

Image copyright Wrexham County Borough Council
Image caption The facility is available at Pentrebychan Crematorium

According to the Money Advice Service, the average cost of a funeral in the UK currently stands at £3,757.

Councillor Bithell said Wrexham was responding to public demand with direct cremations at Pentrebychan Crematorium, near Rhostyllen.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service cost was not the only reason.

"In recent years there have also been changes in the way people commemorate the deceased, as not every family or relatives of the deceased wants a service with a chapel or church committal," he said.

"As with any cremation, the deceased is treated with the utmost care and respect, and would be received in the normal manner through the front doors of the chapel or through the chapel of rest if the funeral director or family request this."

Pentrebychan Crematorium has introduced three time slots for direct cremations at 08:45 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The pilot scheme will be reviewed after an initial period of three months to determine the level of ongoing demand.

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