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The cremation service: what to expect

This page guides you through your options and what you can expect, if you choose a cremation after someone dies. Select a topic below to learn more.

Facilities and services available at Haycombe

We provide bereavement services to people of all faiths and beliefs (or none), and our facilities are designed to be accessible to everyone.

There are two chapels at Haycombe: the Top Chapel, which is also used for burial services, and the Crematorium Chapel. Both offer the following facilities:

  • Disabled access
  • Hearing loop systems
  • A wheelchair, available on request
  • Large print editions of hymn books and service books
  • Public toilets, including facilities adapted for people with disabilities
  • Obitus media system that can provide the music of your choice, visual tributes, and live and recorded webcasting
  • Organ (but you or your funeral director will need to organise the services of an organist)
  • Any crosses in the buildings can be removed, if they are not appropriate for your faith or service

The Crematorium Chapel seats 75 people, but the Top Chapel seats 140, with much more standing room. Use of the Top Chapel is available for a half hour service, in addition to the crematorium slot.

We understand that it may be easier to plan a funeral if you have seen the venue beforehand, and we welcome advance visits to our facilities. Please ring to find out when it will be convenient to come. In addition, anyone wishing to view the crematorium is welcome - please ask at the main office so we can make an appointment for you. Crematorium staff hold an annual open day, when they can talk you through the whole process, at a time that the cremators are not working. We hope that you will see that we carry out every cremation with great care, in an open, honest and dignified way.

Typical service slots are allocated thirty minutes at the Crematorium Chapel, with two shorter twenty minute sessions at the start of each day. As we are taking care of a large number of people each day, we kindly request that your funeral party arrives and leaves promptly. If you feel you would like more time than these standard slots allow, you have the option of requesting an additional half hour at the Top Chapel, or you can book a double time slot at the Crematorium.  

Please view our Fees for services at Haycombe Cemetery, or talk to a member of our team, to explore your funeral service options. 

Before the funeral

Generally the next of kin (or an executor named in the will of the person who has died) makes decisions about what kind of funeral there will be. You can organise this yourself if you wish, or ask a funeral director to do it for you. They can make most of the arrangements, but it will be necessary to sign some papers before the funeral:

  • The certificate for Burial or Cremation (Form 9), which you will receive when you register the death.
  • The Application for a Cremation (Form 1), This is an official legal document which allows a cremation to go ahead. You must complete the form yourself therefore it's important to check your answers carefully. On this form you will also be able to give us your instructions regarding the disposal of cremated remains. You can change your mind after signing this form, but you'll need to contact us in writing if you do.
  • The Preliminary Application Form gives us your instructions for the type of service you would like and contains important information on environmental issues around cremation.
  • Your funeral director can organise a medical certificate, signed by a doctor, to state that there are no medical implants which would make it unsafe for a cremation to go ahead.

The service

The Crematorium Chapel offers up to a 30-minute service interval, giving time for readings, eulogies and around two songs or pieces of music. You do not have to have a traditional or religious service, or even a service at all. If you wish to do something different, but do not have definite ideas of your own, our team can give you advice or information on Humanist or civil service options.

A Crematorium Attendant will be present to help in any way they can on the day. They will guide mourners into and out of the chapel at the right time, and guide those bringing the coffin into the chapel. Normally, the coffin is brought in first, and will be resting on a stand during the service. The committal, where the coffin is moved from the chapel to the crematorium, can take place at any time during the service, although it is normally around halfway through. Usually, the curtains are drawn at the committal, but they can be left open if you prefer.

Following the service, friends and family leave the chapel, and may view the floral tributes on their way out through the courtyard. We would kindly ask you and your mourners not to linger in or around the external courtyard, as you are likely to disturb any following service.

Please see our page on Fees for services at Haycombe Cemetery, for full details on the funeral service options available.

The cremation

Cremations generally happen later on the day of the funeral service. In accordance with the Code of Cremation Practice, we carry them out as soon as possible. Where there are operational or environmental reasons for a short delay, we will hold the coffin in secure accommodation overnight.

Most cremations take approximately one and a half hours. If you wish, two family members (or more, by special request) may witness the cremation being carried out. If you wish to witness the cremation let your funeral director know before the day of the funeral, and they will make those arrangements for you.

All cremations happen individually, and our staff are rigorously trained to ensure that your loved one's cremation is carried out with dignity, respect, and sensitivity to any religious needs or customs. We use well established systems which mean that specially prepared identification and any individual instructions accompany their remains at every stage of the process, until their ashes are returned to you. We offer a wide range of urns, caskets and keepsakes for your loved one's ashes. Visit our memorial options pages for more information.

After the funeral

We regret that we can only keep floral tributes at the crematorium for 48 hours following a funeral. At the end of each day, the tributes are removed from the courtyard to the fenced area opposite, next to the car park.

Please arrange with your funeral director, if you would like the cards removed for you to keep, or placed onto a grave or another area of the cemetery.

There are a wide variety of possibilities, if you wish to bury or scatter your loved one's ashes at Haycombe. You may also want to explore the tributes and memorials which are available at the cemetery, or view our information on urns, cremation jewellery and keepsakes, if you wish to keep your loved one's ashes with you after cremation.

Bereavement services and sustainability

After cremation, the ashes will be kept in a bio-degradable paper bag inside a clearly labelled bio-degradable box, for collection by you or your funeral director, if required.

We subscribe to a 'not for profit' recycling scheme for any metals recovered from the cremation process, such as surgical implants. Details are printed on the back of the preliminary application form you complete and sign before cremation goes ahead. You can choose to keep these metals, but if you do, you must take them away, and we regret that it will not be possible to return them later.

When ordering floral tributes, please consider asking your florist to use recyclable materials. These are widely available, and can be shredded and composted, minimising environmental impact.