Updated 19/05/2020 16:15

Further to the announcement by the Government, only immediate family can attend a funeral.  The Crematorium is only open to those attending funerals Monday- Saturday.

The Crematorium Gardens will be open to visitors on Sunday 24th May 2020 and 31st May 2020 from 10.00am and will close at 4.00pm.  (If all goes well we will continue to open on Sundays)  The Remembrance Rooms, waiting rooms, toilets and chapel will be closed.  The gardens were closed as we have had problems with people using the Crematorium grounds for leisure activities.. We have employed stewards to ensure social distancing is and resprectful behaviour is observed .  The advice from the government is that the COVID virus can last on plastic and metal for up to 72 hours, therefore there will be no vases on site.  Please do not leave personal items such as flower pots, balloons etc.  We hope that you find the gardens peaceful and are able to have quiet reflection and remember your loved one.  We are trying with the information we have, to keep you, and our staff as safe as possible.

To ensure people who have died in these difficult times can be cremated without any delay, Mortlake Crematorium has had to change the way funerals are taking place.

This is because they want to:

  • Increase the number of cremations we can do in a day; to avoid people who have died from being held longer than is necessary; and to free mortuary space within the NHS and local community
  • Ensure those attending the crematorium and its staff are as safe as possible
  • Comply with government and legislative requirements

The main change is the number of people who can attend a funeral.

Mortlake Crematorium are following the Government’s Guidance and allowing immediate family only (no more than 10 people).

·     Only 10 mourners can attend so that a safe distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) can be maintained between individuals

·        only the following should attend:

·        members of the person’s household

·        close family members

·        if the deceased has neither household or family members in attendance, then it is possible for                 friends to attend

This is to keep people safe by ensuring social distancing can take place in the Crematorium, especially the chapel. The reason that some crematoria have allowed different numbers is because the size of chapels differ, or they had experienced people not following the request of immediate family only, ensuring social distancing etc.

The funeral service you can expect is approximately 20 minutes.  This may be shorter than usual and it is to ensure more services can take place.  It also gives time for Crematorium staff to clean the chapel in between each service.

Funeral Services are still individual and can be personalised in the following way:

  • Your choice of music for entering and leaving the chapel, your choice of hymn or piece of music in the service & at committal
  • Readings, poems and prayers
  • Eulogy, personal tributes

Many families have said how beautiful the service has been, as the immediate family have had intimate, private time with their loved one.  What has been so important to them is that could attend.

Many people like to further personalise services, however at the present time we are asking that you do not (this list is not exhaustive but gives some examples):

  • Carry the coffin or touch the coffin
  • Release doves or balloons
  • Bring personal items such as candles and photos
  • Play musical instruments and have choirs, singers, bands
  • Place items on the coffins such as messages, individual flowers (a tribute on the coffin, a simple spray which can remain and be cremated with the coffin is ideal – plastic bases and oasis cannot be cremated)
  • Collect money donations at the Crematorium

Most of these are to avoid unnecessary contact as the virus could be passed on.

We are a small team with your help and the help of people coming to crematorium you could help us to keep delivering this essential service.

The family member arranging a funeral can order a webcast of the service via their funeral director, (at Mortlake Crematorium there is currently no charge for this service) which helps those who are self-isolating, can’t travel, ill or are in a high risk group.  The webcast facility is available to be watched at the time the funeral is taking place and will be available to watch for upto 7 days after the service.

Another suggestion for family members and friends to be part of the service is to let them know the music, readings that they have chosen and they can play this at home, maybe light a candle and remember their relative/friend when they are able to.

The guidance for funerals has been updated by Central Government (full link at the bottom). The guidance now includes additional information for communities managing a death. We are working with  funeral directors who have adopted these practices where applicable, to ensure safety and consistency across London.

During this unprecedented period, many lives will sadly be lost. To ensure organisations managing funerals are able to cope with the increased number of deaths, it is important that people do not delay funerals. We understand how difficult this will be for the families and friends of lost loved ones, however the current guidance will be in place for the foreseeable future for public safety reasons.  The Government have this information for bereaved people https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/880807/Bereavement-Leaflet-digital.pdf

Those organising a funeral should adhere to the following:

·     Only 10 mourners can attend so that a safe distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) can be maintained between individuals

·        only the following should attend:

·        at no point should mourners mix closer than 2 metres apart from each other

·        mourners should follow the advice on social distancing when travelling to and from the funeral gathering

·        mourners should avoid any direct face-to-face or physical contact, for example, hugging each other unless they are part of the same household, that is, they have already been living in the same house as each other

·        mourners in attendance, should follow the general advice on hand hygiene and preventing the spread of infection

·        before and after each service, we will clean and disinfect the area in which the service has taken place, as well as frequently touched objects and surfaces using cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people

·        mourners who are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus, or are part of a household with possible coronavirus infection, should not attend any gatherings

·        in many situations the household members of the deceased person will be the next of kin; they may be having to self-isolate in line with household guidance. Where the funeral is scheduled to take place before the period of household isolation has been completed (14 days from the first case in that household), there should be no mixing between mourners who are self-isolating and those who are not

·        mourners who are symptomatic should not attend in any circumstance

  • Stay in your car if you have driven until it is time to go into the chapel, keep your social distance in all areas of the crematorium, including the chapel and do not gather in the waiting room.
  • Please do not go into our vestry
  • Do not touch our chapel door handles, please let our staff do it
  • Do not shake hands
  • Do not leave used tissues, or any personal items in the chapel
  • Keep the social distance from everyone, in all areas;  the chapel and the grounds
  • If using the loos please wash your hands as recommended
  • No more than 1 person to witness the start of cremation (if this can be accommodated)
  • No family members to carry the coffin
  • Curtains will be closed at the end of the service – people can blow kisses or wave, but personal items cannot be placed on the coffin once in our chapel.

We hope these measures help to keep our staff, you and the wider community safe.

Some other changes

  • There are no hymn or funeral service books in the chapel
  • Scattering of ashes appointments will not be made at the moment
  • Ashes to be collected only by Funeral Directors by prior appointment/agreement with us
  • No family history research or memorial applications will be processed
  • The Remembrance Rooms are closed and and there no vases for flowers.
  • Only people that are allowed to attend a funeral should be on crematorium grounds

In these very difficult times it is important that bereaved people get help – please go the the Good Grief Trust for further information  Link to the Good Grief Trust

Our Board is following guidance from the Government Guidance



&/or Professional Bodies such as the Institute of Cemetery and Crematoria.  The latest information from the ICCM is on the following link  https://www.iccm-uk.com/iccm/covid19-and-cemeteries-and-crematoria-frequently-asked-questions/.


The Townmead Road Recycling Centre has opened from Monday 18th May 2020.  This has resulted in additional traffic on the Mortlake Road and may cause delays to all travelling to the Crematorium.

The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (LBRUT) are responsible for the site.  The information to local residents can be read here https://www.richmond.gov.uk/services/waste_and_recycling/recycling_and_refuse_sites/townmead_road/townmead_road_covid19_guidelines_and_restrictions

LBRUT have arranged for stewards to be on the approaching roads who will do all they can to get people to the Crematorium without delay.  To help the stewards identify those coming to the Crematorium please can you ask all your families/ministers/celebrants/bearers to

  • Display the person whose funeral it is and time of the funeral on their dashboard
  • Drive with their lights on so they can be easily identified
  • Wave to stewards if they need assistance (Stewards will have Hi-Vis yellow jackets on)
  • Ask they leave extra time to get to the crematoria but to remain in their cars in the car park until it is time for the funeral



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