These unprecedented times have led to a huge amount of confusion on social do’s and don’t. The following is merely our opinion based on Government advice and has no legal standing.
Scattering Ashes in a lockdown situation:
What we know – Funerals are to go ahead, but mourners are to be limited to immediate family, being:
- Children (and partners)
Access to public spaces is limited. National Parks are closed, as are historic land, buildings and property.
Is scattering ashes part of the funeral? Well it depends which source you use, the following are from a variety of online dictionary sources:
a ceremony, often a religious one, for burying or cremating (= burning) a dead person
a ceremony or service held shortly after a person’s death, usually including the person’s burial or cremation.
The one from FreeDictoinary.com has a wider definition:
- A ceremony or group of ceremonies held in connection with the burial or cremation of a dead person.
Most dictionaries stick with the traditional Christian version of what constitutes a funeral. Although for other religions wider aspects need to be considered, specifically those on Hindu and Sikh faiths where a funeral would most certainly include the immersion of the ashes in water.
It appears that the many if not all crematoria have put ashes scattering ceremonies on hold during the outbreak (you would need to contact your crematoria as each one is different).
So our advice is:
Delay the scattering ceremony unless religious doctrine makes it a requirement. Even last wishes should not be considered absolute in such circumstances, as it is unlikely that your loved one would wish to put you at risk through commemorating them.
If you are compelled to scatter the ashes, only immediate family should be in attend.
Do not expect to use the services of a boat company, as many in not all will not be operating.
You can scatter into the river from a rivers edge. Please exercise caution.
- Do not lean over the edge where your safety may be compromised
- Scattering off bridge should be avoid to for the same reason (and the ashes will blow about)
- Use a ponton or floating mooring if accessible, this is an example above, which allows better access to the water. Please note, many of these are private and public access is not permitted. We do not have a list of locations open to the public. As far as we are aware the scattering platform at Leicester is still accessible (we do not know for certain).
- Follow existing Environment Agency guidance and general rules / advice on scattering on water
- It is a good idea to record or even stream the ceremony to those unable to attend – Free software such as Zoom would work.
So, in summary:
If you can, wait
If you can’t – close family members only, from a safe place and record it for others