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About Cremation

About Cremation

For information about crematoria in the Manchester & Salford area, and in all parts of Greater Manchester click here

What is cremation?

Cremation is the process by which a body is exposed to extreme heat, and through this process the body is reduced to its basic elements, which are referred to as the "cremated remains". Cremation occurs at a crematorium facility in a special kind of furnace called a cremation chamber.

It may surprise many to learn that ashes are not the final result since cremated remains have neither the appearance nor the chemical properties of ashes. They are, in fact, bone fragments. These fragments are further reduced in size through a mechanical process. Depending upon the size of the body, there are nomally three to nine pounds of fragments resulting.

Do any religious groups object to cremation?

Orthodox Judaism and Islam forbid cremation. All of the major Christian denominations in the UK allow cremation. Most of the other main religions are happy for their members to choose to be cremated. The Roman Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings. We are able to offer you advice on the recommendations and protocols of all religious faiths.

How can one be certain that all remains are kept separate and are properly identified, and that one receives the correct cremated remains?

All cremation authorities have thorough operating policies and procedures in order to provide the highest level of service and reduce the possibility of human error. Furthermore, all crematoria are bound by a code of practice, and further guidelines and protocols are provided by HM Government through the Cremation Act. We are happy to answer any questions about how the remains are properly identified and labelled at all stages of the cremation and disposal processes.

Can the cremation process be witnessed by the family?

Yes. In most situations, the cremation authority will permit family members to be in attendance when the coffin is placed into the cremation chamber. Actually, a few religious groups include this as part of their funeral practice, particularly the Hindu and Sikh faiths.

Can more than one cremation be performed at once?

No. Not only is it a practical impossibility, but illegal to do so. A modern cremation chamber is only of adequate size to contain one set of encoffined human remains, and the computerized management system of the crematorium prevents the opening of the cremation chamber once the cremation process has been initiated.

What happens when the cremation process is completed?

All organic bone fragments and all non-consumed metal items are placed into a stainless steel cooling pan located in the back of the cremation chamber. All non-consumed items, such as metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridgework, are divided from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into an urn or container selected by the family.

What do cremated remains look like?

Cremated remains bear a resemblance to coarse sand and are pasty white in color. The remains of a normal size adult usually weigh between four to six pounds.

Are all the cremated remains returned to the family?

With the exclusion of minuscule and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are returned to the family.

What options are available for the final disposal of the cremated remains?

There are countless options for the final disposal of the cremated remains. Indeed, it is important to acknowledge that cremation in itself is not a method of final disposal, but merely a process which prepares human remains for a range of other disposal and memorialization options. Some options include remains being buried in a traditional cemetery, churchyard or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered at a meaningful location.