Funerals without the fuss: Northern Ireland families offered cremations that are up to 60% cheaper
Budget 'fuss-free' cremations are now available in Northern Ireland.
UK company Pure Cremation has extended its services to here in response to requests from Belfast families for "direct cremations" that are proving increasingly popular in Great Britain.
It said direct cremation offers simple, respectful cremations that take place without any mourners present, after which the ashes are returned to the family.
Pure Cremation opened its first Northern Ireland-based client care facility in Comber, Co Down, this week.
Grieving relatives can hold a memorial service or a celebration of their loved one's life at a later date after receiving the ashes, sometimes in a place which holds particular personal memories.
Events are often highly personal and have included a sunset barbecue reached by kayak, an afternoon Champagne tea and a co-ordinated lighting of candles in different countries across time zones by friends and family living in different continents.
Pure Cremation funerals cost from £1,195 for a simple direct cremation arranged over the telephone with the hand delivery of the ashes afterwards.
Pure Cremation director Catherine Powell said: "While plans for Northern Ireland's second crematorium are controversial and progress on redeveloping its first crematorium is slow, we are offering a whole new approach to funerals.
"Direct cremation may be a relatively new idea but it is one that is rapidly growing in popularity. A recent report showed that as many as one in 25 cremations in the mainland UK are now direct cremations and an even higher percentage of people say they are open to having a direct cremation or burial without any mourners present.
"Burial is still chosen by the vast majority of families in Ireland and Northern Ireland, but that was also true of the USA until recently; burials are projected to drop to 37.5% of funerals in 2020, down from 53.5% in 2010.
"Most of the families we look after want something different. They don't like the fuss and fake Victoriana of today's funerals. They would rather invest their energy and their money in an event that fully celebrates their loved one's life, such as the wake, while entrusting the care of the body to experts like us."
Cost is also a factor in direct cremation's popularity - it costs around 60% less than a traditional cremation because it dispenses with a religious or humanist service and all the extras such as limousines, flowers and orders of service.
Pure Cremation was the UK's first dedicated direct cremation provider and the first to have its own guaranteed funeral plan for those wishing to opt for a direct cremation.
The service was launched earlier this week to serve bereaved families here and in due course also the Republic of Ireland.
Catherine, who co-founded the company with her husband Bryan, said: "When we received enquiries from Belfast residents we began putting a plan together and are now delighted to offer every family in the UK a service at the same great price."