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Funeral Services

Funerals can still take place, but with stricter control measures in order to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Funeral services

Up to 30 mourners are permitted to attend funeral services held in Poole Chapel and Bournemouth East Chapel. This excludes the funeral director, bearers and chapel staff.

For Bournemouth West Chapel, no more than 15 people are permitted to enter the chapel. This number remains unchanged.

Social distancing of two metres must be adhered to whilst on site (inside and out).

Service timeslots will continue as per the current daily schedule.


At Poole, the coffin is to be carried into the chapel with the bearers exiting the chapel prior to the mourners being ushered into the chapel.


Due to the two chapel layout design at Bournemouth and the shared egress route, the coffin is to be conveyed into the chapel followed directly by the mourners at a safe distance.

Bearing of coffin

We would ask that friends and family members are discouraged from bearing the coffin into the chapel. We appreciate the significance of this ritual to families, so if families are insisting on bearing the coffin, then this will need to be communicated to the crematorium 2 working days prior to the service taking place.

Face coverings

From Monday 10 August, all funeral professionals (including celebrants), mourners and visitors attending services or entering any enclosed space onsite will be required to wear a secure face covering. This includes chapels located at Bournemouth and Poole Crematorium, Bournemouth cemetery chapels, Christchurch cemetery chapel, Poole cemetery chapels, Book of Remembrance Rooms and bereavement support offices.

Individuals do not need to wear a face covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • if travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • in order to take medication.

Further information and guidance can be obtained from the GOV.UK website.

Mourners and other visitors to the site are asked to supply their own face coverings, however, a mask will be offered to anyone arriving onsite and entering a building not wearing a face covering.

Celebrants will be permitted to lower or remove their face covering once stood at the lectern, located a clear 2 metres plus from the seated congregation. This will allow clear, unmuffled speaking during the service. Once finished, the celebrant will be required to put in place their face covering before moving away from the lectern.

Singing in chapel

Hymns requested as part of a service are not to be accompanied by live singing within the Chapels. Instead, choral backed versions of the hymns selected by families are to be ordered via Obitus. No choir or live singing of any kind will be permitted in the Chapel during services.

Playing of Brass or Woodwind Instruments

Any brass or woodwind instrument such as a trumpet, clarinet or bugle will not be allowed to play within the confines of the chapel.

Playing of such instruments will only be permitted outside the Chapel, in Poole, the during a service within a safe distance of 5 metres or more from the seated congregation. The playing of bag pipes will only be permitted in the outside areas. Any requests for the playing of brass or woodwind instruments will need to be directed to the Bournemouth and Poole office 2 days prior to the date of the service taking place.

Ceremonial Guard of Honour

From time to time, requests are made to hold a ceremonial guard of honour for the deceased. This is to be discouraged in view of tendencies to gather on site following the arrival of the funeral cortege. Requests for formal ceremonial guard of honour will need to be made directly with the Bournemouth or Poole office 2 working days prior to the date of service.


Bournemouth and Poole

Live webcasting of services together with a ‘watch again’ option will be offered to families at the published fee. Wherever possible, families are encouraged to invite mourners to watch the live stream to reduce the number of people who attend in person.

You can book a web casting via your funeral director, which can be recorded and provided as a USB or DVD.

Visual and musical tributes

Visual and musical tributes will continue as normal.

Scatterings, interments and charging

Up to 5 close family members can attend interment and scattering of ashes. 

All witness charging of the coffin is suspended. The only exception to this is for religious reasons with a limit set to two witnesses.

Waiting Areas

The Waiting Room at both Bournemouth and Poole Crematorium remain closed to mourners and other visitors. Access is only permitted for use of the toilet facilities or access to the Book of Remembrance Room in Bournemouth. The hot drinks machine will not be operated, with the cold water dispenser available for use.

Books of Remembrance

To ensure the safety of all visitors and staff and in support of the NHS Test and Trace, the Books of Remembrance will be made available for restricted viewing. No appointment is necessary, but visitors are asked to comply with safety measures in place with social distancing and the wearing of a face covering. Individual visitors or a lead representative of a household or support bubble group will be asked to provide their contact details for NHS Test and Trace when requesting to view the Book.

The Book of Remembrance Room will be made available for viewing at Bournemouth Crematorium between the hours of 9 am and 4pm Monday to Sunday. 

The Book of Remembrance Room located within the conservatory at Poole Crematorium will be available for viewing between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm Monday to Friday only.

There will be restrictions limiting attendance within the confined space to no more than 2 per viewing with appropriate hand sanitiser dispensers made available for use on entrance and exit. Appropriate notices will be in place.

Bereavement support offices

The Bereavement support office at Poole Crematorium will be re-open to members of the public with safety measures in place. No more than 2 people will be permitted access to the office at any one time.

Hand sanitiser dispensers will be in place and visitors asked to use on entrance and exit. A glass screen is in place providing additional protection for visitors and staff alike. The office will be open for access from 9 am until 5pm Monday to Friday.

The Bereavement Support Office at Bournemouth Crematorium will remain closed to public access for the time-being while preparations are put in place for additional protection screens to be installed. It is hoped that the office will re-open to members of the public from Monday 3rd August. Further notification will be confirmed nearer the time.

NHS Test and Trace Programme

The Department for Health and Social Care issued guidance on 3 July regarding business support with the NHS Test and Trace Programme. As a business providing onsite facilities to members of the public we are required to collect contact details of individuals or one member of a household/support bubble group entering and leaving any building located within any of the bereavement sites operated across the BCP conurbation, or of those who come interact with members of the bereavement team. Any person or group visiting the Book of Remembrance, attending witness scatters or interments, or simply visit the site to make any enquiry will be asked to complete a Contact and Details Form. This form will be kept in accordance with Data Protection Regulations for up to 21 days, after which the information will be securely destroyed. We are still awaiting guidance from our associate bodies regarding how the Test and Trace Programme will apply to funerals. For the time-being we will assume that the Applicant for Cremation or Burial will be the lead contact for funeral bookings made, and the funeral director will be the lead contact in terms of funeral staff who attend the site during the funeral. The information stored will only be shared with NHS Contact Tracers when asked for.


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