£70 to witness ashes scattered at crematorium

Wakefield Crematorium
Wakefield Crematorium

Families are being told they must pay £70 if they want to be present for the scattering of loved ones’ ashes at Wakefield Crematorium.

The family of the late Peter Robert Dale were upset to learn that Wakefield Council had started charging the fee.

After he died three years ago aged 73, Mr Dale’s family paid thousands of pounds for a funeral service and hundreds more for a book of remembrance entry and bronze plaque at the crematorium in Crigglestone.

As the third anniversary of Mr Dale’s death in April was approaching, his wife Betty, 76, decided she might be ready to scatter his ashes.

But the family were shocked to be told they must either pay £70 - or hand the ashes over to crematorium staff to scatter in private for free “when they got the chance”, son Jason Dale, 41, said.

Jason, of Sandal, said: “It should be the bereaved’s God given right to be there at the last goodbye free of charge, or at most with the cost included as part of the cremation fee like it used to be.

“It is unfair to those on limited incomes and frankly it is downright disrespectful and a disgrace.”

Wakefield Council confirmed that a £70 charge was introduced at the Standbridge Lane crematorium last year to pay for a staff member being present when ashes were scattered.

Mr Dale said: “It’s literally just so somebody is there to tip them out.”

Families do not have to pay if they want to take loved ones’ ashes elsewhere to scatter in private.

Mr Dale said the £70 charge was a large proportion of his mother’s pension, and she was now agonising over whether to pay to have her husband’s ashes scattered at the plaque, which cost more than £300.

He added: “Other families will be thinking similar things. I think that’s really sad.”

The £70 charge was brought in on April 1 last year, Wakefield Council said.

Glynn Humphries, the council’s service director for environment and streetscene, said: “We do charge a fee if a family choose to be present at the scattering of ashes of a loved one.

“This is because an appointment needs to be made and we have to make sure that a member of staff is available.

“However, families will not need to pay this fee if they wish to take the ashes away or if they would like us to scatter the ashes on their behalf, without them being present.”

Mr Dale said the family were also told to fill in a three-page form in order to be there to scatter his dad’s ashes.

He added: “I just makes no sense to me, this particular charge.

“I think this is really unfair to people, especially when they are grieving.

“I just seems like it’s taking advantage of them. It’s a charge too far.”