A SUPERSIZED furnace has been installed at a Doncaster crematorium – to cope with increasing numbers of oversized coffins containing the bodies of obese people.
Health bosses say the number of obese men and women has soared because of unhealthy lifestyles.
One of the new furnaces being installed at Rose Hill Crematorium in Cantley, Doncaster, will be a third bigger than the one being replaced.
Thorne-based funeral director Richard Walker welcomed the installation of the new giant cremator and said it would ‘preserve the dignity’ of overweight people who had died.
The furnace should be ready for use in the next few weeks and can cater for coffins measuring up to 40 inches - the previous maximum size being 30ins.
Mr Walker said until now large coffins had to be taken to Sherwood Forest Crematorium in Nottinghamshire, and even as far away as Watford.
He said: “We recently had to deal with the death of a man weighing 54 stone and there was nowhere locally which could handle that size of coffin so we had to take him to Sherwood.
“This is brilliant news because we understand the new cremator will be able to handle coffins up to 40 inches wide. I am pleased the mayor and the council has found the finances to make this service available. It will mean we can cremate these people without the indignity of them having to travel a long distance for the funeral.”
The new cremators are also needed to satisfy a European directive in relation to mercury emissions from teeth fillings.
Peter Dale, Doncaster Council’s Director of Regeneration and Environment, said: “Doncaster Council installed new cremators this year to comply with the updated legislation about emissions.
“A larger cremator was purchased to cater for bigger coffins as part of the project.”
Doncaster’s director of public health, Tony Baxter, said: “The last few decades have seen a significant change in the way we lead our lives which has seen a dramatic increase in people who are overweight and obese.
“There are two main reasons for this – firstly, people are less physically active because we use cars more and walk less, and secondly, the way we eat and what we eat.
“Obesity can lead to increasingly adverse effects on health, with breathing difficulties, chronic muscular-skeletal problems, depression, relationship problems and infertility.
“The rising numbers of people who are obese put pressure on the health and care services for special equipment, beds, operating tables, wider wheelchairs, extra-wide ambulances, large scanners and stronger hoists and slings, all of which put extra financial strain on the NHS.”