Sheffield crematorium issues safety plea over personal items in coffins

Favourite takeaways, mobile phones and even fishing rods are among the unusual items placed in coffins by mourners hoping to give their loved ones a unique send-off.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 7:21 am

But bosses at a Sheffield crematorium are urging families to think before putting such personal items inside the casket in an attempt to protect its staff and the enivronment from harm.

The Crematorium and Memorial Group (CMG), which operates Grenoside Crematorium, has asked them not to put such items inside without first seeking permission.

It says combustible items such as alcohol, mobile phones or other battery-powered devices can all cause an explosion if cremated, while hard objects such as golf or bowling balls can be propelled during the cremation process causing substantial damage to the equipment.

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Grenoside Crematorium in Sheffield (Picture: Marie Caley)

Plastics used to manufacture items such as fishing rods and sporting goods can emit poisonous fumes once set alight.

However, personal mementoes such as wooden rosary beads, unframed photographs, religious texts or handwritten tributes on paper or card can all safely be left in the coffin.

Tony Davidson, CMG’s technical services manager, said: “We understand that mourners may wish to leave items in the coffin, but we respectfully ask that they talk to us or their funeral director about alternative ways of personalising the funeral.

"The worst-case scenario is that these items damage the cremator or injure a colleague causing a delay to other families’ funerals. Clearly nobody would want this to happen.”

The group's list of items which have been placed inside coffins prior to cremation includes chocolate, fishing rods, a takeaway meal and a computer game.