Home Alternative guide Families put items in coffins like alcohol, phones, golf balls and take out causing damage to the crematorium

Families put items in coffins like alcohol, phones, golf balls and take out causing damage to the crematorium


A crematorium warns families of deceased people not to place personal items in the coffin of their loved one.

It indicates that the items could potentially injure personnel, cause “significant damage” to equipment or “harm the environment”.

Items such as cigars, computer games and takeout caused damage after being left in a coffin, Loughborough Crematorium explains.

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The crematorium issued a message warning of the dangers that certain objects may cause during the process.

Combustible objects such as alcohol and cell phones are known to cause explosions if incinerated.

He adds that hard objects like golf balls or bowling balls can be thrown, causing significant damage to the equipment.

Additionally, plastics used to make items such as fishing rods and sporting goods can emit toxic fumes when set on fire.

Tony Davidson, Director of Technical Services for the Crematorium and Memorial Group (CMG), which operates the Loughborough Crematorium, said: “We understand that mourners may wish to leave items in the coffin, but we respectfully request that we talk to them about alternative ways to personalize the funeral.

“The worst-case scenario is that these items damage the cremator or injure a coworker, delaying funerals for other families.

“Clearly, no one would want that to happen. “

Placing personal items with deceased people is a custom that dates back thousands of years and exists in many cultures.

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A spokesperson for CMG said: “We know from historians that the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons all did this. And mourners continue to have an understandable compulsion to follow the practice today. hui. “

But the group asks families to “resist the temptation” to personalize the funeral by placing items with the deceased.

Federation of Burial & Cremation Authority Secretary Brendan Day said: “For many years we have provided advice to funeral directors on items that should not be placed in coffins with the deceased.

“We recognize the importance of personalizing a burial, however, to protect the environment and crematorium personnel, it is necessary to exclude items that have the potential to produce harmful emissions and even explosions.”

Keepsakes such as wooden rosaries, unframed photographs, religious texts, or handwritten tributes on paper or card can all be left in the casket along with jewelry and medals.

But the CMG advises families not to leave items of “sentimental or financial value” in the coffin and is urged to remind their funeral director to remove any items before cremation.

The company warns that crematorium staff are not legally permitted to open a coffin once it is placed in the chapel prior to service.

Director Natasha Small told LeicestershireLive: “There are a number of alternative ways to help a family personalize the funeral.

“Our state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment has access to thousands of recorded music tracks, from traditional hymns to classic masterpieces to the latest pop and rock artists.

“We can also upload family photos or personal films, and these can be shown throughout the service to provide keepsakes to the whole congregation. “

Flowers have always been a traditional tribute, but Natasha says they don’t have to be an “elaborate or expensive presentation”.

She added, “The flowers in the family garden can be just as meaningful. Mourners can also add a personal touch by writing a special memory or tribute on paper and including it in the casket.

“If a family wanted to include a small personal item with the ashes when purchasing a memorial, we would encourage them to tell us about this option.”

Cell phones can explode if left in a coffin
Cell phones can explode if left in a coffin

Items that were placed in coffins prior to cremation include:

  • Chocolate
  • Cigarettes and cigars
  • Alcohol
  • Mobile phone
  • Golf clubs and balls
  • A favorite book
  • Plush
  • Fishing rod
  • Take away meals
  • Computer game


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