Independent Funeral Directors covering Chelmsford and Essex

Deciding on the future of a loved one’s ashes

For families whose loved one has been cremated, knowing what to do with the ashes post-cremation isn’t always straightforward. In some cases, it may not have been considered at all and as a result, funeral directors throughout the UK are often left with uncollected cremated remains. There are a number of reason why ashes go uncollected. Perhaps it’s because the families can’t bring themselves to decide what to do with the ashes and lose track of time. There may have been a family dispute about the disposal of the ashes and, until the issue is resolved, the ashes are left where they are. Or, despite reminders and follow up calls, the ashes are simply forgotten about. Whatever the reason, the fact is that uncollected urns that can date back 40 years or more, and this is a common problem for funeral directors in Britain today.

Storage of ashes at Secure Haven

Aware of the scale of the problem, Paul and Cheryl Yarwood at Secure Haven were determined to provide families in the south-east of England with a storage option for their loved one’s ashes that was more dignified than having them simply left on the shelf at a Funeral Directors. At the same time, managing director Cheryl searched the globe to source a range of unique products to help families through their grief journey to find a final resting place for their loved ones.

Their quest was more than simply a business solution, however, and was formed by Paul’s own personal experience, as he explains:

After my mother died, I was not able to make an immediate decision about her ashes, so they were left with the funeral director in Kent for almost two years. My family felt guilty about this and it was definitely more than we should have expected from the director. I then discovered this situation is far from unusual – some directors still care for ashes dating back decades.

Privacy and peace with an indoor storage niche

IMG_9482-minToday, Secure Haven is the only funeral home in the UK that has its own private indoor columbarium, located in our Grade 2 listed barn, and where individual, oak-lined lined storage niches provide a secure and dignified space to keep a loved one’s urn for as long as is necessary. Once the urn is placed inside, the storage niches are locked; we keep one key and you get one to keep for as long as the urn is stored with us.

Knowing there is a dignified place to store a loved one’s ashes until a decision is made about their disposal in future can be of real comfort to families. It can provide the bereaved with the time they need, knowing their loved one’s ashes are being looked after with dignity and respect in the meantime. Storage niches are available at just £1 a day, when not included in a funeral package from Secure Haven, and the columbarium is open to visitors between 9am and 5pm through the week and at other times by arrangement. All visits should be pre-arranged to ensure the peace and privacy of other families.