Two crematoria in County Durham have donated a total of £10,000 to local charities as a result of a share of surplus funds from a national recycling scheme.
Sands, a stillbirth and neo-natal death charity, and cancer charity Coping with Cancer North East have each received cheques of £5,000 from Mountsett Crematorium and Durham Crematorium, respectively.
Durham County Council, which runs Durham Crematorium in partnership with Spennymoor Town Council and Mountsett in conjunction with Gateshead Council, is a member of the Metal Recycling Scheme run by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM), which recycles metals which are left after a cremation.
Once written consent is given from each bereaved family, metals such as orthopaedic implants and materials used in the construction of the coffin are recycled by the ICCM with proceeds shared between its members to donate to a charity of their choice.
Oliver Sherratt, head of direct services, said: “We’re massively indebted to the generous families that have kindly donated these recycled metals to charity.
“Their consent, given at this difficult time for them, does mean that good causes continue to benefit.”
The recycled metals scheme, which has been run in partnership with a Dutch company called Orthometals since 2006, makes a huge difference to the communities it serves, all while making the least possible impact on the environment.
Dr Judith Woodruff, CEO of Coping with Cancer NE, said: “Coping with Cancer NE is delighted to receive a donation of £5000 from the crematoria.
“The charity exists to provide emotional support and practical help for the cancer community of the North East.
“The money will be welcome to help us to provide complementary therapy in Durham University Hospital Oncology Day Unit for patients and carers and acupuncture for ladies with breast cancer in Newcastle to help them cope with the side effects of chemotherapy.
“In addition it will be used to provide more one to one counselling sessions for those who need that extra support to help them through difficult times.”
Carolyn Bray, fundraising and events manager at Sands, said: “We’d like to say how grateful we are for being chosen to benefit from this brilliant scheme, and extend a heartfelt thank you to Durham County Council and the crematorium for such a generous donation.
“This not insignificant amount allows us to make a very real, positive difference to many thousands of people who have been devastated by the death of a baby and will help to continue to improve the bereavement care received by parents and families at such an awful time in their lives.”