Crematorium recycling scheme raises thousands for charity

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 recycling scheme.

Sands, a stillbirth and neo-natal death charity, and the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund (NECCR,) 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.

Graham Harrison, the county council’s bereavement services manager, 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.

NECCR fundraising manager Janet Price said: “We greatly appreciate receiving a portion of the proceeds from Durham Crematorium’s recycling scheme. Every penny is integral in helping improve the lives of children and young people with cancer.

“Over 30 years ago when the NECCR was formed approximately 75 per cent of young people who contracted cancer died from the disease. Now, thanks to developments in research – funded by charities such as NECCR, approximately 75 per cent survive which wouldn’t be the case were it not for the generosity of people in the North East.”

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 Mountsett 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.”

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