Calderdale crematorium chapel funeral service ban causing upset and anger

10 mourners are now allowed to attend a service - but they must stay outside.

Anger is growing over a council’s ban on grieving families being able to have a chapel service at Calderdale’s crematorium.

Soon after lockdown Calderdale Council first banned any services at its crematorium at Park Wood, Elland, then did allow up to ten mourners to attend a service using social distancing – but not allowing them into the chapel.

Funeral directors, clergy, celebrants and some councillors say this has to change as it it causing families distress and argue services could be conducted safely.

They say Government guidance allows a limited number of mourners to do this and other councils all over the country, including neighbouring Rochdale and Burnley, who are allowing up to 15 people into their similarly sized chapels, are doing this, with only some West Yorkshire Councils and York imposing the restriction.

Funeral Director Amanda Dalby of Amanda Dalby Funeral Services, Halifax, says she and others have made representations to the council but got nowhere.

“I have seen how heartbreaking it is for the families – it is freezing outside and raining.

“Everyone is against what is happening at Park Wood Crematorium but we are just hitting a brick wall with the council,” she said.

One widow who was 85 had to sit on a buffet in the cold and rain at her husband’s service, said Amanda.

But the council’s Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden) said in “uprecendented and difficult times” the safety of mourners, staff and the wider community had to remain paramount and current usage of the crematorium meant thorough cleaning between services would not be possible as unacceptable delays for families would result.

“We know that it is not ideal for cremation services to have to take place outside, but it is the only way we can ensure the safest and most dignified approach possible at this time,” said Coun Press.

The council was monitoring the situation and keeping it under review, she said.

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