Burial or Cremation
This is a very personal choice. In most cases the deceased will have informed you or another family member of their preference. Where they have not made it clear, the decision will fall to you.
Today all Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, allow cremation but it is forbidden by Orthodox Jews and Muslims. It is the normal method for Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and Buddhists.
Traditional Burial - the majority of cemeteries in County Durham are managed and maintained by the county council and are non-denominational, which means most types of funeral service or ceremony can be conducted there. At consecrated churchyards, the interment will be conducted by the local clergyman or woman, usually preceded by a service in the church. Many churchyards have been closed for burials - we will let you know if your preferred choice is available.
Woodland Burial - this a simple and natural burial in a biodegradable coffin (cardboard, bamboo, seagrass, willow or sustainable wood). A native tree or shrub could (depending on the burial ground's policy) be planted on, or close to, the grave instead of a large stone memorial. It is increasingly becoming the environmentally friendly choice - returning to nature in a way that will not harm the environment, but will actually preserve the landscape and enhance opportunities for wildlife.
The Durham City Woodland Burial Ground is a beautiful and natural area set aside within the existing South Road cemetery. Trees are planted around the glades where the burials take place (but not on the graves), creating a natural setting for a dignified and very personal funeral service. You are free to use and personalise their Woodland Lodge with flowers, photographs, etc., prior to the funeral.