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. 

Cremation -   there are now two crematoria serving central County Durham: Durham and Wear Valley at Coundon. Both are non-denominational, so you can choose the celebrant you want to conduct  the ceremony.

Durham Crematorium has been serving County Durham since 1960. The chapel is hexagonal in shape and has large windows, giving panoramic views over the meadowland surrounding the building and of the distant woodland surrounding the site.
The Chapel has seating for approximately 60 people, with standing room for a further 50. Service times are every 30 minutes. Services can be tailored to individual requirements, with a highly specialized music system, a modern electronic organ and an organist available by arrangement. 

Wear Valley Crematorium is privately owned and operated. 

Built in 2009 it is very comfortable and modern with a seating capacity of 75. The building has been designed to allow families to commemorate their departed in a reverent and peaceful setting, undisturbed by the hectic demands of modern life. 
Service times are 45 minutes and thus allow families time to gather and leave without the pressure of other funerals waiting for access. Longer 'celebration' services and private memorial services can also be arranged upon request.

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.