December 18, 2020 5.26 pm This story is over 35 months old

Families forced to travel further for funerals as deaths double in Lincolnshire

15% of deaths from COVID-19 in last seven days

Lincolnshire families could be asked to travel further away to attend funerals and crematoriums, as deaths doubled in the county compared to this time last year.

Local health bosses urged families in Lincolnshire to be as flexible as possible when arranging funerals of loved ones this winter.

With more people passing away than normally seen at this time of year, there is a risk of delays for crematoriums and funeral directors.

Over the past seven days, 94 of Lincolnshire’s 651 deaths – nearly 15% – have mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate.

This extra 15% puts strain on funeral directors as it increases the number of those needing a funeral arranged.

At the end of November, the county’s average weekly deaths rose by nearly 60% on 2019, from 175 to 275.

Lincolnshire’s Director of Public Health, Derek Ward, said: “These are incredibly difficult times for everyone who loses a loved one.

“With restrictions on funerals unlikely to change in the near future, please be assured that everyone involved in the process is working hard to make sure arrangements are made in line with families’ wishes wherever possible.

“We are about to enter a fortnight where crematoriums have less availability, and sadly, we are seeing the number of deaths in Lincolnshire increase. Last week we saw double the amount of deaths that we would see on average for this time of year.

He added: “This means you may be offered a service at a crematorium which is not necessarily the nearest to you, to avoid your service being delayed. We’re really grateful to families for being flexible when they make arrangements.”

David Dernley, Head of Funeral Services at Lincolnshire Co-operative Ltd said: “Where families have agreed, different crematoria around the county are being used rather than their nearest.

“In some areas of the county we have offered families services over the county border, where it may be their next nearest location.”

He added: “We always respect the wishes of families as to where and when services take place and we have found that even in these difficult times, people have been very understanding.”