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When someone dies

When someone has passed away, there is a lot of organising to do. During these unprecedented times the normal processes have had to change but, wherever possible, we are working with families to carry out their wishes as much as we are able to. 

Cruse Bereavement Care in Greenwich offers support, advice and information for children, young people and adults when someone dies.

What happens when someone dies

If someone passes away, the doctor will complete the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) form. This will then be scanned and emailed to the Register Office. 

If someone passes away outside of hospital, a practitioner will visit the place of death, and issue and scan the legal documentation to the Register Office. The family can then contact their chosen Funeral Director to collect the deceased.

Registering a death

Families of a deceased person, whether they have passed away due to coronavirus or not, will be asked not to visit the Register Office to notify the death of their loved one in person. Instead, the hospital, hospice or GP will send us the paperwork electronically and include contact details for the family of the deceased. Registrars will then contact the family to arrange the death registration by telephone. 

Cremation and burial funerals

We understand how difficult this will be for the families and friends of lost loved ones, however the current government guidance is in place for public safety reasons. This guidance specifically asks you to consider inviting close friends and family only, to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

Due to coronavirus, there is a limit of 60 mourners for all funeral services. Up to 30 mourners are allowed inside our chapels (dependent on family or support bubbles) and 30 mourners are allowed to stand outside the chapel, this does not include the Minister, funeral director or staff. Limiting mourners to a maximum number of people inside the chapel is based on how many people the premises can safely accommodate with social distancing in place and the venue risk assessment to limit transmission of the virus. This may need to be less than the maximum permitted number where clinically vulnerable, extremely clinically vulnerable or person(s) in self-isolation choose to attend.

For burial services, we recommend 30 at the graveside and any additional mourners will have to stand further away.

We also need to ensure venue capacity and attendance numbers allow social distancing (at least 2 metres) to be maintained between individuals who are not from the same household or support bubble during the funeral and any linked ceremonial, belief based gatherings.

As per government guidance anyone who has had contact with your loved one will need to self-isolate for 10 days from their last time of contact, and anyone who is showing signs of COVID-19 should not attend.

The wearing of a face coverings is mandatory for all mourners as per government legislation whilst inside our chapels, and we strongly advise all mourners, funeral directors and officiants standing outside the chapels or attending a burial service to wear one.

All visitors are required to maintain social distancing at all times.

We ask everyone to follow hand hygiene and social distancing advice when travelling to and from the funeral and avoid direct face-to-face or physical contact such as hugging, kissing and shaking hands unless you are part of the same household. 

Hand washing facilities and toilets are available for you to maintain your hand hygiene when visiting our Cemeteries and Crematorium. Please note that Woolwich New Cemetery does not have toilets.

Before and after each service, staff will clean and disinfect the area where the service has taken place, as well as frequently touched surfaces to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. 

Read more for a full list of the Funeral Standards.

Cemetery access 

Charlton, Eltham, Greenwich, Plumstead and Woolwich (new) will be open every day, from 9am to 4pm.

If you have any specific requirements regarding access, please call 020 8856 0100 or email parks@royalgreenwich.gov.uk to arrange an appointment.

Chapel seating and social distancing measures

The staff at Eltham Crematorium are working very hard to provide a COVID-safe and hygienic environment for all mourners.

The actual number of people able to attend will depend on how many people can be safely accommodated within the chapel with social distancing and COVID-secure arrangements in place. 

A risk assessment has been carried out and all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of COVID-19 has been considered.

We politely ask everyone to:

  • maintain 2m social distancing at all times whilst visiting Eltham Crematorium, this includes:
    • when entering and exiting the chapel
    • inside the chapel
    • in the cloisters and crematorium grounds

We also politely ask all mourners to:

  • sit with their family or support bubbles
  • sit 2m apart if you are from different households
  • wear a face covering at all times
  • make use of the hand sanitiser stations
  • not touch the coffin once it has been placed on the catafalque
  • dispose of all unwanted items into the bins placed outside the exit doors
  • observe all COVID-secure signage

We offer our sincere condolences for your loss and thank you for your understanding and cooperation during these unprecedented and difficult times.