Funerals in Boston could be ‘broadcast’ to friends and family abroad

Boston Crematorium
Boston Crematorium

Footage from funerals held at Boston Crematorium could soon be broadcast live to relatives and friends abroad who are unable to attend services.

Boston borough councillors heard how a large multi-media screen and Skype video call technology could allow those living overseas to follow proceedings and for pictures, messages and video recordings to be shared.

Members of the council’s environment and performance committee heard a positive account of such technology from Coun Carol Taylor, who had seen it in action elsewhere.

A report had been requested by the committee following a reduction in the number of funerals at Boston Crematorium.

The conclusion was that location, not cost, was a major factor, with two new crematoriums at Surfleet and Alford.

It was agreed to recommend reopening the Horncastle Road cemetery entrance for a six month trial.

This was closed in 1996 when a survey revealed 47 per cent of vehicles entering the cemetery used it as a ‘rat run’. The Marian Road entrance has been used instead.

The report said crematorium access is ‘not ideal’ and reopening Horncastle Road would ease access, especially for those travelling from East Lindsey. The location of Haven High Academy and Park School also causes problems in Marian Road at certain times.

A suggestion was made that a timed barrier could allow access for hearses and funeral corteges, but block access to ‘rat runners’. The Horncastle Road entrance would be closed when funerals were not being held.

Councillors heard on Wednesday there is room for burials in the cemetery for nine more years and later in the year councillors will consider allocating more land.

Cremations are down from 2,016 in 2000 to a predicted 900 in 2014/15 but the service achieves a surplus each year of more than £100,000. So far this financial year it is up to £115,000.

In recent years £450,000 has been spent on refurbishment of the cremators and a new filtration plant and the crematorium has been redecorated, had some new lighting, an upgrade to its software system and repairs to roadways.

It was recommended to increase cremation fees by £50 to £650, in line with Surfleet, below those proposed for Grantham (£784) and above Lincoln (£620) and Alford (£550).

Improvements recommended included road resurfacing, carpet renewal, other redecoration, LED replacement lighting, removal of the illuminated cross and replacement with a multi-media screen which will be able to display a cross for Christian services.

Martin Potts, the bereavement service’s principal officer, said half of services now had no religious content and requests were made to cover the cross.