Distaste over ‘ashes for keepsake’ letter

Sales literature sent to Sue and Ian Atkins following the cremation of Mrs Atkins's brother Simon Moreton (pictured)
Sales literature sent to Sue and Ian Atkins following the cremation of Mrs Atkins's brother Simon Moreton (pictured)

A COUPLE in Wappenham are asking where we draw the line when it comes to how we remember loved ones who have died.

Last month Ian and Sue Atkins celebrated the life of Mrs Atkins’s brother Simon Moreton, 52, during a funeral service at Northampton Crematorium near Milton Malsor.

But a week later they were shocked to receive unsolicited marketing 
information offering to turn Mr Moreton’s ashes into a variety of glass keep sakes ranging from ear rings and rings to paper weights and pendants.

The couple said although he was a Catholic, their artist brother was not particularly religious, but they are certain he would also have found the idea distasteful.

Mrs Atkins said: “The service was on the Monday, and a few days after the cremation we received a call from them asking if there was anything more they could do. Then on the Monday morning we received this sales literature.

“I told my husband, then it took a while to think about, but then I started thinking how horrid it was.”

Mr Atkins said at no point were they asked if they would like to receive marketing material, and did not give permission for their personal details to be shared with other organisations. He added: “It’s just the commercialisation of death which we find most distasteful, but it also seems a macabre way to remember someone.”

A statement from Dignity, operators of Northampton Crematorium, said: “We are very sorry if we have caused any distress to this couple. We provide this leaflet so that clients can make an informed choice about all the options for memorialisation that are available to them.

“This type of memorialisation of the ashes of a loved one has proved to be extremely popular with people of all ages.

“Their details were ‘not passed on without their permission’ – we require them to administer the cremation and the leaflet is posted to all people who choose to take the cremated remains away with them.

“We have received no other complaints.”