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Computerised book of remembrance 'an insult' to grieving families

Plans for a computerised book of remembrance at a west Cumbrian crematorium will make grieving for a loved one like a “visit to the cashpoint”, a councillor has claimed.

LG P2a180311
Comfort: Remembrance books are used by relatives to mark their grief at the passing of loved ones

The usual book of remembrance is to be removed from the chapel at Distington Crem on Saturdays and Sundays under plans by Copeland Council to leave the site unmanned to save cash.

Mourners will instead have to tap a touch screen to see their loved one’s dedication on a computer.

Previously, at the weekends, the chapel was open, and manned, from 11am until 4pm.

Brian Dixon, who represents Distington on Copeland Council, called the move “an insult to grieving families”. He said he also feared an unmanned chapel would attract vandals and drug-takers.

Copeland had originally considered closing the chapel completely at weekends as it battles to find £1.7m of savings.

But it backed down after a campaign led by Mr Dixon and Lowca parish councillor Gill Strickland.

At a council meeting last month, leader Elaine Woodburn said that plan had been shelved. But it has now emerged that although the chapel will still be open on Saturdays and Sundays, it will only offer a reduced service.

Mr Dixon said: “This is simply not good enough, it is playing with the emotions of grieving people.

“This is an ill-considered move that will only save £5,500 a year.

“Tapping a name into a computer and looking at a screen is not the same as looking at the book of remembrance – it’s more like going to cashpoint.

“People take great comfort from going to the chapel and looking at the book and this would take that away from them for a pittance.

“The council could easily claw back this money from underspends in other areas. A motion last month, asking councillors to take a 50 per cut on their special allowances, was thrown out. That could have easily paid for a full service at the crem every weekend.”

Pat Graham, Copeland Council’s corporate director for people and places, said: “The chapel of remembrance at Distington Crematorium will continue to be open at weekends.”

Distington Crem is currently closed for refurbishments, which are due to be completed next week.

Have your say

Oh ok Brian you seem to know all about it, you worked there have you ?????????????
obviously you have not got a loved one at Distington Hall by your comments and remarks.
But go in then we will let you have the final say seen as you know all.

Posted by Gillian on 25 March 2011 at 21:09

Yes, but if you read this properly and understand the article you will see that currently it is manned but it cannot afford to be manned anymore, therefore it was proposed that it was closed which wasn't good enough, so now it will be left open and unmanned.

I think it is you that needs to understand what you are commenting on before you reply.

Posted by Brian on 25 March 2011 at 07:33

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