Council criticised for funeral video link fee during coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 16:03 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:04 19 March 2020

Gorleston Crematorium.
Photo: Andy Darnell
Copy: Stephen Pullinger
For: EDP
Archant © 2007 (01603) 772434

Gorleston Crematorium. Photo: Andy Darnell Copy: Stephen Pullinger For: EDP Archant © 2007 (01603) 772434

Archant © 2007

A woman unable to travel over the coronavirus has hit out at a council for charging a fee to watch her sister’s funeral service over video link.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council charges £85 to watch a live stream of funeral services at Gorleston crematorium.

But the woman, who lives in Lancashire and does not wish to be named, is asking for the fee to be waived while the country is dealing with the pandemic.

Her sister’s funeral is taking place next week - but due to the government’s guidance to avoid large gatherings she is not attending the service.

And while one local authority in west Norfolk has temporarily waived the fee, the woman has said Great Yarmouth Borough Council is “not keeping up with what is happening”.

“They should be ahead of the game,” she said.

She called the crematorium last week. “I asked about options, they didn’t seem to understand. They said that funeral associations hadn’t received any guidance.

“Not only is it complacent, they’re charging me for their complacency,” she said.

She added that some people living in Great Yarmouth, who are over 70 or in a vulnerable group, might think: “If it’s £85 maybe I’ll go”.

“It’s also the possibility of spreading the virus, with devastating consequences and even more funerals,” she said.

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In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “The chapel’s media system enables the additional option of live web-casting during funeral services to enable people to attend funeral services virtually if they are unable to be there in person.

“This has proved popular with those who live elsewhere in the UK, or abroad, or are unable to attend for health reasons.

“A fixed fee is chargeable to the funeral organiser as this is an extra facility. This is a reasonable charge and also allows multiple people to join the web-cast at no extra charge.

“We will continue to monitor national advice and guidance on funerals as the situation with Covid-19 continues to develop,” the council said.

Elsewhere, the Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk has said the fees for webcasts of funerals at Mintlyn crematorium will we waived initially for the next three months due to the ever-increasing number of individuals having to self-isolate and the encouragement of social distancing due to the Coronavirus.

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