A new “pay-per-view funerals” service will enable bereaved friends and relatives to watch proceedings on their computer screens if they cannot pay their respects in person.
Critics believe the webcasting of ceremonies from a suburban crematorium in the UK to the world is macabre. But from today, Southampton crematorium will begin the £75-per-family service.
The crematorium manager’s, Trevor Mathieson, said he was keen to lay to rest the pay-per-view label. He said: “It’s not as if we’re Sky and broadcasting Premier League football. We’re not putting the services on to the internet for anyone to watch. Security is very important. It’s all about offering a better service to people who are bereaved.”
A digital camera discreetly set up in a corner of the crematorium’s east chapel captures the service. For £75 a family is given a user name and password.
These can be passed on to people who cannot get to the ceremony and they can watch the service as it takes place. DVDs of funerals are also being offered for £50 and audio recordings for £25.
“It’s not everyone’s cup of tea,” said Mathieson. “Some people will think it’s not the done thing. But we live in a world where family members live all over the place. A lot of people cannot make it to a crematorium.”