The The Derby Telegraph  has a "long read" article about  Derby City Council's bereavement services and how they are coping during the pandemic. A t one point, the big increase in the number of funerals during April and May threatened to overwhelm Derby City Council's cemeteries and crematorium team with as many as 100 services in a week at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, April saw around a fifth (20.6%) more funerals as 286 were carried out compared to an average of 237 in the same month over the past five years.

And in May, although there were less funerals than April with 278, as the five-yearly average is 225 this was a 23% increase.

Gary Marshall, city council bereavement services manager, said: "We could see and realised from the end of March that tragically our department workload was going to increase.

"And that we would need extra help to keep the creamatorium service running smoothly."

Volunteers have been brought in to assist to perform chapel duties, which involves meeting the funeral directors, ministers and celebrants, guiding the mourners into the Main Chapel and making sure that both the music is played at the right point in the service and that, if requested, the service is webcasted.

Derby City Council bereavement team pictured at Markeaton Crematorium- Louise Hawley, Joanne Archer, Gary Marshall, Glynn Jones, Sophie Mannion and Doug WalkmanDerby City Council bereavement team pictured at Markeaton Crematorium- Louise Hawley, Joanne Archer, Gary Marshall, Glynn Jones, Sophie Mannion and Doug Walkman

During the height of the pandemic, people were working on shift at Markeaton Crematorium between 6am and 10pm.

One of the first things that staff had to do was clear the chapels of service sheets and hymn books and Gary Marshall is uncertain that they will return because of the risks of spreading coronavirus.

 

The Long Read