Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 11:34 UK

Coffin 'too big' for crematorium

Coffin at funeral. Pic by Creatas
Coffins must be no wider than 28 inches to fit into the cremator

A woman has had to be buried after council officials ruled her coffin was too big for cremation.

Falkirk Council said that despite Betty Wilson, 79, losing both her legs to diabetes, the width of her coffin exceeded the limits of their cremator.

The decision has been criticised by Mrs Wilson's daughter Liz, who has called for facilities to be bigger.

The council said its crematorium could accommodate coffins up to 28in wide, 81in long and 22in deep.

Mrs Wilson died at Bonnybridge Hospital on 25 April after suffering from a heart condition.

She had expressed a wish to be cremated in Camelon, not far from her home in the town's Fairlie Street.

However, family members were told by undertakers, Co-op Funeralcare, that a specially-made coffin would have to be created for Mrs Wilson and that it would not fit into the cremator at Camelon.

'Family requests'

A spokeswoman for the undertaker said: "The family were advised to go to South Lanarkshire where there is a larger facility. However, they decided that they would prefer a burial."

Mrs Wilson's daughter Liz told the Falkirk Herald she was stunned that her mother would not fit into the crematorium.

She told the paper: "We're always hearing that people are getting bigger so they should be thinking of these things and not upset family members in this way."

A Falkirk Council spokeswoman told the BBC Scotland news website that in the past 25 years the issue had affected five funerals.

She added: "We strive to accommodate family wishes at what can be a very distressing time.

"Unfortunately in particular circumstances the cremators are unable to accommodate family requests for this service.

"The three cremators have been in place since 1997 and undertakers are aware of the dimensions of our facilities."



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