6,000 people had a Pauper's Funeral last year, up 26%

According to research by The mirror.

The number of “public funerals” for people who died in poverty or without loved ones increased by 26%.

The record amount for services known as Pauper’s Funeral increased 26% year over year. A funeral for the poor sometimes involves no services at all, no flowers, and remains in an unmarked lot.

Among the youngest to end this way last year was Baby Ruja, who died on the day she was born in Doncaster and was cremated four months later.

The oldest were 101-year-old Frances Oldridge in Southampton and 103-year-old Maxima Andreo in Barnet, north London.

Christina Martin of Wealden Council in East Sussex organized and attended 11 public health funerals last year.

She said: “Social security is increasing, so is the council tax. People just won’t have enough money for the funeral – it can be as much as £ 4,000 for a simple funeral. “

Using the Freedom of Information Act, the Mirror compared data from 362 of 371 councils in the UK and found that there were 5,875 funerals of poor people last year, with the true total likely to be close to 6,000 – or one in 100 deaths.

The increase in Chelmsford, Essex was 700%, from three in 2019 to 24 last year.

London was hard hit with a 46% increase between 2019 and 2020, while Birmingham City Council had the highest number at 507 in 2020 (up 25%).

The London Borough of Barnet saw a 538% increase from eight to 51.

Most were cremated, but when it is clear that the deceased would have preferred to be buried, they are buried in an unmarked communal grave.

Attempts are made to contact relatives to attend a funeral, but if no one answers, a council member is often present out of respect.

Some are turning to cheaper direct cremations, which involve collecting a corpse and returning the ashes without service.

Christina said, “The reason we have public health funerals is because you can’t have a body that hasn’t been treated.

“My job is to go in after the police and ambulance leave and do a more thorough search.

“It’s not always an easy task. If someone hasn’t been found for weeks, there will be a stain in the form of them on the sofa or rug.

“Maybe I’ll find an address book under the sofa with the next of kin. Then the trash can has to be taken out and the food will rot in the refrigerator.

“I am looking for valuables and they are being held while the family search continues.

“If there is no family, they will be inherited and used to offset the cost of the funeral.”

Christina arranged the funeral of a woman found in the waters of nearby Cuckmere Haven wearing nothing but underwear and some jewelry.

She remains unknown, but promoting Christina’s efforts meant 115 people attended the funeral.

Christina also reunited two estranged siblings at another funeral.

She said, “They sat apart and didn’t look at each other until after the service. In front of the crematorium he opened his backpack to give her her father’s collection of porcelain pigs. It didn’t take more and they fell into each other’s arms. That is the power of a funeral. “

Another man, Alan, died alone after his wife died and the couple had no children. Christina said, “All of Hailsham seemed to be coming out for him. His chip shop has closed for the day.

“When people say how sad, well, not necessarily.

“Just because he didn’t have 2.4 children doesn’t mean he didn’t have a great life. Everyone knew Alan. “

Christina also handled the funeral of a 47-year-old recluse who fled his home when the first lockdown began and died in his car.

She said, “I really care about people and their stories stick with me. Sometimes I have the feeling that I have a number of dead behind me. “

Funeral Director Jeremy Field said, “It is not easy for many people to find £ 3,500-4,000 in the short term. Since a lot of people lose their jobs, that doesn’t help.

“State aid for funerals for those with certain benefits does not cover costs and the number of people who are entitled to it has decreased.

I think that pushed more people to public health funerals. “

He said, “On the day of the funeral, they didn’t really know it was a public health funeral.

“You can’t have the ashes returned when you have a public health funeral. And if it is a funeral and you do not own the grave, then you are not allowed to have a tombstone. “

“I remember a funeral for a veteran. He didn’t have anyone. My undertaker was the standard bearer of the British Legion and made sure that someone from the Legion paid their respects.

“Funerals are about gathering together. If no one is around, it doesn’t shape the perception that life is important.

“But people find themselves in these positions.”

Some of those who have had public health funerals

William Houston

William Houston killed himself after telling a psychiatrist he was depressed because he couldn’t work on vacation.

An investigation found that he had sold his car and gambled away the proceeds to put an end to his money worries.

But he lost everything.

He was in the care of a mental health crisis team after a previous suicide attempt.

Crisis worker James Pullen came to his home in Newent, Glos, on July 12th to find a slip of paper that read, “I’m sorry it ended like this.”

The Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust said Mr Houston’s suicide risk was rated “moderate”.

Andrew Ventin

Church organist Andrew Ventin died in November. Liverpool City Council said his family had been located but “no funds” were available. Ten years ago, Andrew attracted audiences in Chester when he started playing a toy keyboard at the local B&M store. He was wearing the grades for the Sunday service at St. Andrew’s Church in Scotland and decided to practice.

Church Clark John Henderson said: “Andrew was so busy playing that he barely noticed it was attracting the attention of a modest but growing number of passing shoppers who stopped to hear what was going on.

“He was commended for his attraction and encouraged to take off a hat to help the store’s nominated charity – which he did for the next few years.”

Matthew Gilbert

Former head gardener of Wolterton Park Matthew Gilbert died last July at the age of only 47.

Norfolk Country House bosses said online: “He has been sick for a while. He did a fantastic job for us … we all miss him. “

Tomasz Patrykiewicz

The 51-year-old Polish craftsman Tomasz Patrykiewicz died at home in Southampton in May after falling on the stairs.

His landlord, Dildar Bhatti, said, “He was my tenant, but he was also my friend. He was a lovely man.

“I’m not exactly sure, but he tripped on the stairs. His roommates called me and I found him dead there. I was able to get a message to his daughter in Poland Facebook. ”Tomasz’s Facebook profile records many days with his daughter, whom he refers to as” my angel “, and the last photo he posted was of” my little granddaughter “.

Ian boycott

County singer Ian Boycott toured the United States under his stage name Tommy Fallon, performed at the Grand Ole Opry and befriended Johnny Cash.

Ian moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 1983 and returned to Staffordshire in 1991.

In 2003 he turned pro and had some chart successes.

Former bandmate John Green said “Live Wire” boycott struggled to quit alcohol and tobacco and was hospitalized six times with minor strokes and stomach ulcers in 2013 alone.

He died last March at the age of 66, a week after the lockdown, and the Forest of Dean Council arranged a public health funeral for him.

Agra and Edgar Kraklitis

Mother and son Agra and Edgar Krauklitis died in a house fire last July. The couple had lived in Dover, Kent, for ten years and Adgar were factory workers.

Four fire engines took part in the fire and a spokesman said at the time: “The exact cause is not yet known, but is said to have been accidentally started in the bedroom area.”

Agra’s son – and Edgar’s brother – Raimond’s Krauklitis, who lives in Latvia, told the local newspaper that he was concerned after he stopped interacting with him on Facebook: “I was always hoping they weren’t dead. They were just part of the family.

“Our older brother died in early 2013 and our father died a few months later. So until this event only me, my brother and my mother stayed, but now they have perished. “

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