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Types of funeral

Independent funerals 

Many people leave details with their families/representatives of their wishes in the event of their death.

It is your right to arrange a funeral without the use of a Funeral Director. Their services will be needed if the body is to be embalmed.

It is also your right to be given the body by a mortuary, hospital etc, in order to carry out a funeral without a Funeral Director.

For cremation there are legal forms to complete before any cremation is allowed. Contact us for further information.

Gateshead Council do not supply coffins or have facilities to hold a body pending burial or cremation.

Civil funerals 

A civil funeral is a celebration of a persons life.

The service is suitable for cremation or burial in a non-religious burial ground. The civil funeral may be held anywhere except religious buildings and churches.

Please note that the amount of time given for a civil funeral in council premises is the same as for standard burials and cremations.

Your funeral director will be able to provide information on local celebrants who can lead the funeral or you may want to contact one of the following organisations:

North East Humanists (opens new window)
0191 482 0464

The British Humanist Association (opens new window)
020 7079 3580

Institute of Civil Funerals (opens new window)
01920 898 156

Municipal funerals 

This is when the council has a statutory duty to arrange the funeral where there are no relatives or assets.

If a person dies within the borough and has no assets or relatives who can make the necessary arrangements, then the council has a statutory duty to dispose of a deceased body accordingly.

The authority may recover from the estate of the deceased person the expenses incurred.

If a person dies in hospital it is the duty of the hospital to make arrangements where there are no relatives or if there are relatives but they cannot afford to pay for the funeral and do not qualify for a funeral grant. 

If the hospital has reason to believe that relatives are able to arrange to pay for the funeral but refuse to do so, the hospital should ask the local authority to make the arrangements as they have powers to claim reimbursement under section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

Contact us

Bereavement Services
Gateshead Council
Park Road Depot
0191 433 3816 or 433 3811 

Office opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm