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01329 822533

Guide to Independent Funerals


The front cover of a funeral service book

We are often requested to give information about cremations and their arrangement. This can be difficult because correspondents know little about cremation in general and do not always make it clear whether they intend to use a Funeral Director or not. Other requests are about making funerals less formal and more a celebration of the life of the deceased.

In response to these requests, the enclosed notes set out the routine followed by a Funeral Director using our services, to which matters may be of interest to all bereaved, and to help them understand their rights and complete as little or as much of the funeral arrangement as they wish, even to carrying out the funeral without a Funeral Director.

These notes are intended to widen choice and help the bereaved and others obtain a satisfying funeral. Portchester Crematorium does not wish to promote any particular type of arrangement or choice and it is hoped that these notes do not imply this. The Crematorium does not provide a funeral directing service and cannot collect bodies and convey them to the Crematorium.

Funerals can be arranged from anywhere in the country without difficulty, although the distance can increase costs. If you use a Funeral Director, you can choose one from your locality or alternatively, contact one within Portchester's area. Some Funeral Directors are members of trade associations and as such will have to abide by any regulations and codes of practice laid down by such an association.


The Crematorium is situated between Portchester and Fareham off the A27 and the postal address is:-

Portchester Crematorium
Upper Cornaway Lane
PO16 8NE

Telelphone: 01329   822533

The offices are situated at the front of the building between the two chapels.

Provisional Booking of Cremation

You can contact us either by telephoning or visiting the office Mon - Fri 9.00am to 4.30pm. We will be able to book you a time in one of the two chapels and timings are subject to availability. Sufficient time will need to be allowed between the death and the funeral to allow time for the completion of the statutory forms detailed later in these notes.

A total of 45 minutes is allowed for each service, but it should be noted that this allows a maximum service time of 40 minutes to allow the chapel to be prepared for following services.

When booking, staff will ask you for details of the time and some other aspects of the service. More details will be added later on the forms that we will supply you with from the office.

Once the provisional booking has been made a series of arrangements must be made as soon as possible. These may look difficult but in practise they soon fall into place. The most important is to ensure that the required forms are prepared, which are as follows:-

  1. Notice of Cremation (Preliminary Appication Form)

This form gives all the information we require in writing.   It confirms any details missing from the provisional booking.   The notes later in this document will help you to complete this form.

  1. Form "1" - (Application for Cremation)

This form must be completed by the nearest surviving relative or executor.   If not, a reason why some other person as applied must be given.   The details required are quite straightforward and should pose no difficulties.  A householder known to the applicant must countersign the form.

  1. Forms 4 & 5 (&10) Medical Forms

You must notify the Doctor of the deceased, who attended the last illness and tell them you are arranging a cremation.   Whether a GP or hospital doctor, they will obtain these forms and complete them for you for which a fee will be payable. We will complete the form F after you have passed the completed document to us.

If any of the doctors report the death to the Coroner, he or she may issue a certificate for cremation which negates the need for form 4 and 5. This usually necessitates a post-mortem being organised and/or an inquest.   Reporting the death in this way is quite usual and you should not be alarmed.   If such a certificate is issued (free of charge), you will not need to pay for the doctors forms. The Coroners Officer or other staff will keep you informed of progress by the Coroner.

  1. Registrars Certificate

This will be required when the Coroners certificate is not issued.   You will need to visit the Registrar of deaths in the district where the deceased died.   The Registrar will issue a Certificate for Cremation which you should pass to us as soon as possible.

This will complete the statutory forms and consideration must now be given to the funeral.


With cremation a coffin is essential to allow us to place the body in the cremator. The base of the coffin must be hard and smooth to enable it to be placed in the cremator.   The options are as follows:-

  1. You can purchase a standard coffin from a Funeral Director.   All standard coffins are made from chipboard with approved veneers and plastics for cremation purposes.
  2. You may construct your own coffin using chipboard or wood.   The materials you use must be suitable for cremation,   chipboard is preferred.   Ferrous screws may be used and wood braces may add strength but these must not be used on the underside.   No heavy metals, PVC or plastics generally should be used.   Handles are useful but not strictly necessary.   Crematorium staff will be happy to help with any queries you may have.

In both cases the coffin should not exceed 28" in width, 26" depth and 7ft long.

Transporting the Body

Although you may be able to hire a hearse from a local Funeral Director, historically this has been difficult. The transport of a coffin, with or without the body, requires a van or an estate car.

You need to transport the coffin to the mortuary if the body is to be retained there. You have a common law right as an executor to be given the body. You will need to speak to the mortuary staff to arrange for the collection and they will inform you of any procedures necessary.

Once you have removed the body or if the deceased died at home, you need to consider how to proceed. The body can be retained at home up until the funeral but the room must be cool, and try to avoid difficult stairs. If you prefer the body may be left at the mortuary and collected on the day of the funeral.


The crematorium has 2 chapels, the South seats 80 persons and the North 50, and these are available for inspection any time, funerals permitting. The crosses in both chapels can be removed if so desired. Multi-media systems are installed in both our chapels, where an extensive library of music is available for you to choose to personalise your service, along with basic slideshows, professional music tributes etc to display on the chapel screens. Please contact our office to set up your multi-media choices.

The method of committal is the same in both chapels that is the coffin remains stationary as curtains come across. This is not compulsory and if it is felt this may be too distressing then they may remain open until mourners have left the chapel.

The service itself does not have to be conducted with a member of the clergy and may take whatever form relatives may desire. For further advice on services or to discuss any ideas, the staff will be happy to help.

If a member of the clergy is required to take the service then the form should be discussed with them.

Use of the organ is available in both chapels. Please call our office for list of available organists in the area. A fee is charged for using the organ. This fee can be found by clicking Price Information.

Cremation Procedure

The crematorium is operated in accordance with the Code of Cremation Practise issued by the Federation of British Cremation Authorities.  A number of useful leaflets are also available and these will be given to you at the same time as the statutory forms. These include "Questions People Ask" and a leaflet describing your options with regards to the disposal of cremated remains. If the remains are to be removed then a suitable container will need to be supplied. This may be provided through a Funeral Director or may be something suitable purchased elsewhere.

The cremation is open for inspection at any reasonable hour including the crematory and other non-public areas.



Flowers are to be placed on the flower bays and will remain there for 6 days. After this time the flowers will be recycled for compost to use around the grounds and all other materials will be disposed of.


You should contact your local paper for advice or speak to a Funeral Director.


A table of fees is available on request or by clicking Price Information.


The only form of memorial available at Portchester is the Book of Remembrance. This is situated adjacent to the South Chapel.

Natural Death Centre

The natural death centre offers a range of services and literature concerning funerals and they are located at:

The Natural Death Centre
In The Hill House,
Watley Lane,
SO21 1QX
Tel No 01962 712690

Their handbook contains information on organising funerals tailored to your own needs.

Charter for the Bereaved

We provide our service and offer the rights specified in the charter. The charter was launched in September 1996 and a reference copy is available on request.

These notes are offered as guidance only and no responsibility can be accepted for the fact that they may not be correct in every case.