The money has been raised by retrieving metals from cremations. The team at the Vinters Park Crematorium first gain written consent from bereaved families, then following a cremation any metals from knees and hips retrieved are stored safely and collected quarterly. They are then taken to Sheffield for separation, sorting and smelting and a high percentage of the higher-grade cobalt steel is sent to two companies that manufacture new orthopaedic implants. Any lower graded metal is traditionally recycled.
Hannah Yeomanson from CRUSE commented:
“This is an absolutely incredible donation and we are so grateful to everyone involved at Vinters Park Crematorium. Such a significant donation comes at a very important time for Cruse, as we are currently experiencing a huge increase in demand for our bereavement support services in and around Maidstone. This money will enable us to train new Bereavement Volunteers locally, to support bereaved people in the community through one of the most painful times in life, thank you so much again for this invaluable contribution, which will make a huge difference to so many people.”
Cllr Simon Webb, Vice Chair of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee at Maidstone Borough Council said:
“To lose a loved one is just so sad and stressful, CRUSE provide support to anyone who needs it and I couldn’t think of a more worthy charity especially at this time of year. This payment will arrive on Christmas Eve and I hope may go some way to providing a little comfort to someone who is in need of support at this very difficult time.
“It is heartwarming to know so many local charities have been helped through this scheme. It really is down to the generosity of bereaved families who make the difficult decision to consent to orthopaedic implants such as knee and hip replacement joints being removed from the ashes. We can’t thank them enough.”
The scheme is run by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) and since joining in 2013 MBC has donated £120,076 to bereavement related charities. The donations started out as £5,000 and have steadily grown to this latest largest amount of £15,000.
MBC joined the scheme in 2012, prior to this, implants from loved ones used to be stored at the crematorium until there was a sufficient amount and would then be buried within the Gardens of Remembrance.
As this method of disposal has become less acceptable and like many other crematoriums in the UK and the continent, any metal residue found will be recycled unless the family wish to make alternative arrangements.
The metals used for implants are special medical grade stainless steel, titanium and cobalt chrome, which are all produced from non-renewable resources. In the future, these resources will become depleted and such metals will become less available for operations. Therefore, this recycling scheme helps to protect the environment as well as saving resources and providing potential benefits for the living.