It may not be everyone's idea of a fun day out. To many, a tour of Worthing Crematorium would be something they would dismiss out of hand. But crematorium staff wanted to dispel some of the myths
of cremations so took people around the site yesterday - and Argus reporter Samuel Underwood went along.
Most people living in the Worthing area have been to its crematorium for a funeral service.
But after the curtain closes around the coffin, the rest of the process is shrouded in mystery.
To shed some light on what happens after the service is over and to dispel some of the myths of cremations, staff at the crematorium threw open its doors yesterday.
Having been to several services at the crematorium over the years, I was keen to have a look around without a cloud of grief hanging over me.
Going there as a visitor and not to mourn the death of a friend or loved one, I was able to appreciate the idyllic location it occupies.
The area is a nature reserve and, despite its proximity to the busy A24, is extremely peaceful.
Leading the tour was Jack Kelch, the operation's acting senior technician.
He took three groups around the site, with about ten people on each.
Jack has worked there for the last 13 years and over that time has carried out countless cremations and helped hundreds of families cope with bereavement.
What followed was a fascinating but somewhat eerie insight into the logistics of dealing with more than 3,000 cremations a year and up to 22 a day.
After a visit to the crematorium's offices, we arrived at the four cremators.
Staring into one of the four ovens was an eerie experience.
Jack explained that they burn at 850C.
He said that the average cremation took about 90 minutes.
It was heart-warming to see that alongside the methodical process of the working at the crematorium was a great respect for the individuals and their families.
As well as supporting families during the service, the staff at the crematorium also welcome people back afterwards if they have any questions or want to find put more about what happened.
Jack said: “We provide an important service for people in the area and if we can help families through a tough time then that is great.
“We often have people come back after the service to ask us questions about what happened to their loved one and we can help answer those and put their minds at rest.”