Annual Report
Year Ended 31st March 2008

The Cremation Society of Great Britain

Report of the Council

The members of the Council, who are the trustees of the charity and are also directors of the charity for the purposes of the Companies Act 1985, submit their annual report and the audited financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2008. The trustees have adopted the provisions of the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP 2005) in preparing the annual report and financial statements of the charity, the group accounts incorporating the
consolidated figures for its subsidiary, the London Cremation Company plc and the associated charity, The Golders Green Foundation.



The Society was founded in 1874 by Sir Henry Thompson, Bart. Its objects are:

  • to promote the practice of cremation for the respectful disposal of the bodies of dead persons;
  • to advance public education in the practice and ethics of cremation; and
  • to investigate methods of disposing of the bodies of dead persons which appear to the Society to be superior to cremation and, if the Society thinks fit, to promote such methods and advance public education in their practice and ethics either instead of or in addition to cremation.

To achieve these objectives the charity:

  • encourages the highest operational and ethical standards in cremation practice through the establishment, ownership, management of or investment in crematoria.
  • in respect of any method of disposing of the bodies of dead persons other than cremation which the Society decides to investigate or promote, to act in a like manner as it can act in respect of cremation.
  • holds regular cremation conferences, organises meetings and lectures and fosters research.
  • collates and disseminates information on cremation related topics.
  • liaises and co-operates with other organisations, government departments and individuals, both nationally and internationally, on cremation matters.
  • publishes a quarterly magazine Pharos International.
  • publishes annual directories of crematoria.


The Society is a company limited by guarantee and is a registered charity, governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association dated 26 July 1922 as amended on 14 October 2004 and 17 June 2008. The Council is elected by the members of the Society. It currently has seven members and meets five times a year. The day to day operations of the charity are managed by the Secretary and his staff to all of whom the Council offers warm thanks for their work and dedication.

Related Parties

The charity has one subsidiary company: The London Cremation Company plc, a company registered in England, which owns and operates crematoria at Golders Green and St Marylebone in London, Woking St John's in Surrey, Banbury in North Oxfordshire and the Garden of England in North East Kent.

The charity has a close relationship with the Golders Green Foundation, which is a registered charity. It has the power to appoint the Trustees of the Golders Green Foundation.

Statement of Council Members' Responsibilities

Company law requires us as Council members to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Society and the group and of the net income or expense of the Society and the group for that period. In preparing those financial statements we are required to:

  • select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently;
  • make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
  • state whether applicable accounting standards have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements;
  • prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Society will continue in business.

We are responsible for keeping proper accounting records which disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Society and enable us to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Companies Act. We are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Society and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.


The Group results for the year are shown in the consolidated summary income and expenditure account and the consolidated statement of financial activities. The net loss of the group for the year was £546,505 as compared to a surplus of £64,487 for the previous year.

The year continued to be characterised by the continued role of the government in death care matters with continuing emphasis on environmental and certification issues. Many of these have involved input from the Society and are referred to in this report.

The London Cremation Company plc

During the year under review the Company's loss before taxation amounted to £18,328. In the previous year profits before taxation amounted to £239,437. Operating profits before the exceptional charge due to the winding up of the final salary pension scheme amounted to £443,717 (2007: £287,516). The Company carried out 5,160 cremations during the year, a decrease of 116 on the previous year.

Golders Green Foundation

The excess for the year amounted to £1,000 as a result of a donation being made of £5,000 to Demelza House Charity: funding towards terminally ill children.



The Society's archives stored at the University of Durham's Palace Green Library (Special Collections Section) continue to be available to the public and research academics. They are well maintained and administered and regularly used by academic researchers. Present use includes research to produce six research papers about key episodes in the history of cremation in the United Kingdom. The archives will also provide an invaluable source of material for a research project – Cremation in Scotland: Its History, Architecture and Social Significance (draft title) funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The Society's archives at Durham can be accessed via the internet at


The Society's website at continues to provide free access to a rich source of material on all aspects of cremation in the United Kingdom. It is regularly visited by the public, academics and those involved in the death care professions.

As a reference source on cremation legislation it is particularly helpful for those involved in the various inquiries and reviews involving the cremation movement, death and bereavement services. It proved particularly useful when reviewing proposals for the consolidation of cremation regulations.

As mentioned in the last report it is the intention to revise the presentation of the website rather than its substance. An update will take place as soon as practicable and this matter is under review with our computer consultants who were appointed during the year to monitor, support and update the Society’s existing computer software and hardware installation.

The Society was approached by the British Library which is a founding member of the UK Web Archiving Consortium consisting of The British Library, The National Archives, The National Library of Scotland, The National Library of Wales and the Wellcome Library. The Consortium is the national effort to archive selective representative websites from UK web space in advance of the introduction of legal deposit for digital material.

The Society was pleased to accept the invitation to participate in the work of the Consortium by allowing it to archive its website. The Consortium selects sites to represent aspects of UK documentary heritage and as a result they will remain available to researchers in the future. They aim to include the archive copy of the Society's website in their permanent collection.

Directory of Crematoria

During the year the Society's Directory of Crematoria continued in its position as the principal, most informative and up to date directory of its kind despite competition from several competitors. Sales and net income derived from the publication have held up satisfactorily.

Demand for the publication can be attributed to its ease of use and wide variety of up to date information which is maintained and expanded through the use of an annual questionnaire sent to all crematoria in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The Council is grateful to the staff of cremation authorities for their cooperation in completing the questionnaire enabling the Society to provide the most detailed information available.

The Directory is used by the Valuation Office Agency which is responsible for the revaluation of all crematoria in England and Wales for rating purposes. The Agency was responsible for re-valuing all crematoria for 2005 Rating Lists, which came into force on 1st April 2005. The Directory is an important source of reference to the Agency when in discussions with various operators and their agents. It will be particularly useful to the Agency in connection with the forthcoming 2010 revaluation.

Pharos International

Due to the consistently high quality of its content and presentation Pharos International continued to consolidate its position as the leading cremation publication in Great Britain's cremation movement as well as one of the leading cremation publications world-wide, with copies presently circulating in approximately 42 countries. Articles appearing in Pharos are frequently reproduced in cremation magazines published by cremation and death care organisations in other countries thus providing the Society with a high profile and the widest possible readership.

Pharos also remains the principal publication of the International Cremation Federation. Due to the quality of its content and standard of production as well as its national and international circulation, Pharos continues to be one of the Society's major promotional aids and avenue of communication. It continues on a sound financial footing. As emphasised regularly this is a significant achievement for the only subscription magazine in the British cremation movement. Pharos is edited by R N Arber.

Annual Conference 2008 (Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition 2008)

Due to the overwhelming success of the 2007 International Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition held between 12th and 14th November 2007 it was decided to stage a similar event from 7th to 9th July 2008. On this occasion in place of the International Cremation Federation whose 2007 General Council Meeting was held during ICBCE2007 we were joined by the Association of Burial Authorities. The event was therefore staged with input from the following organisations.

The Cremation Society of Great Britain, the founder and pioneer of the cremation movement in the United Kingdom. It established the first crematorium in the UK and is a founder member of the International Cremation Federation.

The Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities which represents 90% of all cremation authorities in the United Kingdom and has recently widened its scope to allow full membership of the FBCA to burial authorities.

The Association of Private Crematoria which represents 75% of all private crematoria in the UK. Nearly all new crematoria are being established by the private sector.

The Association of Burial Authorities was formed in 1993 to fulfil the need for a consumer orientated organisation to coordinate the activities of burial grounds and provide a tangible link between them and the public.

The change of date brought the conference back into the Society's normal conference cycle as well as enabling the organisers to secure attractive conference rates with the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead hotel, the previous year's venue. Although the second consecutive year that the venue was Gateshead it is intended that future conference venues be located around the country as opposed to using the same location, so as to give the greatest number of possible prospective delegates the opportunity to attend.

Once again there was a diverse programme designed to appeal to all sections of the death care profession. Legislative issues were covered with papers on Cremation Regulations - 'Consolidation and Modernisation' - update by Brian Patterson, Ministry of Justice; Memorial Safety by Dr Richard Broughton, Chairman of the Burial and Cemeteries Advisory Group (BCAG) Sub-Group on Memorial Safety; Scottish Burial and Cremation Law Reform by Sheriff Robert Brodie, Chairman, Law Reform Working Party; Improving the Process of Death Certification by Simon Bennett, Department of Health; and Developments in Burial Law and Policy by Andrew Tucker, Ministry of Justice.

The focus on social and cultural issues was provided by papers on Take it with you when you go: Mausolea, Catacombs and Vaults of the 21st Century, by Dr Julian Litten, a member of the Association of Burial Authorities Executive; Jewish Approaches to Death and Funerals by Rabbi Ian Morris, Sinai Synagogue, Leeds; and Burial Customs and Contemporary Issues Facing the Muslim Faith by Dr Mohammed Kassamali, Imam of the Husaini Islamic Centre, Peterborough.

Design and architectural matters were dealt with by papers entitled A New Crematorium for Milton Keynes ‘Ticking all the Green Boxes’ by Adrian Morrow, Architecture MK; and The Design and Layout of Cemeteries: Opportunities and Restraints – Stoneguard Phoenix Premier Award Winner 2007 by Michael Howe of mae LLP Architects.

Practical operational aspects of cremation and burial were covered by presentations on Cemeteries the New Parks by Bill North, Macclesfield Borough Council; Abatement - 'The Real Challenge - The True Costs' by Adrian Britton, Commercial Director, Westerleigh Group Plc; CAMEO Update by Brendan Day, CAMEO Manager; Management of Trees in Cemeteries and Burial Grounds (in light of new HSE Guidance) by Nigel Fagg, Consultant, Arboricultural Association; Crystal-Air: Advances in Crematorium Emissions and Mercury Abatement Management by Malcolm Gorst, Managing Director, Crystal Technica and Infection Control for Bereavement Officers by Andrew Platts, Managing Director, Anubis Consulting.

Historical input consisted of a paper on the Tale of Two Scandals: burial and cremation in Aberdeen, 1899 and 1944 by Revd. Dr. Peter Jupp, Chairman, The Cremation Society of Great Britain.

The international perspective was provided by papers on What is so special about cremation in France? by Pierre Vidallet, Président et Directeur Général, La Société des Crématoriums de France; and Developing Crematoria in Russia by Danny Heinrich, IFZW Industrieofen und Feuerfestbau GmbH.

Finally, there was the ever popular Presidents' Panel which this year included Presidents from the British Institute of Funeral Directors, British Institute of Embalmers, Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and National Association of Funeral Directors.

Unlike past conferences these "joint" events are proving financially successful for the Society and it is therefore the intention to repeat the format for 2009.

Burial and Cemeteries Advisory Group (Ministry of Justice)

The progress achieved last year in gaining agreement from the government for a means of enabling the re-use of old graves has resulted in a pilot scheme being scheduled for 2009. As the Society's primary purpose is to promote cremation, it maintains a neutral stance on this issue. The Society is represented on the Group by the Chairman.

Council of British Funeral Services

The Council of British Funeral Services is a National Federation of funeral service associations, organisations, groups and others having sectoral interests related to the funeral sector. The Society is represented on the Council which meets regularly twice a year.


There has been a noticeable increase in the number of consultation exercises carried out and reports published relating to various aspects of the disposal of the dead. They include Consultation on Improving the Process of Death Certification (Department of Health), Cremation Regulations Consolidation and Modernisation (Ministry of Justice), Statutory Duty for Doctors and other Public Service Personnel to Report Deaths to the Coroner (Ministry of Justice), Planning for a Possible Influenza Pandemic - A Framework for Planners Preparing to Manage Deaths (Home Office), The Results of a Survey of Burial Grounds in England and Wales (Ministry of Justice), and Burial Law and Policy in the 21st Century - The Way Forward (Ministry of Justice) (Government Response to Consultation).

Improving the Process of Death Certification (Department of Health)

Following the consultation process the Society was pleased to accept an invitation to nominate a representative to join the Working Group that will oversee the further development and implementation of the proposed reforms of death certification in England and Wales. The Society's nominee is Council Member Mr S R G White and he has been participating in the work of the Sub Group dealing with the content and management of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) and associated forms and fees.

A Coroners and Death Certification Bill was is included in the Government's 2008/09 Legislative Programme. The aim is to have a single process and set of forms for registering a death. Once the death was registered, it would be possible to deal with the deceased's body in any lawful manner without the need for further forms or certificates. The only Cremation form that would be retained would be the application for cremation, though much altered and renamed "Application for Disposal" or "Application for Release of the Body", or such like.

Through its nominee the Society is pleased to have the opportunity to offer its comments and suggestions on the proposed new procedures and documentation.

Cremation Regulations - Consolidation and Modernisation (Ministry of Justice)

Following completion of the consultation process the Ministry of Justice published its initial proposals and the first Stakeholder meeting took place in January 2008. A number of meetings were held during the year to discuss and work on the proposals and the Society's representative at these was Mr S R G White.

Work on the new regulations culminated with the issue of new Cremation Regulations (England and Wales) 2008 which will come into effect on 1st January 2009, replacing the Cremation Regulations 1930. Previous forms may be used for a transitional period of one month, that is until 30th January 2009.There are very few policy changes which require different procedures. The only significant one is that the applicants now have the right to inspect the medical forms (Forms Cremation 4 and Cremation 5) before the medical referee authorises the cremation. It is expected that the number of applicants wishing to exercise this right is to be relatively low but the position will be kept under close review. Where a post mortem examination is required by the medical referee it is also considered appropriate for the applicant, on request, to be able to have a copy of the post mortem examination report.

A more minor change is that the counter signature on the application form is no longer required and the forms make it clear that it is a criminal offence under the Cremation Act 1902 to wilfully make a false statement in order to procure a cremation.

With regard to the cremation of non-viable foetal remains, where these are under 24 weeks gestation they are not subject to the provisions of the Cremation Act or regulations.

Open Air Funeral Pyres

In November 2006 an open air cremation was carried out in a field in Northumbria and overseen by the president of the Anglo Asian Friendship Society (AAFS). Although the police allowed the cremation to take place, subsequently they and Newcastle City Council considered that it may have been an illegal act as it was not carried out in accordance with existing cremation acts and regulations. Approached on this matter the Ministry of Justice advised that cremation of a human body not carried out in accordance with the Cremation Act 1902 and associated regulations is a criminal offence.

At the time of the incident it was purported that there was widespread support for open air cremations from both the Hindu and Sikh communities. However following investigations by the Cremation Society it became clear from prominent representatives of these groups that the views of the AAFS are in the minority. The Sikh community has been particularly vociferous in its opposition to such a practice. A detailed account of its position on this matter can be found in the article entitled Sikhs say 'No' to Open Air Funeral Pyres, Volume 74 Issue 1 of Pharos International (Spring 2008).

Although the views of the AAFS are in the minority they have secured funding for a Judicial Review in the High Court on the basis that not to allow open air cremations for their members is a breach of their human rights. The Review was due to take place in November 2008 but has now been adjourned until March 2009.

The Cremation Society of Great Britain's view on open air cremations is that it sees no objections as long as the law is observed.


Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999, and Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000

The CAMEO Steering Group met regularly during the year under review. The Society is a joint founder member of CAMEO and is represented on its Steering Group.

In June 2008 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) issued a Statutory Direction to all cremation authorities. It commented that crematoria emit mercury and without action could contribute 25% of national mercury emissions by 2020. Earlier in 2005 the government had announced a requirement that emissions of mercury from 50% of crematoria should be abated by the end of 2012. At the request of the cremation sector, this allows for the adoption of a "burden sharing" approach, whereby cremation authorities can share the cost. The main burden sharing arrangement is the national scheme known as CAMEO. The alternative to burden sharing would have been to require all larger crematoria to fit mercury abatement, with very limited exceptions on grounds of lack of space or listed building considerations.

To ensure that the burden sharing approach delivered the necessary 50% reduction, statutory guidance issued in January 2005 specified that all local authority regulators should include a condition in the existing pollution permits of all crematoria requiring a statement, by a given date, on whether that crematorium operator would either be fitting abatement equipment or contributing to the costs of other operators fitting equipment. That was to be followed up by a condition requiring those fitting equipment to do so by 31st December 2012. Feedback to DEFRA is that there has been a patchy response to that guidance, with the effect that there remains uncertainty among crematoria operators as to their obligations and a lack of clarity on the delivery and timing of the necessary improvements. To remedy this, Ministers have approved a Statutory Direction which requires all authorities which regulate crematoria to add specific conditions to the pollution permits they have previously issued. The conditions which must be inserted by 25th July 2008, require in summary that each crematorium operator states that by no later than 31st October 2008

  • whether the particular crematorium has opted for abatement or to contribute to offsetting the costs of abatement, and
  • if fitting abatement, the number of cremations covered by the abatement and the steps in place to have it operational by the end of 2012, or
  • if not fitting abatement, provides written evidence of the burden sharing arrangements put in place.

These new arrangements encouraged by CAMEO will consolidate its position in the regulatory framework and allow it to monitor with greater accuracy the progress being made by the movement towards meeting the national target by the deadline of 2012.

Joint Life Member Certificates

It was reported last year that having reviewed the situation the Trustees had decided that there was no longer any need to provide a reserve out of which claims under this type of membership would be met. As a result the reserve was released to the general fund. The claims experienced during the past financial year has been in line with expectations and justified the action taken.


Updating and transferring old data retained in manual form to a computerised data base is ongoing although the task is becoming increasingly difficult due to the quality of the original records and staffing resources available.

Although the Society's e-mail facilities were recently updated most of its computer hardware and some software applications are old and in need of replacement. A new replacement computer network system (hardware and software) is scheduled for installation before the end of 2008. Once installed and operating satisfactorily it is intended to transfer the Society's existing manual accounting system to a computerised format.

Associate Scheme

It was decided to postpone the introduction of the proposed new Associate Scheme until the change in the Society's constitution had been formally approved and registered. This now being the case the various terms and conditions of Associateship are being drafted. It is hoped that the new scheme will be operational during the early part of 2009.

Some limited canvassing during the early part of the year had received a positive response and it was now the intention to follow this up.

Brecon House and Staff

Messrs Watson Day, Chartered Surveyors, act as the Society's property managers advising the Society, in its capacity as landlord, on all aspects of its responsibilities arising out of existing and emerging legislation, particularly with regard to health and safety issues. Necessary and appropriate risk assessments continue to be carried out and their recommendations implemented.

Whilst the property is maintained in good order, as it represents a significant investment for the Society, its own office area continues to be in need of redecoration and refurbishment but this has not been possible due to cash flow constraints. As reported last year, the Council has taken the decision to sell Brecon House and look for smaller premises, releasing funds for our charitable purposes. In the interim and following the expiration of two of the main tenants' leases, the Society will be moving to the first floor office which has been fully refurbished but has received little use since the work was carried out. The new office, together with new computer system previously referred to in this report, will provide a much needed improved office environment and facilities for the Society's staff.

The Council wishes to place on record its appreciation and gratitude for the hard and loyal work of all the staff team at Brecon House. During the year financial year Gill Payne moved after eight years to a post within the NHS and Sue Jackson and Julie Forrest remain committed to the Society's work for which we thank them.


The Society will continue to consolidate its existing relationships with allied organisations as well as participating in discussions on cremation related topics on which it can speak with authority. It will co-operate with kindred organisations when the cause of cremation is being promoted and will at all times, through its interests in cremation companies, promote the practice of cremation to the highest standard with the public's interest uppermost.

It will continue to consolidate relationships already established with government departments and organisations such as the Office for National Statistics, Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Justice, Office of Fair Trading, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environment Agency, Review of Coroner Services, Burial and Cemeteries Advisory Group, British Standards Institute Committee FSW/1 (European Funeral Standard), and the Human Tissue Authority. It will cultivate relationships with other government departments as appropriate and will continue to contribute to any Inquiries or Reviews that may be relevant to the cremation profession.

Change in Constitution

At an Extraordinary General Meeting on 17th June 2008 members of the Society voted to change its Constitution.

The Society’s Memorandum of Association, which had last been amended in 2004 provided that among its objects was the promotion and practice of cremation for the respectful disposal of the bodies of dead persons and that in pursuance of its objects the Society was empowered, among other things, to encourage the highest operational and ethical standards in cremation practice through the establishment, ownership, management of or investment in crematoria.

In recent years, if not before, the Council of the Society has taken the view that its Memorandum allowed the Society to give a platform at its annual conferences, and in its journal, to advocates of methods of dealing with dead bodies other than cremation since this kept the Society informed of rivals to cremation. The Society’s conference was the first conference in the funeral and bereavement services professions to hear, for example, of reverse polymerisation (flameless combustion), sublimation, promession and Resomation.

The Society has used its power of ownership and investment in crematoria to stimulate the building of crematoria which it has tried to ensure are models of how crematoria should be run.

Advocates to alternative methods of disposing of the dead have never failed to remind the Society’s conference that the Founding Declaration of the Society in 1874 espoused cremation ‘until some better method is devised’, some better method that is that ‘shall rapidly dissolve the body into its component elements, by a process which cannot offend the living, and shall render the remains perfectly innocuous’. Until the arrival on the scene of Resomation, however, the Society has never thought that these rival methods held sufficient promise of practical application as to justify the Society taking any greater interest in them than to learn about them, and certainly not to support any practical steps to investigate them.

The Council of the Society, however, took a different view about Resomation and sought legal advice about whether it could, for example, invest in a cremation company that was taking practical steps to investigate Resomation. The advice it received was that it could if Resomation was a method of cremation. If it was not, it could do so only if the aim of its investments was to secure the best return on its capital, rather than the demonstration of the highest operational and ethical standards in cremation practice.

Since the Council could have no guarantee that a court would determine that Resomation is cremation, a matter which lawyers for the Ministry of Justice are presently pondering, the Council thought it safer to assume that it was not and change the Society's Memorandum to allow it to take practical steps to investigate Resomation if it wished. At the same time, the Council felt that any change in the Society's Memorandum should not shackle the Society to Resomation by name.

Consequently the Society’s Memorandum adopted on 17th June added a new objects clause to allow it "to investigate methods of disposing of the bodies of dead persons which appear to the Society to be superior to cremation and, if the Society thinks fit, to promote such methods and advance public education in their practice and ethics either instead of or in addition to cremation". It also gave it the additional power "in respect of any method of disposing of the bodies of dead persons other than cremation which the Society decides to investigate or promote, to act in a like manner as it can act in respect of cremation".

The present constitution of the Society in full can be inspected on its website


Due to the considerable interest shown in Resomation stimulated by the publicity given to it by the Society, the Ministry of Justice invited all interested parties to attend a specially convened meeting to:

  • discuss the scientific principles concerning Resomation
  • issues surrounding it as a method of disposal, including the legislative and environmental issues

Those present represented the principal organisations in the funeral industry as well as the Environment Agency, United Utilities, principals from the Ministry of Justice including their legal representatives.

Whilst taking the opportunity to announce the change in the Society’s constitution to accommodate practical investigations into processes other than cremation such as Resomation, the Society’s Secretary emphasised the need for regulatory authorities for cremation to become involved at the outset. This would enable the existing legislative and regulatory framework for cremation to be relatively easily adapted to accommodate Resomation should this be considered the way forward. This would ensure, like cremation, that there would be a national standard and ideally the Ministry of Justice should be pro-active and not react to events as this was likely to lead to a fragmented and poorly regulated use of the Resomation process.

At the conclusion of the meeting the Ministry of Justice could not have been left in any doubt that there was strong support for this concept of disposal from the funeral industry. A statement from them was promised after they had considered the matter in detail and in the light of the views and comments expressed. Full details of Resomation can be found in the article entitled Resomation User appearing in Pharos International, Volume 74, Issue 1 (Spring 2008).


In order to keep abreast of legislative developments as well as ensuring that the Council is fulfilling its statutory duties and responsibilities, the Secretary and a number of Council Members attend appropriate trustee training courses whenever possible. In addition all Council Members are provided with Briefing and Guidance Notes issued by its advisers Messrs Farrer & Co and also haysmacintyre in its publication "Charity Briefing". All Council Members have access to the Charity Commission’s electronic version of its publication "Charity News" and are referred to it when any particular topic is addressed that may be of specific relevance to the Society.


The Charities Act 2006 became law on 8th November 2006. Not all of the Act’s provisions can be implemented at once. They will be phased in over a period of time. When they become effective and implementation is required the Society complied appropriate, guided by its professional advisers. The recent change in the Society’s constitution will ensure that it continues to meet the public benefit requirements provided for under the Act.


The Council has reviewed the reserves of the Society. This review encompassed the nature of the major income and expenditure streams, the need to match income and expenditure and the nature of the Society's reserves. The Society's principal sources of funds are incoming resources from charitable activities and income from Brecon House. The Council also considered the nature of the Society's assets which include the assets used directly for charitable purposes, the investment property and the investments in its subsidiary company and other cremation authorities. Resulting from this review, the Council came to the conclusion that reserves representing the investment property and th investments in the subsidiary company and other cremation authorities should be transferred to designated funds.

Note 20 to the financial statements shows that after the transfers to designated funds the deficit on the Society’s Unrestricted accumulated fund at 31 March 2008 amounted to £139,742. The equivalent figure for the Group was a surplus of £1,560,598. The Council recognises that the Society no longer has sufficient free reserves to underpin the smooth running of the charity and its normal activities and have been actively exploring ways in which this can be addressed, including the sale of Brecon House and downsizing to a smaller property as well as methods for generating a higher level of regular income.


The Council regularly reviews the major risks which the Society may be exposed to with regard to its practical operations. During the year under review the Council has carried out another comprehensive risk assessment exercise identifying the likelihood of any occurrence, the severity of its impact and any mitigating factors that should be taken into account.

This exercise is being implemented on an on-going basis and is reviewed regularly.


In the opinion of the Directors of the London Cremation Company, the market value of the freehold and leasehold land and buildings of the subsidiary is considerably in excess of the net book value of £3,380,161. In the absence of a professional valuation of all the properties the Society's Council is unable to quantify that excess.


Having taken professional advice the Council considered it prudent to revalue the property at £700,000 (2007: £750,000). The Council believes this to be a fair market value at 31 March 2008 in the light of existing open market rents and the remaining term of an existing lease.


The Directors of the Society (who are honorary and known as Members of the Council) who served during the financial year, were as follows:-

The Right Honourable The Earl Grey Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp H. Thomas C.B.E. S.R.G. White Professor G.F. Woodroffe A. D. McCarthy Mrs J Stevenson (Honorary Treasurer) (Resigned 19th November 2007) Professor H. J. Grainger (Appointed 1st May 2008)

Since the resignation of the Honorary Treasurer the Society has been advertising for a replacement through the Charity Finance Directors Group website as well as circulating details within the Honorary Treasurers Forum database.

On 27th April 2008 Lord Tunnicliffe CBE resigned from his position as a Vice President of the Society. Having joined the Government as Lord in Waiting in the Whips Office in the House of Lords and in accordance with the Ministerial Code, he had to resign his position as a Vice President of the Society with immediate effect. The Council wishes to place on record their thanks and appreciation of the support given to the Society by Lord Tunnicliffe during his term as a Vice President.

On 1st May 2008 Professor Hilary J Grainger BA (Hons), PhD, FRSA, was appointed to serve on the Council. She is a Dean of the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. A graduate of Leeds University, she was awarded a BA (Hons) History of Art and English in 1973 and a PhD in Architectural History in 1985. A specialist in late nineteenth and early twentieth century English domestic architecture and design, she is the leading authority on the late Victoria architect Sir Ernest George and on the architecture of British crematoria. She has published widely in these areas and has lectured both in the UK and America. Her book Death Redesigned: British Crematoria, History, Architecture and Landscape, was commended as the best reference book published in 2006 by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information professionals. Her knowledge and expertise will be a great asset to the Society.

Professor Grainger is proposed for election at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

The undermentioned members of the Council were also Directors of the Society's subsidiary, The London Cremation Company plc., from which they received total emoluments of £61,200 during the year ended 31 March 2008 (2007:£ 61,200).

The Right Honourable The Earl Grey Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp H. Thomas C.B.E.

The interest of members of the Council, including family interests, in the shares of the subsidiary at the beginning and end of the year, were as follows:

  Ordinary Shares Preference Shares
  31/3/08 1/4/07 31/3/08 1/4/07
The Right Honourable The Earl Grey     100 100
H. Thomas C.B.E. 1,182 1,182 1,000 1,000
Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp     100 100
Non-Beneficial Trustee Interests:        
The Right Honourable The Earl Grey 220,000 220,000    

The Right Honourable The Earl Grey is a Trustee of the Golders Green Foundation.


So far as the Council is aware, there is no relevant audit information of which the group's auditors are unaware. Additionally, the Council has taken all the necessary steps that Council Members ought to have taken as Directors in order to make themselves aware of all relevant audit information and to establish that the group's auditors are aware of that information.


A resolution will be submitted to the forthcoming Annual General Meeting that Messrs. Larkings, Chartered Accountants, be re-appointed Auditors of The Society.


Date: 5th November 2008 R.N. Arber, Secretary