Annual Report
Year Ended 31st March 2010

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 2010. 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 met six times this 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 gain of the Group for the year was £1,072,694 as compared to a loss of £21,173 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 issues 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 profit before taxation amounted to £293,732. In the previous year the profit before taxation amounted to £424,276. The Company carried out 5,174 cremations during the year, a decrease of 197 on the previous year.

Golders Green Foundation

The excess for the year amounted to £246 (2009: £6,344). During the year a donation of £5,000 was made to "Project New Eyes-Iris Cambodia".



The Society's Archives are stored at the University of Durham's Palace Green Library (Special Collections Section). Thanks to the library staff they are well maintained and are regularly consulted by scholars, and are proving to be a valuable resource to the Society's three Council Members currently writing the Development of Cremation in Modern Scotland. This project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is due to be completed in 2011.

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. It also provides a useful tool when dealing with enquiries from various sources about cremation and the Society's work. It continues to be accessible via the Public Archive Section of the UK Web Archiving Consortium at

Due to financial constraints and staff limitations it has not been possible to commence the redesign of the Society's website as intended, although some very limited preparatory work has been undertaken with the Society's computer consultants. The Society hopes to be in a position to make material progress during the coming financial year.

Directory of Crematoria

Despite competition from an increasing number of sources the Society's Directory continues to be the definitive publication of its kind. Sales have held up well and the publication continues to be an important source of income and promotional material for the Society.

The comprehensive nature of its content, ease of use and annual updating ensures that demand remains strong. Information collected as part of the annual updating exercise continues to provide a valuable source of information for government and kindred cremation organisations with whom the Society co-operates. Containing details of 260 crematoria in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, all entries are provided free of charge.

The Council is grateful to the staff of cremation authorities for their co-operation in completing the questionnaire enabling the Society to provide the most detailed information available.

Pharos International

Pharos International experienced another successful year maintaining its wide level of readership and buoyant advertising income. It continues to be the leading subscription publication in Great Britain's cremation movement as well as being one of the leading cremation publications worldwide with copies presently circulating in approximately 40 countries.

Attempts by competitors to emulate various aspects of the publication mean that the design, presentation and content are constantly monitored. Following the negotiation of a contract with new printers which took effect from Autumn 2009, the Society will experience significant cost savings in a full financial year.

Annual Conference 2010 (Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition 2010)

Continuing the success of previous Cremation and Burial Conferences and Exhibitions the 2010 event was staged at the Holiday Inn, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, during 5th to 7th July 2010. The event was again staged by:

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 co-ordinate the activities of burial grounds and provide a tangible link between them and the public.

A diverse programme was provided designed to be of interest to all sections of the death care profession. Legislative issues were covered with papers on The Revision of the PG5/2(04) Guidance Notes by Andrew Mallalieu, Vice President Technical, Facultatieve Technologies; Pandemic Planning - Update by Ahmed Azam, Pandemic Flu Co-ordination Team Leader, Home Office; Improving the Process of Death Certification in England and Wales by Simon Bennett, Head of Clinical Governance, Clinical Policy and Strategy, Department of Health; The Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008 by Judith Bernstein, Head of Current Coroner Policy, Ministry of Justice; Safety and Conservation of Monuments - the Legal Perspective by The Right Worshipful Timothy Briden, Vicar-General of the Province of Canterbury, Chancellor of the Dioceses of Bath & Wells and Truro, Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Judges Association; and Funeral Pyres in a Legal Limbo? by Stephen White, Member of the Council, The Cremation Society of Great Britain.

Emerging alternative technology was addressed in Resomation® - The Debate. The Discussion Panel consisted of Sandy Sullivan, Managing Director, Resomation® Ltd, Peter Mitchell, Peter Mitchell Associates, Colin Rickman, UK Business Development & Standards Manager, Co-operative Funeralcare, and Roger Arber, Secretary, The Cremation Society of Great Britain. The Moderator for the debate was the Society's Chairman Mr Harvey Thomas CBE.

Social and cultural issues were covered by Dying Matters - Raising awareness of dying, death and bereavement by John Palmer, Head of Communications, Dying Matters Coalition.

Practical operational aspects of cremation and burial were covered by presentations on Local Authority Management of Closed Churchyards by John Rotherham, Bereavement Services Manager, Chesterfield Borough Council; Requirements for Cemetery Developments by Dr Richard Earl, Managing Director, TurfTrax Ground Management Systems, and Peter Mitchell, Peter Mitchell Associates; Recent Changes to Standards and Qualifications in the Memorial Industry by David Quinn, Development Officer, British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons.

Design and architectural matters were dealt with by a paper entitled A New Crematorium for Sandwell MBC by Brendan Day, Bereavement Services Manager, Sandwell MBC and Martin Critchell, Martin Critchell Architects.

Historical and future developments were addressed in papers on The Remarkable Rise of Cremation in a Scottish City: Glasgow 1930-1962 by Revd. Dr. Peter Jupp and Professor Hilary Grainger, Research Fellows, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University and Crematoria - The Private Sector by Adrian Britton, Commercial Director, Westerleigh Group Ltd.

The international perspective was provided by presentations on Cremation in Sweden by Ulf Lagerström, Trustee of the Swedish Federation of Cemeteries and Crematoria; The Cremation Movement in Japan by Dr Shoji Eguchi, President, Taiyo Chikuro Industries Co Ltd; and Cremation in Israel - Sustainability in adversity leads to creativity by Alon Nativ, Chief Executive Officer, Aley Shalechet (Autumn Leaves) Ltd.

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

An evaluation exercise conducted after the conference showed that 46% and 39% of delegates viewed the pre-event organisation as excellent and good respectively; 48% and 49% rated the organisation during the conference excellent and good respectively; 27% and 52% thought the range of subjects covered as excellent and good respectively. Overall opinion of the conference was 36% excellent and 52% good.

The "joint" event continues to be financially successful for the Society.

The 2011 Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition will be held at the Grand Hotel, Bristol, between 4th and 6th July.

Burial and Cemeteries Advisory Group (Ministry of Justice)

The Society is represented on the Group and further progress has been made on legislation for the re-use of old graves. In April 2009, Lord Bach, who was then Parliamentary under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, stated that the case for re-using old graves had been accepted in principle but that the matter was being kept under review. It is not yet apparent what impact this will have on the public's use of cremation but as the Society's primary purpose is to promote cremation it maintains a neutral stance on this issue whilst maintaining a watching brief.

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 industry. The Society is represented on the Council which meets regularly twice a year.


Proposed Amendments to the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008

The Society participated in the original consultation process undertaken by the Ministry of Justice that culminated in the issue of the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008 which came fully into effect on 1st February 2009. In January 2010 the Ministry of Justice advised that following a meeting with key stakeholders, including the Society, in July 2009 to review the progress of the Regulations, it had been decided to seek views on some minor and in large part technical changes to the Regulations which they hoped to introduce in the spring of 2011. Whilst it was the general view that the Regulations had been introduced successfully, it was clear that there were some improvements that could be justified.

As a consultee the Society submitted its views and comments on the amendments proposed which largely related to the format of cremation forms and questions as well as minor textual adjustments.

Cremation of Bodies with Implants

The Society was represented at a meeting held at the Ministry of Justice in January 2010 to discuss implants and the cremation of bodies with particular reference to fixion nails. Matters discussed included existing range of implants, health and safety risks, responsibility for removal, case for central guidance and future developments including death certification reform.

As a consequence of the meeting the Ministry issued a note on the points covered with some suggested action points and proposals for further avenues of investigation.

Although not discussed at the meeting the Society was subsequently able to provide information on Radioactive Seeds and their use as a result of research that it had carried out on the subject a few years earlier. The Ministry was grateful for the research information and leads as it added considerably to their limited knowledge about the subject.

Scottish Consultation on Death Certification, Burial and Cremation

The Society was invited by the Scottish Government to participate in a consultation exercise on this subject. The consultation follows consideration of 33 recommendations by the Scottish Burial and Cremation Review Group which was set up in 2005 by the former Minister for Health under the previous administration. The Review Group's Terms of Reference were "To review the Cremation Acts of 1902 and 1952 (and the Cremation (Scotland) Regulations 1935 as amended) and the Burial Grounds (Scotland) Act 1855 as amended and to make recommendations on how the legislation could be changed in order to better serve the needs of the people of Scotland."

The main subject areas therefore fell into two main groups. Firstly death certification, focussing on issues designed to ensure that when a death occurs there are adequate safeguards in place to meet any concerns there may be around the death having particular regard to the recommendations which flow from the Shipman Inquiry.

Secondly, to review the burial, cremation and cemeteries legislation, much of which dates back over 100 years. There is a need to revise the legislation so that it better reflects the needs of 21st century society.

The Society submitted its response which can be viewed at

In its response the Society took the opportunity to emphasise the need for clarification on minimum distances between crematorium buildings and houses or roads when dealing with planning permission. The potential benefits of Resomation® were also highlighted.

Coroners and Justice Bill

During the year the Working Group established by the government and on which the Society is represented continued its work on the further development and implementation of the government's proposed reforms of death certification in England and Wales. The Society has a particular interest in the proposals for the new position of Medical Examiner and coronial matters. The Coroners and Justice Bill became the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 on 12th November 2009.

Major changes to the Bill during its passage through the House of Lords included the insertion of the role of National Medical Examiner. He or she will be responsible for leadership of the new medical examiners, and will also liaise with the Chief Coroners Office on matters which overlap between the two systems, such as when a registered medical practitioner should report a death directly to the coroner.

The government also introduced the role of Medical Adviser to the Chief Coroner in the Bill. They will provide advice to the Chief Coroner on any medical matters which impact on the coroner system including in relation to appeals and post-mortems. The role will also include liaising with the National Medical Examiner on the national job description of the medical examiners.

Following the May 2010 General Election the Justice Secretary commissioned an internal review of the scope and timing of the coroner reform plans in the light of the difficult financial situation facing the government. Whilst the government is keen to see reform and improvement of the coronial system and to continue the changes that Part I of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 sought to address, the current financial situation means that these reforms must be brought forward without the national leadership framework and new appeal system, headed by a Chief Coroner. The Office and post of the Chief Coroner will therefore be abolished. Despite this the government had decided to take forward the introduction of medical examiners, to work in parallel with coroners to ensure that poor or criminal certified practices are detected and addressed.

During the year the Ministry of Justice planned to issue a replacement combined booklet bringing together and updating the information currently included in the two leaflets The Work of the Coroner and When a Sudden Death Occurs to remove the overlap in the information provided. As with the existing leaflets the book was intended to be distributed by coroners to bereaved families.

The Society was invited to comment on the draft of the new booklet Coroners and Inquests - A Guide before it went to print. The Society took the opportunity to make a number of observations.

Open Air Funeral Pyres

Following a Judicial Review hearing at the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, Royal Courts of Justice, on 24th, 25th and 26th March 2009 in connection with the above case the presiding Judge, Mr Justice Cranston, although finding in favour of the defendant Newcastle City Council, gave the claimant Mr Davender Kumar Ghai leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal. Consequently Mr Ghai lodged an appeal and although the case was set for 18th, 19th and 20th January 2010 it lasted only one day.

In his original High Court hearing Mr Ghai insisted on his right to be cremated on an open air funeral pyre. However, at the appeal hearing his position changed. In summary, the crucial point which the Appeal Judges considered was whether the structure in which Mr Ghai now wished to be cremated could be interpreted as a building within the meaning of the Cremation Act 1902 and could, therefore, be accommodated under the Act. They decided it could be, so presumably it should therefore be regulated by the Cremation Regulations and the Secretary of State's Guidance for Crematoria and other relevant pollution regulations.

The Ministry of Justice takes the view that the Court of Appeal Judgement confirms current cremation regulations requiring cremation to take place in a crematorium (i.e. a building fitted with appliances for the purposes of burning human remains). The way is not now open automatically for funeral pyres to be held and burning anywhere other than a crematorium approved by the Secretary of State remains a criminal offence. At the Court of Appeal Mr Ghai fundamentally changed his position from that which he had originally argued in the High Court. He no longer sought an open air pyre outside the scope of the cremation regulations, but instead conceded that his religious requirements could be met by being conducted in a crematorium that is within the scope of the current cremation law.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) takes the view that guidance for Local Authorities is already published on managing emissions from crematoria and Best Available Techniques should be used to minimise the impact on the environment.

Contrary to clarifying the position the Appeal Court's ruling has muddied the waters. The Society jointly with the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and the Association of Private Crematoria and Cemeteries issued a statement reflecting the views of both the Ministry of Justice and DEFRA. The Ministry of Justice is in discussions with DEFRA and the Department for Communities and Local Government about the Judgement. Consideration is being given to issuing formal guidance.

Articles relating to this matter that can be found in Pharos are as follows: Religion - Human Rights - Open Air Funerals (Winter 2009 Volume 75 No. 4 10-11), Open Air Funeral Pyres by Stephen White (Summer 2010, Volume 76 No. 2 4-5) and Funeral Pyres in a Legal Limbo? by Stephen White (Autumn 2010, Volume 76 No. 3 30-35).


Crematoria Abatement of Mercury Emissions Organisation

The Society is a joint founder member of CAMEO and is represented on its Steering Group. The CAMEO Steering Group met regularly during the year under review and co-sponsors CAMEO Master Class Seminars.

A Working Group on which the Society is represented was set up to review CAMEO's existing role once the deadline of 31st December 2012 has been reached for meeting DEFRA's 50% abatement target. The major task after this date is to provide a vehicle for managing a burden sharing scheme and to regulate other schemes that may be introduced and provided for under the government's Air Quality Notes. It will also be necessary to continue monitoring and reporting to DEFRA on the industry's progress on the installation and operation of abatement plant and also the use of the environmental surcharge.

The Working Group recommended that these tasks and responsibilities could best be undertaken by the formation of a company limited by guarantee, with Directors reflecting the make-up of the current Steering Group. CAMEO's legal advisers are now addressing this task.

During the year further meetings with DEFRA have taken place and a questionnaire was produced jointly to assist CAMEO with data collection. The primary function of the questionnaire was to identify what stage crematoria are at in the tendering/abatement process. It was also designed to help determine which crematoria were burden sharing internally and which proposed to do this through CAMEO. In support DEFRA would be contacting all Chief Executives and Regulators on this matter.

During meetings with DEFRA the legalities of making the CAMEO Certificate a necessary document to provide evidence to the Regulators of either burden sharing or abatement was discussed. DEFRA are consulting with its legal advisers on this point.

Following agreement on a new questionnaire a 2010 DEFRA/CAMEO survey was conducted to update the information gained from the 2008 survey. The exercise resulted in responses from 96% of crematoria, the highest response rate so far. A total of 247 crematoria responded, 9 did not.

The data confirmed that 66% of cremation authorities intend to install abatement plant, a figure consistent with the findings of the two previous surveys undertaken of the sector. The result also confirmed that there would be sufficient tradable mercury abated cremations, to enable a viable trading scheme to operate post 2013 subject to manufacturers of abatement equipment being able to meet demand.


Whenever possible the Society has taken the opportunity to draw attention to the potential benefits of the process of Resomation® as an adjunct to cremation. This has been done through articles in Pharos International and papers and discussions at Cremation and Burial Conferences and Exhibitions.

In March 2010 Resomation® Ltd won the "Early Stage Impact Through Innovation" category of the John Logie Baird Awards 2009, and also the "Jupiter Big Idea Award" of the Observer Ethical Awards in June 2010.

The view of the Ministry of Justice is that alkaline hydrolysis does not constitute the burning of human remains and it therefore falls outside the regulatory framework for cremation. As a result they would need to amend the cremation legislation so that processes other than burning could be brought within it which would require new regulations.

As there is now a new coalition government it is likely that their attention will focus on more high profile economic matters. However the Ministry has acknowledged that because alkaline hydrolysis does not involve the burning of human remains, it would not necessarily be unlawful in the interim to dispose of a body using this process. The key issue at present is to ensure that the disposal of the various residues from the process are compliant with both EU environmental legislation and legislation currently in force in England and Wales. These are issues in particular for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Ministry is currently in the process of considering whether to go to full public consultation on alkaline hydrolysis and other alternatives to cremation, but again the decision on whether or how to proceed rests with government ministers. Any consultation is likely to seek views on both the technical aspects of disposal as well as what public reaction might be to this way of disposing of the dead. The Ministry recognised that the lack of progress over the past few years has been frustrating but emphasised that there are important issues relating to the protection of the environment as well as getting ministers' attention focussed on it.

Joint Life Member Certificates

As reported last year claims under this type of membership are now settled from the general fund. The claims during the year under review continued at a manageable and significantly lower level than experienced in previous year.


Following the installation and configuration of new computer hardware attention focussed on the upgrading and replacement of existing database software as well as the transfer of the Society's accounting function to a computerised format. The existing database was some 7 years old and had limited functionality. Due to its age software maintenance and support were also coming to an end.

Sourcing a suitable database and maintenance support contract commenced towards the end of the financial year. Purchase and installation will take place during the coming financial year and will involve the transfer of considerable amounts of data as well as staff training. The conversion of the Society's manual accounts to a computerised format will be carried out within a similar time frame.

New software maintenance and support contracts that have been negotiated will provide future cost savings for the Society.

Associate Scheme

As will be seen from this Report it has again been a busy year for the Society and unfortunately this has meant that it has not been possible to introduce the new Association Scheme as planned. Nevertheless this remains a priority for the Society which it intends to address as soon as possible.

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.

The property continues to be maintained in good order as it represents a significant investment for the Society. However during the year under review it was still not possible to redecorate and refurbish the Society's 2nd floor office accommodation due to continuing cash flow restraints. In the light of the Council's decision to sell Brecon House it continues to look for smaller premises. Although a dilapidations settlement was agreed with the previous tenant of the ground floor accommodation, refurbishment work commenced later than expected. It will now be completed during the second quarter of the 2010/11 financial year and on completion will provide the Society with letting opportunities.


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 and other methods of disposal which appear to the Society to be superior to cremation are 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 including 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, Public Health Directorate of the Scottish Government, Environment Agency, Review of Coroner Services, Burial and Cemeteries Advisory Group, British Standards Institute, the Human Tissue Authority and the Archbishops' Council of the Church of England. It will cultivate relationships with other government departments and organisations as appropriate and will continue to contribute to any Inquiries or Reviews that may be relevant to the cremation profession.

It will also continue to press government departments for appropriate recognition of Resomation® as an adjunct to cremation together with its regulation so as to enable it to be practised in the UK.

Consolidation of Accounts

As mentioned in last year's Report the Council believes that the cost of meeting the requirement to consolidate the accounts of the subsidiary with those of its own place a significant and unnecessary financial burden on the Society's finances. Also, contrary to its intention the consolidation exercise only confuses members and gives a misleading impression of the Society's financial activities. During the year under review the Society made representations to both the Charity Commission and the Cabinet Office (Office of the Third Sector) seeking dispensation from the consolidation requirement but regrettably without success. Until such time as dispensation is granted the Council believes that the Society will incur unnecessary costs producing accounts that will prove confusing to members.


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 Council Members have the opportunity to attend appropriate trustee training courses whenever possible. As a matter of routine new Trustees attend a training course providing an introduction to the duties and responsibilities of Charity Trustees. 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 will comply as 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.

Note 20 to the financial statements shows the deficit in the Society's Unrestricted accumulated general fund at 31 March 2010 amounted to £1,005,972. The equivalent figure for the Group was a surplus of £2,394,857. 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 continues to explore ways in which this can be addressed, which include the sale of assets including Brecon House and downsizing to a smaller property as well as methods for generating a higher level of regular income.

As a temporary measure the Society effected a loan facility with its subsidiary for up to £140K. This facility is available for a maximum term of five years and is secured by a fixed charge over specific investment assets of the Society.


The Council regularly reviews the major risks which the Society may be exposed to with regard to its practical operations. During the period under review the Council has carried out a 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. The Society maintains Directors and Officers Liability Insurance cover for all its Council Members.


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 £3,790,476. 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 has decided to retain the value of the property at its present level of £500,000 (2009:£700,000). The Council believes this to be a fair market value at 31st March 2010 in the light of existing open market rents and the remaining term of an existing lease.


On 9 August 2010 Mr Jeremy Leigh Pemberton resigned from his position as a Vice-President of the Society, a post he held for approximately 25 years. The Council wishes to place on record its great appreciation of his support and interest in the Society's affairs during his term as a Vice-President.

Mr Ulf Lagerström consented to serve as a Vice-President of the Society and was appointed on the 18 February 2010. He holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree (University of Stockholm) and is a Chamberlain of the Royal Court of Sweden. He has been a Director at the Ministry of Finance; Senior Vice-President of Nordbanken; General Counsellor and Head of the Department of Legal and Administrative Affairs of the Church of Sweden and Managing Director of The Swedish Federation of Cemeteries and Crematoria (of which he is now a Trustee) and Ignis Insurance Group. He is a past President of the International Cremation Federation (1997-2005).

Mr Lagerström has been a supporter of the Society for many years and the Council is delighted by his appointment as the Society's first international Vice-President. Being eligible, he will be standing for election at the Society's forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

The Directors of the Society (who are honorary and known as Members of the Council) who served during the 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
Professor H.J. Grainger


In the absence of an Honorary Treasurer Mr Malcolm Stronach has been assisting with the financial operations of the Society since February 2010 and in particular the transfer of the Society's manual accounting system to a computerised format.

Mr Stronach has a wide experience of finance and accountancy in the commercial sector having worked for a number of major companies over the years. He brings a wealth of knowledge and practical expertise to the Society.

Being eligible, Mr Stronach will be formally proposed for election as a Council Member and the Society's Honorary Treasurer at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

The Society's Council comprises highly qualified members prominent in their individual fields of expertise. Nevertheless the Council will continue to increase its expertise and widen its influence wherever possible.

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 £66,800 during the year ended 31st March 2010 (2009:£66,800).

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
  31/3/10 1/4/09 31/3/10 1/4/09
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: 1st November 2010
R.N. Arber, Secretary