Annual Report
Year Ended 31st March 2014

The Cremation Society of Great Britain

Report of the Council



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 and deliver public benefit 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 and 26th November 2009.

The Council is elected by the members of the Society. It currently has six members and met five 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.


After 44 years of service with the Society, 33 of them as Secretary, Roger Arber will be retiring in April 2015. The Council is presently in the process of seeking a successor.

Roger's contribution to both the Society and the Cremation Movement in the UK is beyond measure. He also served for 14 years as Secretary-General of the International Cremation Federation and represented the Society with distinction, on the Global scene.

In the UK, Roger has worked closely with colleagues in the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities to create joint conferences and to represent the Cremation Movement to Government Departments.

The Council is deeply grateful to Roger for his professional and dedicated service.

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 £558,689 as compared to a gain of £723,207 for the previous year.


The Society's investment portfolios are managed by PSigma Investment Management Ltd and reviewed regularly. A formal review presentation is made to the Council at least once during the year by the Investment Fund Manager.


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 £867,048. In the previous year the profit before taxation amounted to £1,045,353. The Company carried out 6,392 cremations during the year, an increase of 174 on the previous year.

Golders Green Foundation

The excess for the year amounted to £9,428 (2013: £6,487). No donations were made during the year.

Consolidation of Accounts

As reported in the past the Council considers the preparation of consolidated accounts confusing to members and gives a misleading impression of the Society's financial activities. Compliance with consolidation requirements incurs the Society in additional costs. Until the Society is given dispensation from these requirements the Council's views remain unaltered.



The Society's Archives are stored at the University of Durham's Palace Green Library (Special Collections Section). They are well maintained by the library staff and continue to be regularly consulted by scholars.

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, particularly legislative developments, 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. The Society's website is also regularly used as a reference source in connection with statutory crematorium planning matters, particularly the Cremation Act 1902. It continues to be accessible via the Public Archive Section of the UK Web Archiving Consortium at

It has not been possible to carry out the planned changes to the structure of the website during the year under review and these will now be commenced during the 2013/14 financial year.


Directory of Crematoria

Containing detailed information about crematoria in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, the Society's Directory of Crematoria continues to be the definitive publication of its kind. Despite the economic climate sales have held up satisfactorily 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. Presently containing details of 275 crematoria in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, all entries are provided free of charge. It provides a vital source of information for all those wishing to develop cremation facilities whether they be from the public or private sector. The Directory is often used as an accredited source of information during planning applications.

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 continued 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 44 countries.

As recorded in last year's Report of the Council, advertising income is being affected as a result of the economic climate. In addition there is increased competition from focus groups who are establishing themselves in the death care/bereavement sector. However despite these factors advertising revenue has not suffered to the extent originally anticipated. Pharos still operates at a net surplus, a considerable achievement for the only subscription-only magazine published by a national cremation organisation. This is undoubtedly due to the quality of its production and variety of content which is designed to be of interest to a wide section of the death care industry. We are pleased to record that Pharos continues to retain its prominence in the market place.

Careful management of production costs together with modest price increases, mainly to counter the effect of increased postal rates, should ensure the continued financial viability of the publication. Other avenues of making the content of Pharos available via the use of modern technology in order to increase revenue are under consideration.

What You Should Know About Cremation Leaflet

The sub-committee set up to carry out a comprehensive review of this leaflet has prepared a draft wording, however it will not be possible to publish a final version of this until the various proposed legislative changes affecting cremation that are on-going or under discussion have been resolved.

In the circumstances it is intended to make available a temporary version of the leaflet What You Should Know About Cremation on the Society's website pending further information regarding the implementation of Death Certification Reforms in England and Wales.

Annual Conference 2014 (Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition 2014)

Continuing the success of previous Cremation and Burial Conferences and Exhibitions the 2014 event was held at the Holiday Inn Stratford-upon-Avon, during 7th to 9th July 2014.

The event was 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 approximately 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 private crematoria in the UK. Nearly all new crematoria are being established by the private sector.

There was a good attendance with a diverse programme designed to be of interest to all sections of the death care profession. Legislative issues were covered by a Ministry of Justice Update from Judith Bernstein, Head of Coroners, Burials, Cremation and Inquiries Team, Access to Justice, Justice Policy Group, Ministry of Justice. In addition, The Rt Hon Lord Bonomy, Chairman of the Infant Cremation Commission, had agreed to an interview with Harvey Thomas CBE, the Society's Chairman, following the publication of the Commission's report in June. A video entitled Infant Cremation Commission - 'An exclusive video interview for CBCE 2014' was shown to delegates.

Social and cultural issues were covered by Tracing Next of Kin and Reuniting Families by Daniel Curran, Managing Director and Amy-Louise Moyes, Senior Case Manager, Finders and Celebration of the Catholic Church's 1964 Decision by Monsignor Kevin McGinnell, Roman Catholic Church. Three presentations were given on the subject of New Styles of Funerals: Civil Funerals and Funeral Celebrancy by Anne Barber, Managing Director, Civil Ceremonies Ltd; 1500 years of funeral service: the Church of England, the same yet different by Revd Dr Sandra Millar, Church of England and Celebrating and Letting Go - A Humanist Approach to Funerals by Isabel Russo, Head of Ceremonies, British Humanist Association.

Historical matters were dealt with by a paper entitled Musings of a Secretary - A look back over four decades of the cremation movement by Roger Arber, Secretary, The Cremation Society of Great Britain.

Practical operational aspects of cremation and burial were covered by presentations on Burial and Cremation Authorities in the 21st Century by Tina Cook, Chief Executive, Ethical Management Consulting and Robert Barr, General Manager, Manchester Crematorium Ltd; Performance Benchmarking for Cemeteries and Crematoria by Robert Bailey, Association for Public Service Excellence; CAMEO - the waiting is over! by Brendan Day, CAMEO Manager;The Gas Industry - Are you getting the best from it? by Victor Levison, National Account Manager, and Darren Holman, Energy Services Product and Compliance Manager, Total Gas and Power; Licensing of Funeral Directors - A Sector Perspective by Mervyn Pilley, British Institute of Funeral Directors; A New Way of Delivering Bereavement Services by Kevin Melling, Managing Director, Orbitas Bereavement Services Ltd and What is the future for Highgate Cemetery? by Dr Ian Dungavell, Chief Executive, Friends of the Highgate Cemetery Trust.

New Technology was covered by PlayDNA - Genetic Memorials for the 21st Century? by Dr Samantha Decombel, Director, PlayDNA Ltd and Digital Autopsy by Jon Nottingham, National Operations Manager. iGene® London Ltd and Dr Vinay Hallikeri, Senior Forensic Research Scientist, iGene® Sdn Bhd Kuala Lumpur.

Finally in addition to the ever popular Presidents' Panel which this year included Presidents from the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, National Association of Funeral Directors, National Association of Memorial Masons and the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors there was a Panel Presentation: Coffin Accreditation Programme - 'The Pace Quickens'. The panel members were Richard Barradell (Co-ordinator) - Secretary/Treasurer, Association of Private Crematoria and Cemeteries, Rick Powell - Secretary, The Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, David Crampton - President, Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers' Association, Tim Morris, Chief Executive, Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, Alan Slater, Chief Executive, National Association of Funeral Directors and Mark Woollard, President, National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors.

A post-conference on-line evaluation survey was carried out and CBCE 2014 scored highly on a range of categories such as subject matter, content of paper, speakers, exhibition, organisation and last but not least, value for money. This year's event was considered to be the best so far. The "joint" event continues to be financially successful for the Society.

The Continuing Professional Development Certification Service granted accreditation for the 2014 event. This allows delegates to demonstrate to their employers that attendance at the event contributes to their personal development.

With the likelihood of a continuing difficult economic environment it is important that the conference offers a competitive delegate's fee and quality speakers on subjects that are relevant to those working in the death care industry.

The 2015 Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition will be held at the Holiday Inn, Stratford-upon-Avon, between 6th and 8th July.

Conference Bursary

In 2013 in pursuit of its aim of "advancing the public education in the practice and ethics of cremation" the Council established a conference bursary. A bursary was awarded for the Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition 2013 and in view of its success it was agreed that a similar bursary be offered for CBCE 2014.

Despite widely publicising the 2014 conference bursary no applications were received, which was disappointing. Nevertheless greater efforts will be taken to publicise the bursary in an endeavour to secure applications.

The bursary covers the conference fee and accommodation for 3 nights at the conference hotel and includes a year's complimentary subscription to Pharos International. Applications are invited from anyone who has not worked in the cremation industry within the previous 12 months and all enquiries should be addressed to the Secretary at the Cremation Society's head office.

Education, Promotion and Research

Death in Scotland from the medieval to the modern: beliefs, attitudes and pracices

Peter Jupp co-organised a second conference at New College this year 31st January - 2nd February, 'Death in Scotland, from the medieval to the modern: beliefs, attitudes and practices'. The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of the Cremation Society who have promised £1,000 towards the publication of a volume of papers from this conference. Professor Hilary Grainger spoke on 'Private Perspectives: The Architecture and Design of Scottish Crematoria 1975-2011'. A highlight was the panel discussion on 'Infant Deaths' with the Revd John Birrell, Mrs Angela Dunn and the Revd Dr Mark Newitt which included the Mortonhall case.

Architectural Influences and Design of Crematoria

During the period under review Professor Grainger gave a number of lectures and presented papers on the architectural influences and design on crematoria in addition to those already referred to elsewhere in this report.

January 31st - 2nd February 2014 Conference at New College, University of Edinburgh 'Death in Scotland, from the medieval to the modern: beliefs, attitudes and practices'
Paper: 'Private Perspectives: The Architecture and Design of Scottish Crematoria 1975-2011'.

March 24th 2014 London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London Conference Lecture: 'Sustainability To Die For'

Illustrated article in the April issue of the Twentieth Century Society magazine Issue 2 2014 page 38 - 41 Article: 'Designs on Death: British Twentieth Century Crematoria'

Pharos International Spring 2014 Article: 'James Chalmers 'A Scheme of Cremation for Scotland': Glasgow Maryhill

May 1st 2014 South Yorkshire Victorian Society AGM Lecture: 'The Victorian and Edwardian Expression of Cremation: Sheffield City Road Crematorium in Context'.

June 11th 2014 Brookwood Cemetery Series - Woking Society Lecture: 'Crematoria to Die For; History, Architecture & Landscape'

5th September 2014 'Dying and Death in 18th-21st Century Europe, International Conference (ABDD07), Alba Iulia, Romania Paper: 'Aberdeen Crematorium: Hazelhead, A Modernist Finale'

The Revd Dr Peter C Jupp gave a research paper at the 2014 meeting of the conference 'Dying and Death in 18th-21st Century Europe' at the '1 Decembrie 1918' University of Alba Iulia, Romania, organised annually by Dr Marius Rotar (who has twice been a guest speaker at CBCE conferences in the UK). His paper was entitled 'From public scandal to social acceptance: Scotland's first publicly-owned crematorium: Kaimhill, Aberdeen: 1938-1975'.

Burial and Cremation Advisory Group (BCAG) (Ministry of Justice)

The Society is represented on BCAG by the Revd Dr Peter C Jupp. Thirty-two organisations with various responsibilities for death and bereavement issues are involved. Two meetings are held in each year at the MoJ, London. BCAG's Chair, Ms Judith Bernstein, is regularly invited to address the Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition.

Among issues of importance to the cremation movement the following were discussed this year: coffin accreditation; documentation accompanying coffins from Scotland to England; death certification; coroners and medical referees.

The Mortonhall case and reports by Dame Elish Angiolini and Lord Bonomy have been major concerns. Planning applications and the requirements of the Cremation Act 1902 have arisen about the crematorium built at Houndwood which is outwith the jurisdiction of the MoJ but the proposals for a crematorium at Burntwood are within its remit. Concerning Resomation® advice had been put to ministers in October 2013 on progressing a Call for Evidence paper on alternatives to burial and cremation but ministers had decided not to take the matter forward.

Society Chairman Harvey Thomas CBE conducted a video interview with Lord Bonomy on his recommendations arising from the Mortonhall case. This drew maximum attention from the audience at the CBCE 2014.

In June 2014 new Chief Coroner, Judge Sir Peter Thornton, addressed the meeting and outlined his priorities for the role. His appointment was welcomed by the Society: it is one result of the earlier inquiry into Coroners, to which Roger Arber and Stephen White had submitted detailed material.

Other issues before the Group included: disused churchyards; the identification and exhumation of King Richard III; Muslim burials and London coroner services; a new Charter for bereaved people on natural burial; the new Pensions Bill: its proposed changes and impact upon bereaved people; and the reuse of old graves.

Council for British Funeral Services

The CBFS includes representatives of most of the professional and charitable organisations focused on the process of and arrangements for funerals. It meets twice yearly at the offices of the British Institute of Embalmers at Knowle. Representatives give six-monthly reports of the work of their organisations and discuss specific issues raised by members. Meetings usually include a presentation by a guest speaker. The Society is represented on the CBFS by the Revd Dr Peter C Jupp. Whilst the Council rarely makes policy decisions, it provides a forum for informal discussion on issues within the funeral services industry, bereavement support groups, clergy and celebrants.

Infant Cremation Commission

On 16th April 2013 the Minister for Public Health announced in the Scottish Parliament the creation of an independent Commission to examine the policies, practice and legislation related to the cremation of infants in Scotland. The Commission, chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Bonomy, was to report its recommendations to the Scottish Government during June 2014.

The remit for the Infant Cremation Commission was:

  • To review the current policies, guidance and practice in Scotland in relation to the handling of all recoverable remains (ashes) following the cremation of babies and infants, and to make recommendations for improvement to ensure that: parents and other bereaved relatives receive clear and consistent advice and information about the disposal of such remains and have their wishes adhered to; and that any such remains are treated sensitively and compassionately.
  • To consider existing legislation, with particular reference to the Cremation Act 1902 and the Cremation Regulations (Scotland) 1935, in order to identify gaps, inconsistencies and weaknesses and to make recommendations on what issues should be addressed in future legislation.
  • To consider existing practice and guidance in related fields such as the NHS and funeral services in order to identify gaps, inconsistencies and weaknesses that should be addressed; and to make recommendations on the format and content of future guidance.
  • To give guidance on the conduct of any investigations of historical practice undertaken by Local Authority or independent crematoria operators.

Following the publication of the Commission's Report, the Scottish Government announced new National Investigations Unit to be chaired by Dame Elish Angiolini to help bereaved parents find out what happened to their children's remains in the wake of the earlier baby ashes scandal.

Since the publication of the Report the Society's Chairman, as mentioned elsewhere, was able to hold a lengthy interview with Lord Bonomy, covering all the key points in the Scottish situation and relating it to the rest of the UK where possible. As a result of the Commission's Report a National Committee on Infant Cremations has been established and the Chair of the Committee, the Head of Health Protection, Scottish Government, has confirmed that developments and any issues that the Society may wish to raise can be accommodated by appropriate channels of communication. He very much welcomes the Society's engagement in this issue and hopes that it will contribute in the future.


Cremation Act 1902

The Cremation Act 1902, instigated by the Cremation Society, is the core piece of legislation governing cremation and from which all other cremation acts and regulations emanate. Section 5 of the 1902 Act relating to the "site of a crematorium" states:

"No crematorium shall be constructed nearer to any dwelling house than 200 yards, except with the consent, in writing of the owner, lessee and occupier of such house, nor within 50 yards of any public highway, nor in the consecrated part of the burial ground of any burial authority."

For well over a century this condition has been strictly observed by anyone wishing to develop or operate a crematorium, whether they be from the public or private sector.

The only way to circumvent the 50 yard requirement is to obtain a private Act of Parliament disapplying it, as developers who have wished to build crematoria in breach of Section 5 have always done. The Society is aware of 15 such Acts.

No matter how inconvenient Section 5 of the Act is for a developer it has been observed without exception. However the situation is now being challenged by developers in Scotland and one in England.

The Society has drawn the attention of the Ministry of Justice to these developments but as it is only responsible for cremation law and policy in England and Wales it is not in a position to act in the case of the Scottish developments. However in the case of the development in England it has been in touch with developers drawing attention to the requirements of the Act.

Until such time as the law is altered or repealed the Society believes that all developments should comply with existing legislation. To that end the Society has, and will continue to notify the relevant authorities whenever it considers that there is a potential or actual breach of Section 5 of the Cremation Act 1902.

Coroners and Justice Act 2009

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 was implemented on 25th July 2013 following a consultation exercise earlier in the year. The overall aim of the new legislation is three-fold:

  • to put the needs of bereaved people at the heart of the coroner system;
  • for coroner services to be delivered locally but within a framework of national standards; and
  • to enable a more efficient system of investigations and inquests.

In February 2014 the Ministry of Justice published a new 'Guide to Coroner Services' booklet and an accompanying leaflet 'Coroner investigations - a short guide'. The Guidance is statutory and is issued under Section 42 of the Act, which allows the Lord Chancellor to issue guidance on how the coroner system is expected to operate in relation to bereaved people, including the way in which they can participate in coroner investigations.

Death Certification Reforms in England and Wales

Death Certification Reforms in England and Wales which provided a new system of death certification, (excluding coroner cases), involving Medical Examiners scrutinising the cause of death as stated by a doctor, were planned to go live by October 2014. However the Department of Health, although stating that they remain fully committed to these reforms, have delayed further work on implementation until after the forthcoming general election in order to reconsider the detail of the Medical Examiner system in the light of other developments on patient safety introduced since 2010.

Certification of Death (Scotland) 2011 Act

Despite delays in implementing death certification reforms in England and Wales, the implementation of the Certification of Death (Scotland) 2011 Act which provides a new death certification system not dissimilar to the one proposed for England and Wales, will come into force on 29th April 2015.

Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008

The Secretary represented the Society at a meeting between stakeholders and the Ministry of Justice to discuss early proposals for revising the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008. The discussion covered a number of points including the following:

  • definition of ashes
  • regulating the cremation of foetuses under 24 weeks gestation
  • regulation of applications for cremation
  • cremations where death has occurred in Scotland and cremation will take place in England or Wales
  • regulation of crematoria

It is expected that there will be further consultations in order to refine the proposals.


Crematoria Abatement of Mercury Emissions Organisation (CAMEO)

In his capacity as a Director, the Society's Chairman represents the Society on the Board of CAMEO Ltd. He, together with his fellow Board Members, Mr R Powell (Chairman) and Mr B Day,both from the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, worked closely together to carry through and successfully complete a complicated project. This involved over 200 crematoria in the country, from both the private and public sectors, in a burden sharing scheme which successfully overall reduced mercury emissions by more than 50%.

The contribution to costs from crematoria who were not abating amounted to some £1.4M which was distributed pro rata to those authorities who were abating.


Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the biggest European Union Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly Euros 80 billion of funding available between 2014 to 2020.

Cremation in European Identity - This project is part of Horizon 2020 and its key objective is to furnish a Europe wide study of modern cremation as an emergent cultural tradition running alongside the established cultural heritage of cemeteries, as an innovative development within European thought and the ritual practice of funerals.

The objective will be pursued in a complementary alignment of social, scientific and humanities based methods deployed by academic teams drawn from some 9 European countries, supplemented by influential funeral stakeholders.

The active participation of major cremation societies and funeral managers will bring stakeholder relevance to the project. It was in this role that the Society was invited to participate, represented by its Secretary. The Secretary took part in a Working Group on the project at the University of Durham in July 2014 in order to prepare a grant application to the EU.

The organisers of the Working Group found the meetings very fruitful and were given much to think about and they are now in the process of putting together a first draft of the funding application proposals. The Council felt that the Society's involvement in this exercise had been well worthwhile and beneficial. It is understood that a finalised grant application will be submitted to the European Union in the early part of 2015.

Founder Member Certificates

Claims under this type of membership are settled from the general fund. There were no claims during the past year and in view of the age structure of this membership few, if any, are expected in the future.

Associate Scheme

During the year under review a paper on Associate Schemes and Membership Schemes was produced for consideration by the Council. This subject is a "work in progress" as there are still a number of areas that need clarification and agreement before any new membership scheme can be launched. This matter along with the recruitment of new Trustees remains a priority for the Society.

Brecon House

Property Management

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 regularly and their recommendations implemented.

The property continues to be maintained in good order as it represents a significant investment for the Society. Leasing opportunities continue to be explored for some of the accommodation which having been refurbished to a good standard is ready for immediate occupancy. Despite this there has been limited interest shown due to the prevailing economic climate and an excess of vacant leasehold office accommodation in the Maidstone area. The Society continues to monitor market developments.

For the present no major refurbishment works will be carried out to the remaining accommodation. Minor redecoration works will continue to be carried out as and when necessary.


During the year the Council, in consultation with its auditors, reviewed the VAT position of Brecon House, specifically the option to tax under the VAT Act 1994. It was decided to take up this option and this became effective from 1st July 2013. This change of tax status will prove financially beneficial for the Society.


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 equal or 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 Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, British Standards Institute, Burial and Cremation Advisory Group, CAMEO, Council of British Funeral Services, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Environment Agency, the Human Tissue Authority, International Cremation Federation, Ministry of Justice, Office of Fair Trading, Office for National Statistics, Public Health Directorate of the Scottish Government and the Review of Coroner Services. 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. In addition it will investigate the practicalities of operating this form of disposal in the UK.


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 are encouraged to attend training courses 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". Council Members also 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 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 investment income, 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 surplus in the Society's Unrestricted accumulated general fund at 31st March 2014 amounted to £73,914. The equivalent figure for the Group was a surplus of £5,796,156. Unlike the past, the Society now has sufficient free reserves to underpin the immediate needs of the charity to ensure its smooth running and the carrying out of its normal activities.

The Council regularly reviews various possible methods for generating a higher level of income.


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 commenced 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 implement on an on-going basis and is reviewed regularly in order to maintain an up to date Risk Register. The Society maintains Directors and Officers Liability Insurance cover for all of its Council Members and Secretary.


In the opinion of the Directors of The London Cremation Company plc, the market value of the freehold and leasehold land and buildings of the subsidiary is considerably in excess of the net book value of £3,546,668. 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 considers it prudent to retain the value of the property at its present level of £500K (2013: £500K). The Council believes this to be a fair market value at 31st March 2014 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 year, were as follows:-

The Right Honourable The Earl Grey (Deceased 10th September 2013)
H. Thomas C.B.E
Professor H.J. Grainger
Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp
A.D. McCarthy
M. Stronach
S.R.G. White
Professor G.F. Woodroffe

It is with regret that we have to record the death of Anthony David McCarthy who died after a long illness on 14th June 2014. Tony was involved in every aspect of the funeral business and he joined the Council of the Society in April 2003. His knowledge and experience proved invaluable to the Society and he will be sorely missed, as will his humour and common sense and pragmatic approach in Council Meetings. He is survived by his wife Doreen and four sons to whom we extend our condolences.

The Society's Council comprises highly qualified members prominent in their individual fields of expertise. Nevertheless the Council will continue to increase its expertise in order to widen its influence wherever possible. A recruitment drive is presently under way in this connection and it is anticipated that new appointments are imminent.

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 £55,500 during the year ended 31st March 2014 (2013: £71,500).
The Right Honourable The Earl Grey (Deceased 10th September 2013)
H Thomas C.B.E.
Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp

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
                                   31/3/14  1/4/13   31/3/14   1/4/13
The Right Honourable The Earl Grey    -       -          404      100
(Deceased 10th September 2013)
H. Thomas C.B.E.                     1,182   1,182     1,304    1,000
Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp                   -       -          237      100
Non-Beneficial Trustee Interests:
The Right Honourable The Earl Grey 220,000 220,000      -        -
(Deceased 10th September 2013)
H. Thomas C.B.E.                   220,000    -

H Thomas CBE 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 MHA MacIntyre Hudson, Chartered Accountants, be re-appointed Auditors of the Society.


Date: 3 November 2014
R.N. Arber, Secretary