Annual Report
Year Ended 31st March 2016

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:

  • hosts 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 to inform and educate the public on cremation related matters.
  • publishes annual directories of crematoria.
  • 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.

Trustees have had due regard to the Charity Commission’s public benefit guidance when exercising any powers or duties to which the guidance is relevant.


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 eight members and met five times this year. The day to day operations of the charity are managed by Miriam Deacon (Secretary) and her staff (Sue Jackson, Julie Forrest, Pauline Silk and Fay Leahy) to all of whom the Council offers warm thanks for their work and commitment.


Mrs Miriam Deacon was appointed Secretary of the Cremation Society of Great Britain in April 2015.  Mrs Deacon is also Editor of Pharos magazine and Julie Forrest was appointed Sub-Editor.

In addition to the day to day operational responsibility for the Society Miriam represents it on a number of other organisations in the sector and in its relations with government bodies and projects.

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 company is currently building a new crematorium at Gravesham in Kent.

The charity appoints the Trustees of the Golders Green Foundation which is an independent registered charity.

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 for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities. We are required to issue consolidated accounts of the Society and its subsidiary.

Trustee Training

To ensure 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 and are regularly updated on regulation and statutory changes.


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 £248,758 as compared to a gain of £597,009 for the previous year.


The Society’s investment portfolio is now managed by Sarasin & Partners who were selected by the Council to take this on in February 2016. It was previously managed by PSigma.  A formal review presentation is made to the Council at least once during the year by the Investment Fund Manager.

The London Cremation Company plc

During the year under review the Company’s profit before taxation amounted to £725,862.  In the previous year the profit before taxation amounted to £848,760.  The Company carried out 6,551 cremations during the year, a decrease of 42 on the previous 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 the same.


Cremation and Burial Communication and Education 2016

This year’s CBCE was re-branded as the Cremation and Burial Communication and Education event and was again held at the Holiday Inn Stratford-upon-Avon in July 2016.  Since the inception in 2007 of joint conferences this is the tenth occasion on which it has been held.  The event was jointly staged by the Cremation Society of Great Britain and the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities.

There was a good attendance with a diverse programme of interest to all sections of the death care profession.  Legislative issues included by Introduction of Medical Examiners and Reforms to Death Certification in England and Wales by Dr Alan Fletcher, Medical Examiner and Consultants Emergency Physician, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals; Ministry of Justice Update from Judith Bernstein, Joint Head of Coroners, Burials, Cremation and Inquiries Policy Team, Ministry of Justice and The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 by Dr Simon Cuthbert-Kerr, Senior Policy Lead, Burial and Cremation, Scottish Government.

Social and cultural issues were covered by All Things Dead are New Again: Debating Death’s Future(s) since 1970 by Dr John Troyer, Director, Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath; Responding to the Bonomy Report in Scotland by Dr Mary Ross-Davie, Education Project Manager Maternal Health, NHS Education for Scotland; Dealing with Disaster: Implications for death care professionals by Dr Anne Eyre, Independent Consultant, Trauma Training; Safeguarding our Digital Legacy by James Norris, Founder, Digital Legacy Association & and Review of Crematoria Provision and Facilities by Suzanne Kochanowski, Head of Race and Faith, Integration and Faith Division, Department for Communities and Local Government.

Practical operational aspects of cremation and burial were also discussed with presentations on The Future: ‘Memorial Park 2026’ by Leona McAllister, Commercial Director, PlotBox and The Modern Community Mausoleum by D Scott Odom, Director/Architect, GoldenAge – Mausoleum Solutions Ltd.

Historical matters were dealt with by a paper entitled Funeral Directors and the Promotion of Cremation: A Regional Perspective by Dr Brian Parsons, Funeral Service Training (London).

New Technology was covered by Resomation has the least impact on the environment by Sandy Sullivan, Founder and Director, Resomation Ltd and ecoLation by Tony Ennis, CEO, ecoLegacy.

The Presidents’ Panel chaired by Harvey Thomas CBE, included Presidents from the Co-operative Funeral Services Manager Association, Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, National Association of Memorial Masons and National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral

With the help of both sponsors and an increased number of exhibitors the event continues to be financially viable for the Society. 


In pursuit of its aim of "advancing the public education in the practice and ethics of cremation" the Council offers bursaries for attendance at CBCE events.  The bursaries cover the attendance fee and accommodation plus 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.  This year the bursary was awarded to Lindsay Udall, (PhD Candidate Archaeology & Anthropology University of Bristol 2010-2016; AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Award in partnership with the Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust).

Council for British Funeral Services

The CBFS offers the opportunity for representatives of death and bereavement organisations to meet twice yearly, by the kind invitation of the British Institute of Embalmers at Knowle. 

The meeting discusses contemporary Funeral issues.  Representatives report on their organisations' activities over the last six months.  Mrs Miriam Deacon and the Revd Dr Peter Jupp represent the Society.

Churches' Funerals Group

The Revd Dr Peter C. Jupp represents the Society on the Churches Funeral Group.  This ecumenical group, chaired by the Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, has met twice this year.  The agenda items have included: the Burial and Cremation Bill Scotland, the Code of Practice on Infant Cremations, the Communities Department survey on the multi-religious facilities at crematoria, the Death Cafe movement, DSS Funeral Payments, direct cremations and Parochial Fees.

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

Over thirty organizations with responsibility for death and bereavement issues meet twice a year at the MoJ.  Agenda items relevant to the cremation interest included: the new Act in Scotland and continuing issues following Lord Bonomy’s Infant Cremation Commission.

Mrs Miriam Deacon represents the Society on BCAG.


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, continued to work closely together to carry through the successful Burden-Sharing Scheme for Mercury Emission Reduction.  CAMEO has now reduced mercury emissions by more than 50% and this figure will continue to increase in 2016/2017.


The Society’s website at provides free access to 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.  The website is also regularly used as a reference source in connection with statutory crematorium planning matters.  It is accessible via the Public Archive Section of the UK Web Archiving Consortium at The site is being upgraded during 2016.

Additional Activities



The Society’s Head Office Team has completed a full review and update of the Members’ Register and we are re-establishing contact with Members whenever possible.

Pharos International

Pharos International is the leading subscription publication in Great Britain’s cremation movement. Its new format has been widely welcomed and it also offers an excellent outlet for advertising. It is one of the leading cremation publications worldwide with copies presently circulating in over 40 countries.

Directory of Crematoria

The Society’s annual Directory of Crematoria holds detailed information about crematoria in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.  It is the definitive publication of its kind. 

"questions people ask about cremation"

In response to many requests, on all aspects of Cremation and funerals, the Society has published this leaflet both in hard copy and on the Website.

Brecon House

Messrs Watson Day, Chartered surveyors, act as the Society’s property managers advising the Society, as landlord, on all aspects of its responsibilities, particularly with regard to health and safety issues.  Necessary and appropriate risk assessments continue to be carried out regularly and their recommendations implemented.  The second floor has now been cleared and refurbished and several viewings have taken place.

The ground floor was let to new tenants in May 2016.  The property represents a significant investment for the Society.

The Society is now planning to improve toilet facilities and access for the disabled.


The Society's Archives are stored at the University of Durham's Palace Green Library (Special Collections Section). The archives have been greatly increased this year as further documents from the Society's Maidstone office have been transferred to Durham.

The Society's archives at Durham can be accessed via the internet at

The Dying Matters Coalition

During the year 2014-2015, the Council of the Society agreed to join the Dying Matters Coalition.

Golders Green Foundation

The Society has appointed Ian Dungavell and Stephen White as Trustees of the Foundation.


The Society continues to keep in close touch with all legislative developments and the Secretary Miriam Deacon will serve on the National Cremation Working Group in the current year.


The Society will continue to extend and consolidate its 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.

We have established a number of relationships 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.  We shall continue to contribute to any Inquiries or Reviews be relevant to the cremation profession.

The Society will also continue to press government departments for full consideration of additional methods of disposal, as an adjunct to cremation, together with appropriate criteria and regulations to qualify them to be practised in the UK. 


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 23 to the financial statements shows the surplus in the Society’s Unrestricted accumulated general fund at 31st March 2016 amounted to £814.  The equivalent figure for the Group is a surplus of £6,601,806..


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 implemented 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 £3,441,720.  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 (2015: £500K).  The Council believes this to be a fair market value at

31st March 2016 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:-

H. Thomas C.B.E
Dr. I. R. Dungavell
Professor H.J. Grainger
Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp
Mr. C.F. Rickman
Mr. M. Stronach
Mr. S.R.G. White
Professor G.F. Woodroffe

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 £61,000 during the year ended 31st March 2016 (2015: £49,500).

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
                                   31/3/16  1/4/15   31/3/16   1/4/15
H. Thomas C.B.E.                     1,182   1,182     1,484    1,404
Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp                   -       -          421      337
Non-Beneficial Trustee Interests:
H. Thomas C.B.E.                   220,000 220,000

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 Begbies, Chartered Accountants, be appointed Auditors of the Society.



Date: 1 November 2016
M.L. Deacon, Secretary