6,000 people held a Pauper Funeral last year, up 26%

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According to an investigation, basic burials of 6,000 people, including a newborn baby, were paid for by their local municipality last year. Mirror.

There was a 26% increase in “public health funerals” for people who died in poverty or without a close relative.

The record total for services known as Pauper’s Funeral rose 26% year-on-year. A Paupers Funeral sometimes contains no services, no flowers, and remains placed on an unmarked plot.

Among the youngest of those who ended up this way last year was “Baby Ruja,” who died the day she was born in Doncaster and was cremated four months later.

The oldest were Frances Oldridge, 101, in Southampton, and Maxima Andreo, 103, in Barnet, North London.

Christina Martin, of Wealden Council in East Sussex, held and attended 11 public health funerals last year.

“National Insurance is increasing, municipal tax will also increase. People will not have enough money for a funeral – even a simple funeral can be £4,000.”

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Mirror compared data from 362 of 371 councils in Britain and found that last year there were 5,875 funerals of the poor, with the true total close to 6,000 – or one in 100 deaths.

The increase in Chelmsford, Essex was 700% from three in 2019 to 24 last year.

London was hit hard with a 46% increase between 2019 and 2020, with Birmingham City Council having the highest number in 2020 with 507 (25% increase).

There was a 538% increase from eight to 51 in the London Borough of Barnet.

Most were cremated, but if it is clear that the deceased preferred to be buried, they are placed in an unmarked common grave.

Relatives are tried to be contacted to attend a funeral, but – if no one comes – a municipal employee is usually present to serve as a sign of respect.

Some are turning to cheaper direct cremations, where a body is collected and the ashes are returned without service.

Christina said: “The reason we have public health funerals is because you can’t have an untreated corpse.

“My job is to go inside and do a more thorough search after the police and ambulance have gone.

“It’s not always an easy task. If someone isn’t found for weeks, there will be a stain in the shape of the sofa or the carpet.

I can find an address book with my relative under the sofa. Then the bin needs to be removed and the food in the fridge rots.

“I am looking for valuables and they are being held while the family search continues.

“If he has no family, they go to the mansion and are used to pay for the funeral.”

Christina arranged for the funeral of a woman who was found in the waters of nearby Cuckmere Haven with only underwear and some jewelry.

Her identity remains unclear, but publicity surrounding Christina’s efforts meant that more than 115 people attended the funeral.

Christina also reunited two separate siblings at another funeral.

He said: “They sat apart and didn’t even look at each other until the ritual was over. Outside the crematorium, he opened his father’s backpack to give away his collection of porcelain pigs. That was all, and they fell into each other’s arms. That’s the power of a funeral.”

Another man, Alan, died alone after his wife died, and the couple had no children. Christina said: “All of Hailsham turned out to be for her. The chip shop is closed for the day.

“When people say how sorry they are, no, not necessarily.

“Just because he doesn’t have 2.4 kids doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a great life. Everyone knew Alan.

Christina also attended the funeral of a 47-year-old recluse who fled from her home when the lockdown first began and died in her car.

He said: “I’m really interested in people and their stories stay with me. Sometimes I feel like I have a conga dead person behind me.”

Funeral director Jeremy Field said: “For many people, it’s not easy to find £3,500-4,000 in a short period of time. While so many people are losing their jobs, that doesn’t help.

“The government’s donations to funeral rites in exchange for certain donations do not cover the costs, and the number of those who qualify for it has decreased.

I think that has pushed more people to public health funerals.”

He said: “On the day of the funeral, they really didn’t know it was a public health funeral.

“If you have a public health funeral, you cannot have the ashes returned to you. And if it’s a funeral and you don’t own the burial plot, then you can’t have the gravestone.”

“I remember a funeral for a veteran. There was no one. My funeral director was a standard-bearer in the British Legion and earned the respect of one of the legion.

“Funerals are for getting together. Not having anyone there doesn’t help shape the perception that life is important.

“But people find themselves in these positions.”

Some of the public health burials

William Houston

William Houston committed suicide after telling a psychiatrist that he was depressed because he couldn’t work while on leave.

An investigation heard that he had sold his car and gambled on the proceeds to end his money worries.

But he lost everything.

He was under the care of a mental health crisis team following a previous suicide attempt.

Crisis worker James Pullen went to his home in Glos, Newent on July 12 and found a note that read: “Sorry it ended this way.”

The Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust said Mr Houston’s risk of suicide was rated as “moderate”.

Andrew Ventin

Church organist Andrew Ventin died in November. Liverpool City Council said his family had been traced but had “no funds”. Ten years ago, Andrew drew a crowd in Chester when he started playing toy keyboards at his local B&M store. He was carrying the notes for Mass at St Andrew’s Church of Scotland that Sunday and decided to practice a little.

Church Clark John Henderson said: “Andrew was so busy playing that he barely realized he was starting to catch the attention of the humble but growing number of shoppers who stopped to hear what was going on.

“She found herself being complimented on her pulling power and encouraged to put down a hat to help the store’s nominated charity – which she continued to do for a while.”

Matthew Gilbert

Matthew Gilbert, the former head gardener of Wolterton Park, died at the age of 47 in July last year.

Bosses at the Norfolk country house said online: “She has been sick for a while. He did a great job for us…we all miss him.”

Tomasz Patrykiewicz

Polish mechanic Tomasz Patrykiewicz, 51, died in May after falling down the stairs at his home in Southampton.

Host Dildar Bhatti said, “He was my tenant but also my friend. He was a lovely man.

“I’m not sure but she tripped on the stairs. Her roommates called me and I found her dead there. I was able to get a message to her daughter in Poland. Facebook” Tomasz’s Facebook profile records the many days he spent with his daughter, whom he describes as “my angel”, and the last photo he posted was “my little granddaughter”.

Ian Boycott

Town singer Ian Boycott toured the United States under the stage name Tommy Fallon, appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, and befriended Johnny Cash.

Ian moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 1983 and returned to Staffordshire in 1991.

He turned pro in 2003 and had some chart success.

Former bandmate John Green said the “live wire” Boycott struggled to quit drinking and tobacco and was hospitalized six times with minor strokes and stomach ulcers in 2013 alone.

He died in March last year at the age of 66, a week in quarantine, and the Forestry Dean’s Council held a public health funeral for him.

Agra and Edgar Krauklit

Mother and son Agra and Edgar Krauklitis died in a house fire in July last year. The couple had lived in Dover, Kent for ten years, and Adgar was a factory worker.

Four fire trucks were involved in the fire, and a spokesperson said at the time: “The exact cause is not yet known, but it is believed to have started accidentally in the bedroom area.”

Agra’s son – and Edgar’s brother – Raimonds Krauklitis, who lives in Latvia, told the local newspaper she was worried after she stopped contacting him on Facebook: “I always hoped they wouldn’t die. They were just part of the family.

“In early 2013, our brother died, and a few months later, our father died. So until this event, only me, my brother and my mother remained, but now they are gone.”

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