Cremation and Burial Communication and Education 2016

The Holiday Inn Stratford-upon-Avon, Bridgefoot, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6YR
Monday 4th, Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th July 2016

Papers & Speakers

All Things Dead are New Again: Debating Death’s Future(s) since 1970
by Dr John Troyer PhD, Director, Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath

The future of death is almost always somehow about a forgotten past.  In the post-WWII English-speaking First World, social movement debates about the future practice of dying as well as the concept of death itself began crystallizing in the 1970s.  An enormous body of death research and discourse emerged over forty years ago that addressed class, gender, disease, and end-of-life acceptance issues.

Indeed, but for the emergence of twenty-first century digital communication technology and social media networks, 2016’s debates on the future of death more or less mirror the same 1970s issues.

My question for the CBCE delegates is not why this has happened (histories are forgotten and overlap all the time), rather I want to ask how a decade’s long production of death debate and research that specifically addressed the future of death (amongst other topics) seemingly vanished. Or, more than vanished, is almost entirely removed from contemporary discussions around the death taboo hypothesis, critiques of state intervention on the dying, and concepts of ‘natural death.’

Some key discursive points do emerge in this analysis.  The 1970’s never seem to fit twenty-first century future-nostalgia for a ‘better time to die’ when compared to the Victorian era.  The social and political movements from forty-years ago are also rarely identified as having made death a consciousness raising issue for future generations.  Finally, the emergence of HIV/AIDS during the 1980’s heavily shaped future understandings of 1970s death discourse.

If thinking about death’s futures can teach scholars anything it is this: all things dead will eventually become new again, including the 1970s.

Dr John Troyer is Director of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath.  He received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society and began working at the University of Bath’s Centre for Death and Society in September 2008.  He is a co-founder of the Death Reference Desk website and his first book, Technologies of the Human Corpse, published by the University of North Carolina Press will appear in autumn 2016.  His father, Ronald Troyer, is an American Funeral Director.

Funeral Directors and the Promotion of Cremation: A Regional Perspective
by Dr Brian Parsons BA, PhD, Dip FD, MBIFD, MBIE, Funeral Service Training (London)

This paper examines the promotion of cremation in the south London area where a significant number of crematoria opened between 1914 and 1939. Drawing from a range of sources, including funeral directors’ records, it seeks to provide insights into a preference away from burial that is at considerable variation to the national figure.

Brian Parsons has worked in the funeral industry in London since 1982. In addition to regularly contributing to journals he is the author of Committed to the Cleansing Flame: The Development of Cremation in Nineteenth Century England (2005) and The Undertaker at Work: 1900-1950.

Resomation has the least impact on the environment
by Sandy Sullivan BSc (Hons), Founder and Director, Resomation Ltd.

Having presented the technology several times at CBCE to date we will be looking at some user results so far and recent independent analysis of how Resomation truly compares to cremation and burial as far as impact on our challenged environment is concerned.

Sandy is the founder and Director of Resomation Ltd which is a division of the LBBC group based in Leeds. Resomation is dedicated to the global uptake of the alternative to burial and cremation based on high pressure alkaline hydrolysis which has clear environmental benefits over other disposition routes. Scottish of birth he has an honours degree in Biochemistry. Before Resomation Ltd Sandy was European President for an American company based in Scotland involved in using alkaline hydrolysis technology in other areas. Prior to that he worked for over 25 years in international based senior management roles for two other American Corporations, STERIS and Millipore.

by Tony Ennis, CEO, ecoLegacy

ecoLegacy™ has developed a disruptive, next-generation, environmental and ethical alternative to burial and cremation. It is called ecoLation.

Tony Ennis is an entrepreneur with a 25 year track record in building, launching and scaling international businesses. He founded an energy supply company in Ireland. As CEO he led it from a “start-up” to a company that broke the Irish energy monopolies winning a 30% market share, eventually exiting in 2011 when Glencore International purchased his company prior to their IPO.

Tony is founder and CEO of ecoLegacy and the company is his hobby, passion and mission in life.

The Future: ‘Memorial Park 2026’
by Leona McAllister BA (Hons), Commercial Director, PlotBox

The memorial park in 2026 will find multiple ways to reach existing and potential families, including personalised applications. Connected baby boomers and the average millennial will insist on doing business via digital means, pushing our industry to develop new and exciting platforms. Give people a reason to choose you, and then exceed their wildest expectations.

Leona is Co-founder and Commercial Director of PlotBox (Northern Ireland and California). PlotBox specialises in modern-day software and digital mapping solutions for cemeteries and crematoria. Leona’s job is to listen to the market’s needs and wants – her goal is to help the death profession understand, embrace and use technology to achieve theirs.

The Modern Community Mausoleum
by D Scott Odom, RA, Director/Architect, GoldenAge - Mausoleum Solutions Ltd

This presentation will consider the brief history of community mausoleums and their successful and modern application in cemetery properties.

A native and resident of the United States of America, Scott is an architect with over 15 years of comprehensive experience with America’s leading company for the design, construction and development of cemetery facilities. Responsibilities include client acquisition, concept development, production coordination, and construction implementation. He has broad experience in the cemetery design and construction industry with an exceptional skill in the application of architecture. His primary expertise is on public /community mausoleums, columbaria, cemetery planning, and associated buildings. Initially educated in studio art as a printmaker and then in architecture, Scott has recently expanded his profession to serve the United Kingdom and he is pleased to be continuing a family tradition of integrity in the practice of architecture with a unique perspective. He founded Mausoleum Solution Ltd through a partnership with a UK colleague who shares the same experience and enthusiasm for the cemetery industry.

Responding to the Bonomy Report in Scotland
by Dr Mary Ross-Davie, RM, MA, PhD, FHEA, Education Project Manager Maternal Health, NHS Education for Scotland

A description of the multi-disciplinary co-ordinated response to Lord Bonomy’s Report on infant Cremation. The presentation will particularly focus on the educational response to ensure all professionals involved in advising parents about infant cremation have the most up to date information.

Mary trained as a midwife in Nottingham from 1992-1995 and then worked in London in both hospital and community roles for nine years.

In 2004 Mary moved to Scotland where she worked as the Sure Start midwife and consultant midwife in the Scottish Borders.

From 2009 – 2012 Mary undertook her PhD at the University of Stirling. Her PhD research focussed on the way in which continuous one to one midwifery support can improve labour outcomes. Since 2012 Mary has worked as the Educational Project Manager for Maternal and Child Health for NHS Education for Scotland (NES) where she has a responsibility for continuing professional development on issues relating to maternal health across Scotland.

Dealing with Disaster: Implications for death care professionals
by Dr Anne Eyre PhD, Independent Consultant, Trauma Training

This presentation will cover the following:

  • Managing mass fatalities – are you ready?
  • Disaster victim identification and disposal – why do we do it and what this means for you
  • Addressing the ritual and symbolic aspects of death management

Dr Anne Eyre is a sociologist specialising in psychosocial aspects of major incidents and disaster management. She works independently providing presentations, training and consultancy services for various organisations planning for and responding to critical incidents, including those involving sudden, traumatic and mass death. Her focus is on understanding and addressing the needs of people affected by and responding to traumatic events and ensuring these are at the heart of planning, processes and procedures.

Safeguarding our digital legacy
by James Norris, BA (Hons), Founder, Digital Legacy Association &

The Internet is the biggest and most disruptive force for change since the industrial revolution. The average person in the UK now spends more time using technology devices than they do sleeping (Ofcom 2014). This has changed the way we behave and communicate with one another. It has also changed the way we prepare for death and remember those we have lost. James’ presentation will examine a number of these changes and their sociological impact. He will provide advice as to how we can better prepare for death online and in doing so help safeguard our digital legacy. James will also explore the role of funeral directors and how they can use technology to better support those they serve.

The Digital Legacy Association was setup to support end of life and palliative care professionals in areas relating to digital legacy and digital assets. They do so through training, campaigning, events and providing best practice frameworks. provides tools, tutorials and resources for the general public. They empower people to make better end of life decisions and to utilise technology in this process when it is relevant for the individual to do so. DeadSocial has been featured in a variety of mainstream publications ranging from BBC Click, The Guardian and the Daily Mail to Vice Magazine and the Queen Latifah show.

Over the last four years it has been James’ mission to help people prepare for death in both the digital and real world. James is also a lecturer in digital media and social media at University College London (UCL).

Review of Crematoria Provision and Facilities
by Suzanne Kochanowski BA (Hons), MSc, Head of Race and Faith, Integration and Faith Division, Department for Communities and Local Government

This presentation sets out the background and content to the Review, and issues where the Department welcomes the views and experience of crematoria providers.

Suzanne joined the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2002 on the civil service Fast Stream. She has worked on planning, homelessness and regeneration policies. She has also spent time in the Cabinet Office, firstly in the Economic and Domestic Secretariat co-ordinating Government policy and most recently as private secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg MP. Suzanne’s current role is as Head of Race and Faith. Her responsibilities include race equality, racial discrimination, minorities including Gypsy, Roma and Travellers, faith engagement and inter-faith policy.

Introduction of Medical Examiners and Reforms to Death Certification in England and Wales
by Carolyn Heaney, Deputy Director, Portfolio Management, Public & International Health Directorate, Department of Health, and
Dr Alan Fletcher, Consultant Emergency Physician and Medical Examiner, Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

This presentation will give an overview of the proposed introduction of Medical Examiners and reforms to the process of Death Certification in England and Wales.

The reforms are expected to be introduced from April 2018. Consultation will have recently ended (15 June 2016), and the consultation report (expected September 2016) will provide direction in preparing for implementation. The presentation will include an overview of the reforms, their context, provisional timetable, impact and evidence.

Carolyn is a career Civil Servant with over 26 years’ experience in the Department of Health.  Her career history has covered a wide and varied range of areas of NHS, public health and social care policy development and delivery, most recently and significantly including:

As Deputy Director - Third Sector Programme, she led a strategic review of DH third sector funding and investment, leading to strategic partnership and alignment with third sector organisations in relation to mutually supporting priorities.

As Deputy Regional Director - Social Care & Local Partnerships, Carolyn provided strategic leadership at the interface of local government social care, public health and the NHS, in Yorkshire & Humber region - supporting local government and adult social care engagement and influence in NHS reforms and delivery of improved outcomes for quality and productivity.

As Deputy Director – Immunisation, she led and supported development and delivery of England’s world-class national immunisation programme, working together with national partners in Public Health England, NHS England, local government and others in the health and care environment, and across Whitehall with Department for Education and other departments.

As Deputy Director - Portfolio Management, among other priorities Carolyn is currently providing strategic leadership for implementation of long-anticipated reforms to the death certification system in England through establishment of a system of independent medical examiners - working together with partners across Whitehall (HMT, DCLG, Home Office, MoJ, GRO, ONS), LGA, SOLACE, local authorities, funeral directors, RCPath, NHS Improvement, PHE and NHS England.

Alan is Lead Medical Examiner in Sheffield. He has pioneered this role since March 2008 as part of the Department of Health's death certification reforms and the experience gained has helped inform policy and strategy as well as the Francis report at Mid Staffordshire; he has personally reviewed over 15,000 deaths. He has responsibility for the training of prospective medical examiners as National Clinical Lead for e-learning and is a member of several DH committees, including the Death Certification Reforms Implementation Board. He is Chair of the Royal College of Pathologists Medical Examiners Committee.

Ministry of Justice Update
by Judith Bernstein, MA (Oxon), LLM, Joint Head of Coroners, Burials, Cremation and Inquiries Policy Team, Ministry of Justice

Judith will provide an update from the Ministry of Justice on coroner, burial and cremation law and policy.

Judith Bernstein has an MA in Modern History from St Anne’s College Oxford and an LLM from University College London. She qualified as a solicitor in 1981.

Judith started her Civil Service career advising the Social Security and Child Support Commissioners before transferring to an administrative position at the Judicial Studies Board, and then to a policy role in administrative justice. In her current role, Judith provides advice to Ministers, coroners, burial and cremation stakeholders and others on the law and policy relating to coroners, burials, cremations and inquiries as well as dealing with the day-to-day handling of policy and casework, correspondence from MPs, coroners and the general public.

The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016
by Dr Simon Cuthbert-Kerr MA, PhD, Senior Policy Lead, Burial and Cremation, Scottish Government

This presentation will provide an overview of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 which was recently passed by the Scottish Parliament. The presentation will discuss the changes that will be brought about by the new legislation, particularly in relation to cremation. The 2016 Act will introduce increased scrutiny of the funeral industry as a whole, including new powers of inspection. The presentation will consider what this will mean for those involved in cremation and will also set out how the new legislation will be implemented.

Dr Simon Cuthbert-Kerr has worked for the Scottish Government since 2004. He has worked in a number of policy areas, including public health, adult protection, civic participation and planning. He has extensive legislative experience, including developing new legislation for adoption and mental health. He recently led the team which took the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 through the Scottish Parliament, and will be responsible for the implementation of the Act, including the development of regulations and guidance.