British crematorium offers online funerals
A crematorium in Britain is offering bereaved friends and relatives worldwide the chance to watch funerals of their loved ones on the Internet, a local authority in Wales said Wednesday.
Virtual attendees can access services held at Parc Gwyn Crematorium in the town of Narberth as they happen and for seven days afterwards -- or buy a copy on DVD.
Pembrokeshire council said the idea was to make people "feel part of a memorial service without being there in person".
"Sometimes people discover that their relatives have a problem attending for some reason, so this offers some consolation," said crematorium superintendent and registrar David Seaman.
"Last month for example we provided the service to a family who had just moved to Australia."
Access to the webcast is strictly controlled by the family of the deceased, the local authority stressed, with a password required to log on.
Although the online service has only been requested around a dozen times since it was introduced a year ago, local officials are confident it will grow in popularity.
"We introduced this new service as an option for family members or friends of the deceased who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend a funeral service in person," said Pembrokeshire councillor Ken Rowlands.
"They may live across the other side of the world, they may be elderly or they may be infirm or unwell. Whatever the reason they cannot attend, it can make a difficult situation worse."
© 2011 AFP