Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, today welcomed Dignity’s announcement to increase the age limit on its long standing policy of free funerals for children.
Dignity has increased the age limit from under 17 to under 18 bringing it into line with the recently announced government Children’s Funeral Fund.
Carolyn Harris has led the successful campaign for free child funerals since 2016. In April the prime minister announced the establishment of a Children’s Funeral Fund, which will waive the costs of burials and cremations for the families of some 4,300 children who die each year in England.
Dignity, which has always offered free child funerals, has provided support to Ms Harris during her campaign which will result in local authorities offering free burials and cremations to under 18 year olds.
Carolyn Harris met with Dignity at one of its nationwide network of select funeral directors and crematoria, Graham J Sullivan Funeral Directors, in Swansea.
Carolyn Harris MP said: “I am very grateful to Dignity for increasing the age limit on free funerals to children under 18. Thanks to funeral directors such as Dignity providing their services free of charge for under 18s, bereaved families in England and Wales have less financial worry at such an incredibly distressing time.
“It is bittersweet to visit Graham J Sullivan Funeral Directors for today’s announcement as they looked after my Martin with such care and respect and have continued to support me throughout my campaign for a Children’s Funeral Fund.”
Andrew Judd, director of funeral operations at Dignity, said: “Carolyn Harris has fought tirelessly on this campaign and we are delighted that her efforts have paid off. Wales and now England are setting the rest of the UK a great example and we hope that Scotland and Northern Ireland follow suit.
“With the announcement of the Children’s Funeral Fund we felt strongly that our own policy needed a slight amendment to reflect the age that has been announced.”
He added: “Dignity is committed to helping the bereaved whilst they are dealing with the loss of a loved one, and doing so with compassion, respect, transparency and care. In the tragic circumstances where a parent loses a child, it is more important than ever that the funeral sector and local authorities work together to support bereaved families.”