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Ashes dating back 40 years yet to be claimed


Unclaimed remains dating back to 1971 have been left in two funeral homes for decades, it has emerged.

 Douglas Mercer and Son, Bexhill and Banfield, and Pomphrey funeral directors, Hastings, have confirmed that 124 sets of ashes have been left with them over decades, and have now launched a joint appeal urging relatives to collect the ashes.

Currently there is no legislation in place stating how long ashes can be kept by funeral directors however some, like Douglas Mercer and Son, keep them for years. 

Staff at the two companies recently realised the extent to which unclaimed cremations had been left in their charge, and having searched extensively for the families decided to launch an appeal for them to get back in touch and claim the remains of their loved ones.

Funeral director Andy Murfitt of Douglas Mercer and Son, explained why so many sets of ashes have been left unclaimed for so long: “People could move, it could too painful, people could pass away themselves and leave no instructions.”

Image: Urn by Olympia Metal Spinners

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