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County Durham Crematoriums have raised thousands of pounds for charity through a program that recycles metal body parts and coffin fixings left over after cremations.

Non-compostable items such as coffin fixings and orthopedic and dental implants are collected for recycling with the consent of bereaved family members. Profits are then donated to charities and organizations that support those affected by serious illness, end-of-life care or bereavement.

This year Durham Crematorium has raised and donated £12,000 to Daft as a Brush, a charity which provides ‘bespoke hospital transport’ services to cancer patients. Mountsett Crematorium also raised £12,000 and donated the money to Children’s Cancer North, a children’s charity which supports both patients and their families.

Community and event fundraiser for Children’s Cancer North, Maud Sterne, said the charity was “tremendously grateful” for the donation and praised the families, who showed selflessness in a moment of grief.

“We are extremely indebted to the generous families who kindly donated”

Graham Harrison

She said: “The money will be used extensively locally, funding vital research at Newcastle University and supporting children with cancer at Great North Children’s Hospital. This is where all children diagnosed in our area are treated and the money will help us in our mission to improve the lives of children with cancer.

Graham Harrison, director of bereavement services at Durham County Council, said: “We are extremely indebted to the generous families who have kindly donated these recycled metals to charity.

“Although they themselves went through a very difficult time, their consent has ensured that local charities continue to be supported and can help others facing difficult times.

The recycling program is run nationally by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management. Since 2011, £145,623 has been raised for charity through this scheme.

Image: Durham County Council