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Brummies 'too fat for cremation'.

CEMETERIES are being forced to rebuild their crematorium furnaces as fat Brummies can no longer fit into them.

Coffins reinforced with internal wooden braces and strengthened plywood bases are being specially made for obese people who cannot fit into regular sized caskets.

And larger people, who need a coffin wider than 35 inches, are being forced to relocate their funeral as far away as London or Belfast as the Midlands crematoria cannot accommodate their weight.

David Bastock, of C Bastock Funeral Directors in Birmingham, said: "We are finding that people are more obese and we are having to build bigger coffins. But the problem is many of the crematoriums in the area cannot handle large coffins so we have to look elsewhere to cater for families who come to us.

"In the next five years this is going to be a big problem for bereaved families who have lost a loved one that is a bit bigger than average and councils will need to make their furnaces wider.

"So far this year we have had two cases where the choice of crematoria has been limited because of the size of the deceased.

"When someone comes to us and tells us their loved one was a big chap we know we will have to make a special coffin which will cost more but we never tell the families this or charge them more."

Robin Hood Crematorium, in Solihull, will have the largest facilities in the West Midlands when it is widened to 33 inches later this year. The next nearest Crematorium with larger furnaces are in Newcastle-under-lime or Blackburn. The biggest crematorium in Birmingham is 29 inches wide. The average width of a coffin is 22 inches and the normal size of a furnace is 28 inches wide.

Hazel Harding, of the Local Government Association, said: "This is just another demonstration of how the UK's obesity problem is putting a real strain on public services."
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 19, 2007
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