Coronavirus: Newcastle cemetery offers live-stream funerals

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Floral tributes at West Road Cemetery
Image caption,
Newcastle City Council said it hoped the streams would offer "some comfort" to loved ones

Mourners unable to attend funerals because of social distancing guidelines are being given the option of watching live web streams of the services.

Newcastle's West Road Cemetery will offer the online service from Thursday with private links given to grieving friends and family.

The free streaming option can be booked through funeral directors.

Newcastle City Council said it hoped the streams would offer "some comfort" to loved ones during the pandemic.

The number of people able to attend a funeral in the city is currently limited to 20.

Cameras have been placed at the back of the east and west chapels, which will focus on the lectern and area where the coffin rests, with audio also provided.

"While social distancing is essential to protect the NHS and save lives, we appreciate it can be heartbreaking for people unable to attend funeral services," said John Paul Stephenson, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and public health.

"While web streaming is no substitute for saying our final goodbyes, it is the next best thing, so our officers in bereavement services were tasked with coming up with an alternative for the public."

Mr Stephenson added the "overwhelming majority" of people had accepted the current restrictions on mourner numbers and "see it as part of the strange times we live in".

A 28-day download facility and a copy of the service on disc or USB stick will also be available for a fee.

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