This is what a live streamed funeral is like for families during the pandemic
Families have shared their experiences of what a live streamed funeral is like as numbers of those attending services are restricted during the cornavirus pandemic.
Sunderland City Council’s online funeral streaming service, Obitus, has helped families across Wearside gain closure by allowing them to virtually attend funeral services so that they can say goodbye to loved ones.
The council began its streaming service on May 4, 2020, and 288 services have now been live streamed from Sunderland Crematorium.
The streaming service is free while the social distancing restrictions at the crematorium remain in place.
Currently up to 30 people allowed at a socially-distanced service, however, the responsibility for restricting the numbers sits with Funeral Directors.
The family of Gwendoline May Outen, who sadly died in May, were among those who decided to live stream the funeral service, to allow more people to say goodbye.
Daughter Rowena Gilchrist, said: “Relatives from further afield who weren’t able to travel were happy they could be part of the funeral service, and some people even watched it later via the link.
“It was very difficult not being able to have the funeral we would have wanted but being able to watch the service back again has brought us some closure, and we are planning to hold a get-together in her memory when it is safe.”
Wheatley Smith, who planned friend Robert Waugh’s funeral, also chose to use the streaming service to allow a larger number of Robert’s loved ones to take part.
He said: “I am amazed it was even possible, I was really happy we were able to invite more of Robert’s friends to pay their respects in this way.
“Many of his friends and family were shielding or self-isolating and they really appreciated that they were still able to take part in the ceremony.”
Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Michael Mordey, said: "It's unfortunate that many people have not been able to pay their respects in person because of the emergency measures put in place to comply with Covid-19, but I am pleased that the live streaming has helped people going through this difficult time.”