SOME people are now being cremated at York Crematorium without any funeral service and with no relatives attending because of the lockdown, a funeral director has revealed.

Hayley Owen said she had four or five funerals arranged at which family members had decided it was too dangerous to attend because of their own age and health conditions, and because they wanted to adhere to the lockdown restrictions.

Her comments came as a York resident contacted The Press to tell of her disgust that people could still attend funerals in York, unlike the situation in Leeds, where mourners and services have been banned.

Leeds City Council announced last month that no new bookings would be taken for chapel funeral services due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that any arrangements booked from then on would be cremation-only services with no attendees.

The resident said: “I’m shocked and appalled that City of York Council has not gone to direct cremations, as Leeds Council has done on March 20.

“I understand how emotive funerals can be but I think we need to be restricting any kind of provision in order to flatten the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.”

The Press put the resident’s comments to City of York Council, which was originally expected to announce changes at York Crematorium yesterday. However, a spokeswoman said later that it was probably not ready to issue a statement yesterday after all.

Hayley Owen said she had handled the funeral on Monday of an elderly York woman who was "very religious", and who would almost certainly have had a big church funeral had it not been for the coronavirus crisis.

Instead, there wasn’t even a service at the crematorium in Bishopthorpe, because her sons felt they couldn’t safely break the lockdown and travel to York to attend.

“There was no service at all,” she said.

“One of her sons had just emailed me a few words which he asked me to read out, which I did.

“I think there will be a big memorial service for her later, when all this is over.”

She said she had four or five other funerals to come which relatives had chosen not to attend, because of their own age and health conditions, and because of the need to adhere to the lockdown.

“And yet at the same time you see other stupid idiots gathering together in parks as if there’s nothing wrong,” she said.

Another York funeral director, Martin Rowley, said family has been in attendance at every funeral he had been involved in, and a number of funeral directors had chapels of rest, where families could say goodbye to their loved ones while keeping to social distancing advice.