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Fond farewells: what to do with ashes

Posted by AK Lander | On July 27, 2016 13:28

Trying to find a fitting way in which to remember a loved one after they are gone is among the most difficult tasks there is.

Cremation is now a very popular option after someone passes and by taking this option it gives the deceased’s family a variety of options of where to spread or keep the ashes.

From vinyls’, to rockets and jewellery to urns, there are a variety of things people can do with ashes that are an alternative to gravestones and other memorials.

In a bid to ease your decision, we look at the variety of options available to people who are still thinking about where to put the ashes of their loved ones.

In a vinyl

If the deceased loved music then you can keep their record spinning for eternity as And Vinyly offer families the chance to press their loved ones ashes into a vinyl recording.

Families can record a message, your own soundtrack, a last will and testament or can just listen to the pops and crackles. Alternatively, this can be your loved one’s favourite song.

And Vinyly have a range of packages available for people and pets with the basic package including the vinyl and cover, which includes the deceased’s name, date of birth and date of death.

A slightly more advanced package for people that would like more than the ashes to be pressed into a vinyl can consider purchasing a portrait for the vinyl cover. This option sees James Hague from the National Portrait Gallery paint a portrait of the deceased.

Wooden urns

If you prefer to keep your loved ones ashes in something slightly more traditional then the wooden urns from Pebblewood Urns are a great option.

Each urn is individually handcrafted and founder and creator of Pebblewood Urns, Davina Kemble, designs them to reflect nature’s beauty.

The biodegradable material emulates the rings of a tree and Kemble says it represents a lifecycle.

In an interview with Bath Spa she adds, “The pebble represents our lifecycle. It’s organic, yet accessible to all; something universal and yet unique. Just like the pebble is honed into its shape by the tide, we too are shaped by our experiences.

“It means that when our loved ones reach the end we can cradle them and it helps us keep that special connection beyond just life.”

As well as being able to purchase Pebblewood urns from the website, you can also buy them on the Etsy shop.

A reef

If you have a particular connection to the sea then Eternal Reefs may be the perfect choice. Through mixing your loved one’s remains into a reef mixture to create your own Eternal Reef you are able to give new life and help the ecosystem under the water’s surface.

Eternal Reef said, “Eternal Reefs is a unique memorial in a number of ways. These memorials provide a new habitat for fish and other sea life and will create natural reef systems in just a few years. We also encourage family members to participate and help create their loved ones.”

They are involved in all aspects of creating, placing and dedicating these memorials. Family members mix concrete and mix the remains. They personalise the Eternal Reef with hand prints, written messages, seashells and other small non-invasive mementos.

These Eternal Reefs quickly become more than their loved one’s memorial, they become a personal tribute to their lives that they made with their own hands. Families take emotional ownership of these Eternal Reefs and as they return home after the placement there is a real sense of accomplishment and contribution.

The entire Eternal Reefs programme is designed to be a positive experience and one of their families really said it best, "it’s not so much they are gone as it is, look what they are doing now".

Families can either use all, some, or even none of their loved ones remains to create the reef so if you decide you want to keep some of the ashes you can.

From space

From under the water to space. Stardust Ashes, which was founded by Chester Mojay-Sinclare in 2011, scatters ashes into the stratosphere, using environmentally-friendly balloons that carry the ashes to a height of up to 100,000 ft before releasing them.

The service is a unique and wonderful way to celebrate the life of your loved one. Stardust Ashes also offer families the chance to commemorate a pet by scattering their ashes on a regular launch or by scattering a pet’s ashes alongside a loved ones.

Stardust Ashes has been featured in the BBC World News, Metro, The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers, to name just a few, and offers the beautiful image of putting your star amongst those in outer space.

In a rocket

Sticking with the sky, the Model Rocket Shop offers a service where your loved one can literally be transported above through their Funeral Rocket Services.

So if your loved one is a Star Wars or a Star Trek fan or is just a science buff they can have their ashes launched into the sky and dispersed over a wide area from a great height.

Family members can choose whether they just want some of their loved ones ashes scattered by the rocket or want all the ashes released.

Launches can take place at day or night and the scattering of ashes within the earth’s atmosphere is considered as being more personal and local to some.

It is legal to scatter ashes anywhere in the UK, but scattering ashes by rocket are restricted in some areas of the country, for example sites near airports and cities.

Some launches can cost as little as £299, while other packages can cost up to £899. Services for the loved one can also take place before the rocket carrying your loved ones ashes is launched.


It is incredible what can be done with ashes. From memorial jewellery to turning ashes into glass, there are so many different ways of giving ashes a new life in the form of art or an object that you can keep close to you always.

Heart in Diamond is a company that can turn ashes into a beautiful and personal diamond gemstone. Priding themselves on the level of high-quality personal service that they offer to their clients, they are with you at every stage of the process that leaves you with an object that sparkles as much in their passing as they did in life.

Heart in Diamond, adds, “Your Living Bond. Continues to support and bring forward the same idea of a beautiful connection, a bond that the personal diamond brings to people while linking loved ones, memories, present and past.”

An environmentally-friendly urn

Families are often not sure what to do with cremation ashes once they have picked them up from the funeral director or the crematorium, but if you are looking for a particularly environmentally-friendly option then there are plenty of websites that can act as inspiration for your personal and individual plans.

Ecopod’s ARKA Acorn Urn, for example, offers a great eco-option for your loved one. The urn, taking the form of an acorn, is made from biodegradable materials, allowing your loved one to return to the earth they came from.

ARKA Acorn Urns are made from a mixture of recycled kraft, recycled newspaper and other recycled printed paper.

The stalk in the lid is tissue paper and the base is surfaced with paper made from mulberry pulp.

The gold-leaf effect is created using Dutch Gold Leaf, an alloy of copper and zinc.

ARKA Acorn Urns are made in the UK and can be purchased through any funeral director, or on the internet from a variety of websites.

Spread ashes around the world

Tré Miller Rodríguez from Modern Loss, a blog about life after death, suggests spreading your loved ones ashes around the world.

In her post about The 9 Things No One Tells You About Scattering Ashes she explains how she has spread her partner’s ashes at Lake Winnipesaukee, the Bahamas, Brazil, Connecticut, Cuba, England, Hungary and Texas.

Within the piece she shares a number of tips to help you spread your loved ones ashes around the world including getting a friend to help you transfer the ashes from the urn to a plastic bag and to scout a location that is perfect. 

Rodríguez says that she would recommend releasing the ashes with some freshly picked flowers into water as well as take photos of the flower and ash floating in the water so that the family members who are not there can see where their loved one has been spread.

Out with a bang

Fantastic Fireworks offers a service where a loved ones ashes can be spread via a firework.

This was first requested over 20 years ago and has since been hugely popular with the number of people opting for this kind of stunning ceremony increasing.

One client said of Fantastic Fireworks’ work, “As ever I knew I could rely on Fantastic Fireworks to provide a fitting farewell for Anita’s funeral. Her husband came over afterwards and said how much he and his guests had enjoyed them.”

Image Credit: And Vinyly, Pebblewood Urns, Eternal Reefs, Stardust Ashes, Model Rocket Shop, Ecopod.