07 November 2022

  • First national funeral provider to launch a new airborne ashes scattering service
  • Bereaved families can now scatter ashes by drone in memorable locations over land and sea
  • Option for family to attend and for the service to be recorded
  • More than a third (35%) of those who have cremated a loved one in the past five years opted to scatter ashes in a location of significance

The UK’s leading funeral provider, Co-op Funeralcare, is now offering customers the option of using a drone to scatter their loved one’s ashes. The new service, now available nationwide, will enable families to scatter ashes in special, memorable locations over land and sea, including at favourite beauty spots and sports grounds.

The service, which can be arranged though Co-op’s 800 funeral homes, is available to both customers who have arranged the funeral with Co-op, as well as those who have had the funeral elsewhere.

Aerial Ashes (1)

With 80% of families now opting for cremation rather than burial, and 35%** of people who chose cremation for their loved one opting to scatter ashes in a location of significance, the launch is part of Co-op’s new range of commemoration options for loved one’s ashes.

The service enables families to scatter ashes in harder to access locations such as out a sea, over rivers or at sports grounds and beauty spots. Families are fully supported to find a suitable space to scatter their loved one’s ashes with assurance that all the necessary permissions and conditions are in place to create a unique and special farewell.

Families will have the option to attend the scattering with friends and family to make the occasion memorable. Additionally, they can also choose the option to record the service.

Speaking of the launch, Gill Stewart, MD of Co-op Funeralcare said, “Our colleagues are dedicated to supporting the bereaved families we serve long after the funeral and the sky really is the limit now in terms of the choices that are available.

“Cremation has continued to grow at pace as a choice for funerals. We’re always looking at new and innovative ways to help families honour their loved one’s not just through the funeral service, but also through uniquely personal commemorative options for their ashes.”

Experienced drone operator and former RAF pilot, Chris Mace said, “Drones are increasingly being viewed a means of providing essential services in our society, with investment in creating drone superhighways being looked at as this technology use grows.

“The use of drones to provide new options to scatter ashes is an emerging and unique way that this technology can offer a truly memorable service. Ensuring that the right permissions are sought is essential and weather conditions must be favourable, but the use of a drone alleviates much of the worry when families want to scatter ashes in otherwise hard to reach locations.”


Notes to Editors

__For media enquiries, please contact: __Lauren Pogson / 07966 672112 / pressoffice@coop.co.uk

Video available here to see the drones in action.

About the research: Based on Co-op business data *YouGov fieldwork undertaken on 28th – 31st October 2022. Total sample size was 2053 adults of which 1030 UK adults have experienced the bereavement of a loved one in the last 5 years The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Co-op: Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates over 2,500 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5000 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited.  Employing almost 60,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of over £11billion and is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.