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Privacy Notice and Frequently Asked Questions

How do I purchase a grave?

You can purchase a grave by coming into the crematorium office and selecting which plot you would like to buy. You can purchase a grave for full burials or for cremated remains.

What are the costs?

A grave for one to two full burials costs £804 for St Helens residents, and a grave for three full burials costs £994 for St Helens residents.

A cremation plot, holding four or six caskets (six caskets only available at Newton-le-Willows Cemetery) costs £661 for St Helens residents.

How long do I own the grave for?

When you purchase a grave the lease is for 50 years. If after this initial period you need to use the grave again, you will need to renew the lease at a cost of £268 for a further 50 years for St Helens residents.

What happens if the grave owner dies?

When a grave owner dies and someone would like to take on ownership of the grave, you would have to make a claim for ownership. The Bereavement Services team can help you with the necessary documents.

How many people can be buried in a grave?

Graves can be purchased for one, two or three full interments. Cremation plots can be purchased for four or six interments.

What memorials are available?

After your loved one has passed away there are many ways you can commemorate them. You can purchase memorials for display at both Newton-le-Willows and St Helens cemeteries. Memorials available include entries in the Book of Remembrance, wall plaques and granite tablets, tree or bench leases.

Application form to apply for a memorial work permit

Who is responsible for a grave memorial?

The maintenance of the garden area and any memorial on the grave is the responsibility of the grave owner. It is the responsibility of the grave owner to keep the cemetery and crematorium office informed of any change of address for contact purposes, should the need arise to contact them.

As time goes by, the surface of the grave will settle down and drop, making mowing more difficult. So from time to time the council will, at its discretion, add soil to the grave and surrounding area to bring it back to a proper level. This is done without any cost to the grave owner.

What size headstone is allowed in the cemetery?

The maximum size for any memorial is 1016mm/40" (1118mm/44" including stone plinth) in height and 914mm/36" in width. The maximum depth of the memorial base is 304mm/12".

Double memorials are allowed, but these will be subject to an additional fee and must not exceed 1016mm/40" (1118mm/44" including stone plinth) in height and a maximum 1828mm/72" width.

Can I buy a memorial from a mason of my choice?

St Helens Borough Council holds a list of registered stonemasons who carry out work in both St Helens and Newton-le-Willows cemeteries. You may use one of these stonemasons to carry out the work you require.

If you feel that a stonemason that's not on our list should be added, they can apply to be put on it. Any mason will have to be BRAMM (British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons) registered or part of an equivalent scheme. Please contact the Bereavement Services team for more information.

What can I place on a grave?

If the owner of the grave wishes to plant a small garden at the head of the grave, then this is allowed, as long as the garden area does not exceed 610mm/24" from the headstone into the grave, nor does it exceed 914mm/36" in width. This area can be enclosed with small kerb edgings that are made of stone or wrought iron, and only small plants that will not reach a height greater than 18”/450mm on maturity shall be planted in this area.

It is the policy of the council that all new graves (with the exception of section 89) are of the lawn type, where the headstone is placed on a foundation at the head of the grave and the main part of the grave is in the form of a level grass lawn. Therefore, kerbstones, chippings, pebbles, statues, windmills, toys, plastic trees and any other style of ornamentation are not allowed to be erected or placed upon or around the graves.

Section 78, 79, 79a, 85, ,87a and 88a are the only sections within St Helens Cemetery where an extended garden is not permitted.

To apply for an extended garden, contact the Bereavement Services team by calling 01744 677406.

What religious ceremony can I have and must there be a religious ceremony?

Religious services or ceremonies prior to cremation may be performed in the Crematorium Chapel. Alternatively the whole service may be conducted in a church or other religious building followed by a short commital ceremony performed at the Crematorium. It is the next of kin who decides what service, if any, will take place.

You do not have to have a religious ceremony, sometimes non-religious ceremonies take place. The Institute of Civil Funerals or Humanist Society can offer more information about how to arrange a non-religious service.

What happens during cremation?

Cremations will be carried out according to ‘The Code of Cremation Practice’, which has been set out by the Federation of British Cremation Authorities. St Helens Crematorium is a member of the FBCA. A copy of ‘The Code of Cremation Practice’ is available upon request.

What happens to the cremated remains?

A family member or the funeral director can pick up the cremated remains for private disposal. If you wish for the remains to be put into a casket then your funeral director or the crematorium can arrange this. If no casket has been requested the remains will be released in a heavy duty cardboard box.

Cremated remains can be interred or scattered in St Helens and Newton-le-Willows cemeteries.

For more information, see Arranging a Cremation.

Can I witness the committal of the coffin?

If representatives of the deceased person ask to see the coffin placed into the cremator, this will be permitted but will be limited to two persons only. This request must be made before the day of the funeral.

How do I know I will get the right remains?

Throughout the cremation process the deceased is assigned a unique cremation number, which is printed, along with the name of the deceased, on a card and this is with the deceased's coffin at all times. Only one coffin can be placed in the cremator at any one time and is kept separate throughout the cremation process so there can be no mix up of remains.

What is exhumation?

Exhumation is the removal of remains from the ground. This may be to transfer the remains to another site, or for other reasons.

What is a coroner?

Coroners are used to find out the cause of sudden or unexplained deaths. This usually involves a post mortem and inquest if the cause of death is not natural or in other circumstances.

Can you locate a relative’s grave for me?

If you come to the Crematorium Office we can help you to locate a grave by searching our records and providing you with a map of the cemetery. Alternatively you can search for a grave using our deceased search and printing off a copy of a cemetery map.

Why are graves dug so deep?

Graves need to be deep enough to allow the depth of coffins/caskets to be buried and allow the legal requirement of soil between each coffin and the amount of earth to cover the last interment.

How do I register a death?

You can register a death at St Helens Register Office. Any death that takes place in St Helens must be registered in St Helens. A death is usually registered within five days of the date of death.

St Helens Borough Council Bereavement Services Privacy Notice

Information about how the Cemeteries and Crematorium Service uses your personal data

St Helens Borough Council Bereavement Services are committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services. This Privacy Notice explains how the Cemeteries and Crematorium Service (as a Data Controller) collects, uses and protects personal data that we hold.

Data Controller

St Helens Borough Council is the data controller. This means it decides how your personal data is processed and for what purposes.

St Helens Borough Council
Bereavement Services
St Helens Crematorium
Rainford Road
St Helens
WA10 6DF 

Personal Data

Personal data relates to a living individual who can be identified from that data. Identification can be by the information alone or in conjunction with any other information in the data controller’s possession or likely to come into such possession.

Issues of how data is handled are dealt with by the council's Data Protection Officer, who can be contacted by email at dataprotection@sthelens.gov.uk.

As a public authority, we must comply with all relevant legislation relating to data handling.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is the supervisory authority in the United Kingdom established to ensure that your data rights are upheld. See Formal Resolution below for the ICO address.

Categories of personal data we hold

Obtaining, recording, holding and dealing with personal information is known as 'processing'.

Information collected by the Cemeteries and Crematorium Service:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact telephone number
  • Email

How departments within the council collect and use your personal data

St Helens Borough Council has overall responsibility for a wide range of public services across our local authority area and it is necessary to collect personal data to enable those services to be delivered to residents.

St Helens Bereavement Services process your information in line with Data Protection Regulations. The lawful basis for processing personal data is to comply with the Cremation Regulations 2018 and Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977.

Providing a service

We hold the details of those people who have requested a service in order to provide it. However, we only use these details to provide the service requested or for other closely related services.  


St Helens Borough Council Bereavement Services provide discretionary memorial information, available within the service, in order to inform users of our services, which may interest you. This personal data is collected only where you provide your consent that you wish to be informed.  

You are able to and have the right to unsubscribe or ask for your data to be erased when you no longer wish to receive marketing information.

The source of personal data

The vast majority of personal data we hold will have been provided to us directly from you.  

In addition to this, St Helens Crematorium/Cemetery has CCTV for the interest of safety.

How we protect your data

We will take appropriate steps to make sure we hold records about you (on paper and electronically) in a secure way, and we will only make them available to those who have a right to see them.

People we share data with

Data will only be shared with others where it is to enable a requested or statutory service to be provided. This could be where we collaborate with other agencies, for example Funeral Directors, to open a grave for a burial to take place.

Transfer of information required by law

We also share personal information where we are required to do so by law. Examples include where we are required to publish or report matters to the government, to assist law enforcement agencies to prevent, detect and prosecute crime, to protect the vital interests of the person concerned or to comply with a court order.

How long we keep your data

Data is held for no longer than is necessary and the council follows legal, financial and regulatory requirements as well as professional best practice on how long information should be kept before destruction or archiving.

Information will be kept for a maximum of 15 years from the date the paperwork is received at St Helens Crematorium or until such time as the data is reviewed by us. However, applicant and grave record details will remain on the cremation register or grave record indefinitely to comply with the Cremation Regulations 2018 and Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977.

Transfers outside the European Economic Area

We do not share personal information beyond the European Economic Area (EEA).  

If ever a situation arose that your personal information might be transferred outside of the EEA, you would be notified beforehand and consent sought if required and recorded, providing that does not conflict with a legal obligation imposed upon the council.  

Your data rights

Right to be informed

We must be completely transparent with you by providing information 'in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language'. Our privacy notice is one of the ways we try and let you know how data is handled.

Right of access

You have the right to access your personal information except where:

  • It contains confidential information about other people and the council has to balance the rights of other individuals
  • Includes information a care professional thinks will cause serious harm to your or someone else’s physical or mental wellbeing
  • information which may prejudice an investigation if disclosed

Right to rectification

You have the right without undue delay to request the rectification or updating of inaccurate personal data.

Right to restrict processing

You can ask for there to be a restriction of processing such as where the accuracy of the personal data is contested. This means that we may only store the personal data and not further process it except in limited circumstances.

Right to object

You can object to certain types of processing such as direct marketing. The right to object also applies to other types of processing such as processing for scientific, historical research or statistical purposes (although processing may still be carried out for reasons of public interest).

Right to erasure or 'right to be forgotten'

You can request the erasure of your personal data when:

  • the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which it was collected and processed.
  • the council’s lawful basis for processing your personal data was consent and you no longer provide your consent and there is no other legal ground for the processing, or
  • you object to the processing and there are no overriding legitimate grounds for the processing. The Information Commissioner regulates data handling by organisations in the UK and works to uphold the data rights of citizens. The Information Commissioner's website provides more information on the rights available to you.

Withdrawing consent

If you consented to providing your personal information for marketing purposes to us and you have changed your mind and you no longer want the council to hold and process your information, please let us know. In the first instance please contact the relevant department.

Withdrawing consent should be as easy to do as when you provided consent in the first place. If that isn't your experience with a particular service, it is important you let us know of your difficulties so that we can put that right.

If you encounter any difficulties in withdrawing consent, please contact the council's Data Protection Officer by email at dataprotection@sthelens.gov.uk or by writing to: Data Protection Officer, St Helens Borough Council, Town Hall, Victoria Square, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1HP.

The council does not carry out automated decision-making, and as such any decision taken by us which affects you will always include human intervention. We do on occasion carry out profiling to enable us as a local authority to target services to those in society who are in need of help and support and who may suffer harm without our assistance.

The right to complain about data handling

The council sets very high standards for the collection and appropriate use of personal data. We therefore take any complaints about data handling very seriously. We encourage you to bring to our attention where the use of data is unfair, misleading or inappropriate and we also welcome suggestions for improvement.

Informal resolution

In the first instance we would ask that you try and resolve data handling issues directly with the relevant department before applying for a formal resolution.

Formal resolution

You can ask for your issue to be investigated by our Information Complaints handler in writing by email, phone or website.

If you are dissatisfied with the resolution of your complaint, you can request a review by the Data Protection Officer by email at dataprotection@sthelens.gov.uk or by writing to:

Data Protection Officer, St Helens Borough Council, Town Hall, Victoria Square, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1HP.

If you remain dissatisfied following an internal complaint, you can lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner: 

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Tel: 0303 123 1113

Changes to our Privacy Notice

We regularly review our privacy notice and encourage you to check it from time to time. This notice was last updated in December 2018. 

Privacy Notice for live streaming 

Privacy notice for live broadcasting of funerals.