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Coffin Maker Reveals that Size of Caskets in UK are Getting Bigger

coffin at a cemetery

Grieving loved ones may need to pay more for a bigger burial plot as well as coffin, adding an extra £400 – £500 to the average burial cost of £4,927 (Credits: Getty Images)

A man who makes coffins in Essex has revealed that the size of UK caskets and burial plots are getting bigger, with around a fifth of his coffins now being made as ‘extra large’.

Speaking to Dr Michael Mosley as part of his Who Made Britain Fat documentary, which aired this week on Channel 4, Steven Mitchell of Compare the Coffin explained that some of his larger caskets measure 23 inches wide.

Which means that as well as the cost of a larger coffin, grieving loved ones may need to pay more for a bigger burial plot, adding an extra £400 – £500 to the average burial cost, which is £4,927, according to SunLife.

Some families have even chosen to buy two plots to lay their dearly departed to rest, in case their coffin is too big for a single plot.

Mitchell added that even if a family chose a cremation there could still be issues, as the biggest coffin he ever had to make was 39 inches – far bigger than the size of a traditional crematorium of around 30-33 inches wide.

However, while in 2008 it was reported that over 90% of cremators were unable to accommodate larger cremations (over 32 inches in width), by 2018, the majority had been adapted to accommodate up to 42-inch-wide coffins.

Grieving loved ones may need to pay more for a bigger burial plot, adding an extra £400 – £500 to the average burial cost of £4,383. (Picture: Channel 4)

Steven Mitchell explained that some of his larger caskets measure 23 inches wide (Picture: Channel 4)

On the show, Mitchell said that addressing an increase in coffin size was sometimes a difficult conversation to have with families who had just lost their loved one.

‘When I’m speaking to people, quite often the widest part of the person is no longer the shoulders [it’s their waist],’ he told Dr Mosley.

Meanwhile Frances Alcock, of Opals Family Led Funerals told Metro.co.uk, that pallbearers are also noticing a difference in the weight of coffins they are carrying.

‘One recently told me they had to have eight bearers to carry a coffin the other day,’ she said.

In data released by the NHS in 2021 it was found that a record number of one million people in England were admitted to hospital in 2020 due to obesity.

27 percent of men and 29 percent of women in England are obese in England, and one out of five children are obese by the time they have left primary school.

Following the pandemic, there are now fears that obesity may have worsened Covid symptoms, with a review by public Health England concluding that being overweight or obese puts people at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid.

However, It isn’t only coffins that have had to adapt for the growing size of Britons.

Over the years, there have been reports about how hospitals in the UK have had to invest in extra-large equipment and furniture, such as beds, hoists, stretchers, and wheelchairs, capable of holding larger patients.

‘As the prevalence of obesity grows, in addition to the impact on the overstretched health care resources, there will be significant impact on the infrastructure,’ explains Dr C. Rajeswaran, Consultant at The London Obesity Clinic.

‘As we see more and more people being affected with obesity and its related co-morbid conditions, the infrastructure including public transports, ambulance, hospital beds, and medical equipment will all have to be altered to suit people with morbid obesity.’

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