London, Jan 13 (ANI): A crematorium in the West Midlands, Britain, has had to expand its furnace to accommodate the expanding waistlines of the county's recently deceased.
The new cremator in West Bromwich has been expanded ten inches wider than the standard size and it is hoped will eradicate the embarrassing eventuality of a coffin getting stuck.
Since West Midlands was recently voted the fattest place in the UK, the obesity epidemic weights particularly heavily on local undertakers.
Their current contraption at West Bromwich Crematorium measures 840mm (35 inches) across - the new one will measure 1,100mm (43 inches), and will be installed as part of a 3.2m revamp of the site.
It follows reports that some funeral directors were charging families up to 1.60 pounds-a-mile to transport coffins hundreds of miles to be dispatched in super size cremators because they did not fit in the local one.
Ashley Savell-Boss, who runs Trinity Funerals, said he had previously been forced to take very large coffins and bereaved families on a 120-mile round trip to Northampton but insisted he always sought to absorb the extra cost.
"We try to always maintain the dignity of the recently deceased but there has been a noticeable change over the last decade or so," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"Most undertakers have looked after someone very, very large but you just have to ensure you have the staff numbers and vehicles to handle it," he said.
Other families have been told that despite the wishes of their recently departed, they will have to be buried rather than cremated because they will not fit in the cremator.
However, some local authorities and undertakers also charge extra for that service - to take account of the extra land used and digging necessary.
Brendan Day, head of bereavement services at the crematorium, said the new facility would prove a huge relief all round.
"It's such a sensitive time and a very distressing situation as it is, the last thing anyone wants to do is upset the family any more," he said.
"The cremators most people use at the moment are 20 years old but over the years we've seen an increasing number of coffins that are getting larger as bodies get larger.
"At the moment, we just don't know where that trend will end," he added. (ANI)