Cremation guru tells of wildest ashes requests from fireworks to space launches

An ashes guru is on a mission to inject some life into the 'Victorian and macabre' world of death.

Since packing in his job in the wine industry, 31-year-old Matt Morgan has helped bereaved families celebrate their loved ones in a serious break from tradition.

Matt told the Daily Star how there is no reason why all funerals should be the same stern and sorry affairs which he proved to 1,000 families during the pandemic.

Remove the formalities of a funeral and suddenly can ashes can be launched in fireworks or even to space for £1,000, Farewill's Head of Funerals Matt says.

"We've had people saying 'bury me in a coffin shaped like a gin bottle', we've flown ashes all over the world, we work with a company who send ashes up to space and scatter them in space."

Matt from Bristol continued: "We deal with the nuts and bolts of it then go back to the family and we have celebrants and partners who we introduce people to, who can do awesome things with the ashes.

"Whether that's planting a tree with them or sending them up as fireworks or taking them to space.

"I think it's around £1,000 and it gets sent up in a helium balloon and you get live stream footage of the ashes being released."

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Coronavirus restrictions had a massive impact on funerals in the UK as large gatherings were banned and ceremonies were either live streamed or skipped.

Matt explained the tough measures meant more people were looking to him to sort something out of the box.

He said: "Over the last 12 months one in five people have had a cremation without a crematorium, (direct cremation).

"That's not just because they don't want the service, it's because they don't want the weird Victorian bit.

"They want to get the ashes back and scatter them on a beach or take the person out to sea, they want to have a fireworks display with their friends and family or maybe they don't want to do anything at all."

With Farewill, which he helped build from scratch in California, US, Matt believes he is leading something of a revolution in putting the fun in funerals.

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He said: "There's this real turning point in the industry. For people who want it, half of people now want their funeral to be described as a celebration of life rather than a funeral and I think that's a really big thing you see.

"They used to focus entirely on the loss with black clothing and crying in the crematorium but every life is different ands also it's an opportunity to celebrate the person when they're gone.

"For people who want it there is an element of fun like wear a big hat and silly glasses to the funeral or have a cocktail and a party after you've got the ashes back."

Meeting new people and revealing his job title has definitely proven to be interesting, Matt says.

While some are stunned at his role around death, others have turned to him as a guru in the field.

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"It tends to divide the crowd," Matt said. "I reckon about 20% of people are just totally shocked also the older generation in particular just broadly think it's a distasteful thing to be doing at all with my life.

"But about 80% of people are desperate to talk to me about it because no one else will, they'll talk about the funeral that went wrong like the vicar's phone kept on going off or someone dropped the coffin or whatever.

"So yeah it opens the door to some interesting conversations."

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