A CREMATORIUM in neighbouring Stirlingshire, which opened last week, could benefit bereaved Wee County families by providing services closer to home.

Stirling Crematorium is offering services and a garden of remembrance in Bannockburn.

Local funeral director Steven McIntyre, or Roy & McIntyre Funeral Home, said the privately-owned facilities are a “welcome addition” to existing nearby ones at Falkirk and Dunfermline, offering more choice for the bereaved.

Families could benefit from a shorter journey to the historic village and funerals will work to one hour time slots, as opposed to the 45minutes offered at Falkirk.

However, Steven did explain that many locals had been cremated at Falkirk in the past and so many Clackmannanshire families will still have a strong connection there.

Ultimately, it will still be up to those grieving where the service should be held and how it should be arranged, but there is more choice with the new facilities now up and running, added Steven.

It is understood all local funeral directors will be able to arrange services at the Bannockburn-based crematorium, which is located on the site of the former hospital there off the A9 Falkirk Road.

Bereaved families will be able to bury or scatter ashes in the garden of remembrance beside the crematorium building and to visit at a time of their choosing.

Forth Valley’s Thomas Cuthell & Sons’ Paul C Cuthell, based in Grangemouth, explained he had seen a year-on-year increase in cremations, which are much less expensive than burials.

And so it is hoped the Stirling facility, which has permission to carry out up to 1,100 cremations a year, will help divert some traffic from Falkirk as it has “become busier, which can result in an increase between the time of death and a funeral”.

Plans for the crematorium did draw some objections from locals in Bannockburn, but full planning permission was granted by Stirling Council with a host of conditions around traffic, working hours and more.

Donald Connor, crematorium manager, added: “The crematorium is set in a peaceful rural location, and we are looking forward to serving the public with sympathy, care and understanding on what is often a difficult day.”