Two crematoria in County Durham have donated a total of £24,000 to local charities supporting people with cancer, thanks to funds raised through a recycling scheme.

Daft as a Brush, which provides bespoke hospital transport services for cancer patients, has received a cheque of £12,000 from Durham Crematorium. Meanwhile, Children’s Cancer North, which supports children with cancer and their families, has also received £12,000 from Mountsett Crematorium.

Durham County Council, which runs Durham Crematorium in partnership with Spennymoor Town Council and Mountsett Crematorium in conjunction with Gateshead Council, is a member of the Metal Recycling Scheme run by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM), which recycles metals that are left after a cremation.

Following agreement from bereaved families, metals such as orthopaedic implants and the materials used in the construction of coffins are recycled by the ICCM, which then shares the proceeds between charities chosen by the committees of each crematorium.

The ICCM also asks that nominated charities are those which support people affected by serious illness, end-of-life care or bereavement.

Graham Harrison, the council’s bereavement services manager, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the generous families who have kindly donated these recycled metals to charity.

“Despite going through a very difficult time themselves, their consent has ensured that local charities continue to be supported and can provide help to other people facing a challenging time.”

The recycled metals scheme makes a huge difference to the communities it serves, all while making the least possible impact on the environment.

Maud Sterne, community and events fundraiser at Children’s Cancer North, said: “We are extremely grateful for this substantial donation, particularly to the families who have selflessly thought of others in a time of their own grief.

“The money will be put to great use locally, funding vital research at Newcastle University and supporting children with cancer at Great North Children’s Hospital. This is where all children who are diagnosed within our region get treated and the money will help us in our mission to make life better for children with cancer.”

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