A MAJOR two-year £2.1million refurbishment programme at Southend Crematorium has been completed.

Key to the refurbishment is a special webcam facility for mourners who are unable to attend a funeral.

Almost every aspect of the crematorium in Sutton Road has been improved and now meets stringent new Government legislation. The building is more energy efficient and refurbishments to the chapels, toilets, lighting, garden areas and ponds have been carried out.

A Wesley music system is now available, making it much easier to source music for services.

The system also offers professional audio and DVD recordings.

Andrew Moring, Southend Council’s executive councillor for corporate support services, said: “These tremendously detailed works have upgraded all areas of the crematorium.

“New laws required us to put new equipment in place, and while undertaking those necessary changes, we took the opportunity to make many other much-needed improvements.

“It is a very difficult time for people, so we have done our best to make sure the surroundings and ambience of the crematorium are as welcoming as possible.

“It is also very commendable this huge amount of refurbishment work has been undertaken while causing minimum disruption to the day-to-day crematorium operations.”

As well as the chapel refurbishments, the building has a new cremator and filtration equipment which complies with new laws on mercury abatement. The facilities are also designed to accommodate larger coffins.

Essential upgrades include a new electricity supply with a new electricity substation.

Improvements were also carried out to fencing at Southend Cemetery.