Family denied weekend funeral service - because they're not Muslims

Date published: 02 February 2009

A grieving family has been told they can not bury their loved one on a Saturday because they are not of the Muslim religion.

The seven sons and daughters of Ronald Rigg, who passed away on Friday aged 89, are travelling from as far as San Diego to pay their respects and requested a weekend service so that everyone can attend. But they have been told by Rochdale crematorium that only Muslim families or families with “extreme circumstances” can have such a privilege.

It is part of the Muslim belief to bury a deceased person within a day of their death, and although Rochdale Borough Council complies with this belief, they will not “pay overtime” to their funeral staff under almost any other circumstances.

The service is now to be held in Radcliffe, Bury, on Saturday, so that all the family can attend.

A family member said: “I’m pretty sure these are exceptional circumstances, it is such a shame we all have to travel, just so we can all make it.
“If Muslim families can have a Saturday service without any bother, why can’t we?”.

Derek Mack, cemeteries manager at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “We don’t provide routine funeral services at weekends, but in exceptional circumstances where a burial or cremation is required on a specific day we will consider the case put to us by the family. In the past we have accommodated such requests but we will look at the circumstances on an individual basis.

“We have an agreement with the local Muslim community that burials can take place at weekends to meet the needs of their faith and cultural customs.

“In these cases, council staff aren’t required as the burials are undertaken by the family using pre-prepared new graves”.

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online