Safety measures will be in place to protect mourners at the funeral of Dawn Sturgess, who was exposed the nerve agent Novichok in southern England earlier this month.
Funeral directors have taken advice from health officials to ensure that “everything is as safe as it can possibly be,” the Rev. Philip Bromiley, who will be officiating at the service, told CNN.
“Public Health England has made sure the coffin is in situ, and I know that there has certainly been a lot of liaison going on between the crematorium and funeral directors,” Bromley said, adding that “nobody has any genuine concern.”
The family of Sturgess had requested that no pallbearers be used “because they would like to have about 15 minutes or so of quiet time” with her coffin.
Sturgess, 44, died on July 8 after she and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were sickened by the deadly Soviet-era nerve agent in Amesbury, England, just over four months after the poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in March.
Police said the Amesbury couple had been exposed to the same military-grade nerve agent after touching a contaminated item, though there has been no suggestion they were deliberately targeted.
Investigators say that a small bottle found in Rowley’s home was the source of the poison – a bottle the couple had believed to be perfume.
Rowley, who was discharged from the hospital on July 20 after recovering from the exposure, will be attending the funeral, Bromiley said.
The local community “desperately wants Salisbury to return to a sense of normality,” Bromiley explained, saying prayers for peace “but also for the whole community” will take place during the funeral ceremony.