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Mobile phones ring changes for funeral etiquette

Research from The Co-operative Funeralcare has revealed that even in death there is no escape from the ping or ring of a mobile phone.

A study has found that the majority of Britons find the use of mobile phones at funerals as unacceptable, but one in six own up to having made or received a call, texting or using social media when they should have been paying their last respects.

Research by Funeralcare found that funerals topped the list of the most unacceptable places or activities to use a phone, ahead of driving, at the cinema or during a wedding.

However, despite Britons being universally against the use of mobile phones at a funeral, two out of five won’t even turn their phone off. Of those, three out of ten would put it on silent, yet one in 10 steadfastly refused to turn the sound down or turn it off.

One in 16 admitted to having received a call or text or e-mail message by accident, while one in six people have seen someone at a funeral frantically trying to turn off their phone that had started ringing.

Examples include a mourner in South Wales texting throughout a funeral service. At the graveside, as the coffin was being lowered in the ground, the same mourner’s mobile phone rang, with the theme tune, “If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.”

A separate survey of funeral directors conducted by The Co-operative Funeralcare found that almost one in five funerals, which they had arranged had been interrupted by the sound of a mobile phone ringing or pinging.

Operations director David Collingwood said: “We are witnessing a cultural shift in society’s stance on funeral etiquette. Although people universally despise the use of mobile phones at funerals, many exercise double standards by frowning upon the use of mobiles by others when they are unwilling to turn the sound down or turn their own phone off.

“As people become ever more time-pressed and ever more welded to their phones, the use of mobiles has become commonplace at events which would have been considered unthinkable only a few years ago, and none more so than at a funeral.”

The research also showed that one in 12 people have had to leave a funeral early because of work commitments while one in 20 men said they had checked work e-mails at a funeral and just under one in 20 had been called by their employer during a funeral over a work issue.

Among workers, marketers were the worst offenders for taking work calls or leaving their phones on while one in seven bankers believed it acceptable to make or answer a call at a funeral service.

Men were the most forgetful and likely to leave their phone on by accident while they were almost twice as likely to use their phone at a funeral compared to women. One in 20 men unashamedly used their phone while in a funeral limousine.

One in four Northerners admitted to leaving their phone on by mistake while Londoners and those from the South East were the most likely to make a call.

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