Stories

August 2019

Is social media the future of grief?

Traditionally if a loved one passes away; we send a sympathy card to their family, writes Sarah Seaton. But these days, in the age of social media, we see an increasing number of public Facebook messages on people's profiles for grieving friends and relatives.

Card game helps people talk about death

A new card game launched by Huunuu is helping people have important conversations about death, dying and funerals.

Good Funeral Awards 2019: who are you nominating?

The AGFD Good Funeral Awards will be held this year at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve in Hythe, Kent, on 19 October – hosted by the Association of Green Funeral Directors.

New football urn looks a winner

A stunning wooden urn made in the shape of a football is proving a winner for Colourful Coffins.

Lancs awards go to Champs

Champ Funeral Services in Clayton-Le-Moors, Accrington, Lancashire, landed two major awards in the 2019 Hyndburn Business Awards.

July 2019

Boot Hill – the cowboys' final resting place

If you trawl back through old Western movies, you will inevitably come across Boot Hill.

Queen breaks Royal tradition

Her Majesty the Queen was due to break royal tradition earlier this month by attending the funeral of one of her most loyal and long-serving members of staff.

Dying in the Ditch: church gets people talking

Up to 20 people a month have been gathering at a local pub to talk about death and bereavement.

Stephen Brown: new independents in Blyth

Now open for business on Bridge Street in Blyth, Northumberland, are Stephen Brown Funeral Services, looking to provide a service that is professional and caring, with a friendly face.

'Grief counselling has saved my life'

A sea of sunflowers was being planted at a High Peak hospice to celebrate the memories of loved ones.

June 2019

Talk to someone you can trust

You can’t care for others if you don’t look after yourself. Mental health matters acutely for funeral professionals, says Catherine Betley

Ireland: mortician to open water cremation centre

A former mortician is planning to open the first Irish facility offering water cremations, reports The Cremation Society of Great Britain newsletter.

Special opportunity to talk about death

A special event aimed at encouraging High Peak people to talk about death, dying, bereavement and loss took place at Blythe House Hospicecare in Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Forward-looking rebrand for Neville

Neville Funeral Service has  revealed a new company name and branding as part of the firm’s ongoing growth and development. The 140-year-old independent family firm has eight branches across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Scattering Ashes up for family business award

Scattering Ashes business owners Karen and Richard Martin have been nominated as finalists in the South Region of the Family Business of the Year Awards. 

May 2019

Resting Places: St Andrews Cathedral, Fife

Relics, a dramatic setting – and a place in golfing history: the old cathedral of St Andrew in Fife, Scotland, along with its ancient graveyard, has it all ...

Plymouth event supports families affected by suicide

Around 20 Plymouth funeral directors have taken part in an event which hopes to give more guidance and support to families left grieving after their loved ones have taken their own lives.

D-Day veteran Glenville laid to rest

One of the last airborne veterans of the D-Day landings has been laid to rest, reports the BBC.

Books that help bereaved children

As a new wave of emotional wellbeing books for children hits the market, meet Clare Shaw, an author of therapeutic stories covering tricky subjects such as bereavement.

Celebrant in Sahara trek for air ambulance

An intrepid Lincolnshire funeral celebrant will be taking part in a gruelling 100-kilometre trek through the Sahara Desert to raise money for the air ambulance, reports the Rutland and Stamford Mercury.

March 2019

Maori couple a Netflix hit

A Maori couple in New Zealand who felt drawn in their early 20s to start their own funeral business in the capital Auckland have become unlikely Netflix stars.

Holocaust survivors attend unknown remains burial

More than 1,000 people attended a funeral for six unknown Auschwitz victims whose remains were donated to a museum, with some 34 Holocaust survivors accompanying the casket to the burial site.

Wales: detectorist unearths Iron Age ritual haul

Parts of an Iron Age chariot found by a metal detectorist have been declared treasure by the Pembrokeshire coroner, reports the BBC.

New crematorium includes electric charging point

Westerleigh Group opened its 32nd Crematorium late last year at Fladbury near Evesham in rural Worcestersire.

Cremation Society chair to step down

Harvey Thomas CBE has announced that he will retire from the role of Chairman of the Cremation Society in July this year.

February 2019

Funeral customs: Crestone, Colorado

The mountain town where open air cremation is legal, thanks to the End-of-Life Project ...

Scots encouraged to 'pay forward' a funeral

Scotland’s only charity-owned funeral director ran a Christmas fundraising campaign to support bereaved families.

Funeral sitcom Morbid pilot now online

Twelve years ago, Michael Dee wrote a sitcom set in the world of funeral directing, entitled Morbid. The independent actor, writer and filmmaker filed it away as a project for another day.

How can funeral directors help shape CMA probe?

Trudy Feaster-Gee and Richard Butterworth from Walker Morris LLP give their view

Mermaid tribute created by Brum florist

This stunning lifesize floral tribute based on Disney’s Little Mermaid was handcrafted by a florist in Birmingham.

January 2019

Funeral customs: Switzerland

Throughout Europe, funeral customs differ from country to country, and Switzerland is no different to this, standing out as one of the countries with a high rate of cremation – around 80 per cent.

Dying Matters 2019 - are we ready?

For the last couple of years, Dying Matters Awareness Week has challenged us all to answer a question: What Can You Do? How can we help ourselves, or families and our communities face up to death and bereavement? 

Lions launch new child bereavement resource

Crewkerne funeral director Tracey Warren from Stoodley & Son was among those invited to attend the launch of Life Changes 2, a new resource from the Lions Club aimed at funeral directors and those working with bereaved children and young people.

First female chief appointed by Central England Co-op

Central England Co-operative has announced the appointment of Debbie Robinson as the Society’s new Chief Executive – the first female Chief Executive appointed in the Society’s history.

Caledonia Cremation lands new award

The country’s only not-for-profit funeral director, Caledonia Cremation, was named “One to watch” at the UK Social Enterprise Awards in London last month.

December 2018

Resting Places at Christmas: Finland

For most people, Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends with food and gifts. For many Finnish families visiting the local cemetery on Christmas Eve is very much a part of Christmas rituals. 

School hosts sessions tackling death taboo

Youngsters in Burton have been talking to a funeral manager and a local vicar about bereavement in an effort to end the taboo around talking about dying.

Koffin start-up uses 3D printing

Liverpool start-up Koffin is using advanced material testing and 3D printing technology to help create its first batch of customisable eco-coffins, with support from business programme LCR 4.0.

50 years for fittings specialists

Flying the flag for British-made coffin handles are Herefordshire-based James and Williams Ltd, and the company celebrate 50 years involvement in the funeral industry this year.

Quarter of a century for funeral director Ruth

A Central England Co-operative Funeral Director is celebrating more than 25 years of helping families say goodbye to their loved ones.

November 2018

Funeral customs: Mexico's Day of the Dead

Find out how marigolds, tequila and sea shells all have their part to play in the extraordinary riot of colour that is Mexico's Day of the Dead ...

Exploring a good death

This year’s Ideal Death Show and Good Funeral Awards, championed and organised by Brian Jenner, took place in Bournemouth. Editor Russ Bravo went along for the ride

Manchester street named after war hero

A new street in Hyde, Greater Manchester, has been named in honour of a fallen war hero killed in action in Afghanistan.

Shirley relaunch for David and team

Staff at Central England Co-op plus guests gathered recently to mark the relaunch of a funeral home in Stratford Road, Shirley in Solihull.

Hanging up his top hat after 38 years

“It all began with a phone call from my Vicar on Christmas Eve 1979,” says long-serving Funeral Director Paul Murray, who is stepping away from the industry after 38 years.

October 2018

Taking the Lead: the Quaker

Sharon Barnard talks to funeral advisor Gilly Lee who has been serving the West Somerset Area Meeting for the last 10 years

Design innovators create burial pods

Italian company Capsula Mundi has introduced organic, biodegradable burial pods as an eco-friendly solution to the ongoing issue of full cemeteries and burial grounds.

Crowd-funded headstone for William Blake

A two-year amateur investigation to locate the exact place where the poet William Blake was buried resulted in a grand unveiling of a new crowd-funded headstone recently.

Tutors target more flexible training

Two East Anglian tutors have teamed up to make the Diploma in Funeral Directing more accessible to students that feel they are too busy to commit to intensive studying.

Tributes for Tori as trip comes full cycle

Joining the Tributes Customer Care team recently is Tori Bush, eldest daughter of Chairman Richard Bush, who recently returned from cycling solo around the world.

September 2018

'99% of funeral homes turned me away'

Funeral care professional and bereavement counsellor Lianna Champ, who became the youngest qualified female funeral director in the country in the 1980s, explains what’s changed for women, and why she’s written a book about grieving. Sharon Barnard reports

Brompton cemetery in £6.2m restoration

A £6.2m investment has restored and conserved Brompton Cemetery in West London, revealing architectural splendour, uncovering hidden heritage gems and preserving a historic landscape and a wildlife haven for communities in a densely-populated part of the capital.

Merton schools resourced to help bereaved children

More than 40 Merton primary schools are to be given free guidance on how to support suddenly bereaved children.

Rare bears to help us remember

Meet Mr Ted E. Bear, member of the Royal Bear Force, who takes centre stage in a very special Remembrance Day window display from Colourful Coffins.

Stepping down after 35 years

A Bromsgrove man is planning a well-earned retirement after stepping down from his role as a funeral director after more than 35 years with the same firm.

July 2018

Resting Places: Okunion Cemetery, Japan

The largest and most spectacular cemetery in Japan is the historic Okunoin Cemetery, situated at Mount Koya.

Eulogy research: ‘can I have Stephen Fry?’

In a recent survey of over 50s commissioned by funeral plan provider Ecclesiastical Planning Services, respondents commonly answered that they would like their son or daughter to read a eulogy at their funeral service.

Funeral director in biker helmets campaign

Funeral director and motorcycle enthusiast Sam Massey is appealing for donations of old motorcycle helmets, to help train firefighters on how to safely remove a helmet following an accident.

Gold status for Redditch bereavement team

The Bereavement Services team at Redditch Borough Council has received gold charter status for cremations, and silver for burials, following a detailed assessment by the Institute of Crematorium and Cemetery Management (ICCM).

‘I genuinely love my job’

A Liverpool funeral arranger has received national recognition for her work after being chosen as the Co-op Funeralcare Employee of the Year.