Stories

August 2021

FCA regulation of funeral plans survey: make your feelings known and raise money for Hospice UK

An exclusive FSJ survey in association with Funeral Solution Expert

Wilcox issue warning after online scare

Since the pandemic began, there has been a 300% increase in reported cybercrimes*; here at Wilcox, we recently discovered one of our customers and long-standing friends had a terrible experience, writes Wilcox Limousines managing director Jade Wilcox Webb.

UK Commission on Bereavement launches to explore impact of pandemic grief

Working in partnership with a number of UK charities, and with researchers leading an academic study on the issue, a UK Commission on Bereavement through and beyond Covid-19 has been established to explore the impact of mass bereavement suffered during the pandemic and make recommendations to better support bereaved people.

From horse-drawn carriage to limo

An established County Durham family funeral business is celebrating a century of serving its local community.

Ambler strides out to raise £1,700 for Alzheimer’s charity

A determined funeral director walked 850,000 steps around Leeds to help fight Alzheimer’s at a time when traditional fundraising activities haven’t been possible.

July 2021

New book tackles teens and bereavement

Author Clare Shaw has drawn on her own experience in putting together a new book to help teenagers and young adults dealing with bereavement.

Green imperatives drive sector towards sustainability

Climate change and the urgent need for more environment-friendly practices are high on the agenda for many funeral businesses. In this news feature, Sharon Barnard takes a look at what’s going on ...

Creative Covid memorial design winners announced

Six people have been chosen to make their mark in history after their designs were chosen to be etched onto Covid-19 memorials at crematoria all over the country.

Cards aim to help last wishes conversations flow

Embarking on the subject of death and dying can be pretty tricky! With this in mind, Last Wishes – Live Your Legacy have designed a set of cards that empower people and bring awareness to the many choices available when planning a funeral.

Crunch move: how 5,000 crisp packets are helping keep London homeless warm

The Barnet community has donated over 5,000 crisp packets to a local funeral arranger who turns them into warm foil blankets for London boroughs with some of the highest levels of homelessness. 

May 2021

Environmental Stewardship Group launches to help meet climate challenge

Organisations operating in the cremation, burial and cemetery fields have joined forces to launch a new group to address the environmental challenge of the years ahead.

Cenotaph restoration work progresses well

A team of specialist stonemasons has been working hard on the restoration of a cenotaph in a Derbyshire park.

'FCA regulation is to be embraced'

Regulation will only formalise what funeral directors have done for years – put families and their loved ones first, says Golden Charter’s Suzanne Grahame

N Ireland: tablets donated to care homes and schools

Funeral directors across Northern Ireland donated computer tablets to help care home residents and schoolchildren stay connected with their families and their learning during lockdown restrictions. 

April 2021

NAFD welcomes FCA consultation on funeral plan sales regulation

The NAFD has responded to a consultation paper issued by the Financial Conduct Authority which sets its draft rules and approach to regulation of funeral plan providers.  

Nominate a colleague for an #EverydayHero award

A new weekly funeral award has been launched to recognise the unsung heroes working selflessly in the sector to serve families during the pandemic.

Furlough led to Norfolk grave tending business

A flourishing new grave tending service in north Norfolk began pretty much by accident.

Lincolnshire celebrant receives ‘Shining Star’ award

A funeral celebrant who works in Hull and across Lincolnshire has received an award after she achieved a distinction in her diploma in grief and bereavement, while balancing her study, working in full-time celebrancy work and dealing with the end-of-life care and death of her own mother during lockdown.

November 2020

National Funeral Exhibition 2021 postponed for a year

Safety concerns over Covid and issues with venue availability have led to the postponement of next year’s National Funeral Exhibition at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, until 2022.

Off-set a funeral the Wild way

Full Circle Funerals, is paying for a tree to be planted for every family it supports whilst off-setting the carbon of its funerals, after teaming up with Make It Wild, which is planting tens of thousands of trees across the local countryside.

Preparing for the worst, hoping for the best

Julian Atkinson from JC Atkinson outlines how the company is preparing for the months ahead ...

Harmony team raise £4k in charity skydive

Staff from Harmony Asian Funeral Directors have been flying high – literally.

October 2020

Govt needs to trust us more, says DMAG

A ‘lessons learned’ report put together by DMAG (Death Management Advisory Group) on how the funeral industry allied with Government has coped so far with Covid-19 has made recommendations for improving response to any future increase in deaths.

Bereaved need ‘support bubbles’ says charity

The charity Sue Ryder has marked six months since the first recorded death from coronavirus in the UK by calling on government to allow ‘bereavement support bubbles’.

'Welcome - now go home' start for Nathan

As machine software designer and engineer Nathan Moseley enters his sixth month of working at Resomation, it’s only now he is getting to meet the wider team and starting to work with his new colleagues.

Kate returns after challenging year

A Derbyshire funeral director is putting a challenging year behind her as she makes a return to Castle Donington to lead a brand-new funeral booking office.

May 2020

Funeral singers offer free videos for bereaved - and aim to raise hospice funds

The London Funeral Singers, an independent provider of professional singers, choirs and instrumentalists for funeral services around the UK, is offering those who could not have the funeral they wanted personalised video recordings as tribute to their loved ones, with all proceeds going to Hospice UK.

Restricted funeral services to continue

Given the continued importance of social distancing and the significant risk of a second peak of infections, there are no significant planned changes to funeral services in any part of the UK at the present time.

Mortality modelling research warns of second peak

Some regions of the UK could face a significant second peak of coronavirus deaths post-lockdown, accordingly to mortality modelling commissioned by the NAFD.

Prepaid funeral plan legislation to be laid before Parliament in autumn

The Government has announced the potential timing for the next stage of the transition to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation of prepaid funeral plans.

Warning issued over sub-standard face masks

Funeral professionals have been warned about poor quality face masks that do not give adequate protection, and are not CE marked.

Return of church funerals welcomed

News that the Church of England is allowing funeral services to once again take place in their churches from today (15 June) has been welcomed by the UK’s largest funeral group, Co-op Funeralcare.

Advertisement Feature: Safe Hands go for funeral plans growth with £1m campaign

Agents selling Safe Hands funeral plans are set to benefit from a £1 million marketing campaign designed to encourage more people to take out a funeral plan.

Family business joins group after 110 years serving Merseyside

After 110 years serving Merseyside, Frank Dooley & Son Funeral Directors has become the latest business to join the Funeral Partners family of funeral homes, which now has more than 100 local businesses in its network across the UK.

Boost for dementia charity as calls ramp up to helpline

Charity Dementia UK has thanked Central England Co-op for a special donation that has helped it deal with a rise in calls to its helpline.

‘I’m tackling this head on and finding a way I can help’ says terminally ill man

A 56-year-old man with terminal cancer spoke of his experience living with limited time during a global pandemic as part of ‘Dying Matters’ Week (11-17 May).

April 2020

Latest advice for funeral professionals – SAIF and NAFD updates

Funeral associations are receiving regular updates from Government with guidelines for the current pandemic. We will look to include the latest here whenever there is new information. The latest update from SAIF outlines new changes to funeral guidance in England

Mourners limited to immediate family only

A group of seven organisations representing the funeral, burial and cremation sector has issued joint guidance on the number of mourners attending funerals following the Government’s announcement on limiting attendance to immediate family only.

Central England Co-op announces new measures to keep colleagues and families safe

Central England Co-op Funeralcare has announced a range of new measures to keep colleagues and families safe as they help people prepare to say goodbye to their loved ones.

Funeral directors oppose any ban on funeral services

A ban on funeral services would cause untold misery for bereaved families and do little to prevent the spread of coronavirus, say funeral directors.

Funeral directors are being treated like ‘forgotten emergency service’

Funeral directors say they have been treated like the “forgotten emergency service”, with a lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) leaving them ill-prepared to safely handle an increase in deaths from coronavirus.

Celebrants review funeral numbers in advance to help keep people safe

Humanists UK are contacting celebrants to get them to confirm with families ahead of a funeral who will be attending, to comply with Government guidance and ensure safety.

April 7: Gruffalo illustrator and publishers produce free digital book on coronavirus for children

Axel Scheffler has illustrated a digital book for primary school age children, free for anyone to read on screen or print out, about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it.

April 7: PPE stock accessible shortly, says NAFD

Funeral directors will soon be able to access personal protective equipment via their local resilience forums, says the NAFD.

13 April: Older people 'airbrushed' out of death toll figures, say charities

Many older people are being "airbrushed" out of coronavirus figures in the UK, charities have warned, reports the BBC.

Public urged to pay their respects as hearses pass by

Many funeral directors, including a regional Co-op group, are looking to revive a largely lost tradition, to support grieving families during the current pandemic.

Nuneaton funeral director shares experience amid Covid-19 bereavement

Funeral director Daniel Devall of Devall & Son Family Funeral Directors has shared some of his company's experience, while in the midst of his own Covid-19 bereavement.

ONS announce highest weekly deaths figure in 20 years

The latest figures on all deaths in England and Wales issued by the Office of National Statistics today (21 April) – on provisional deaths registered in the week ending 10 April 2020 (Week 15) – show the highest weekly total in the last 20 years, with a third of deaths related to Covid-19.

'Close family must be able to attend funerals in person' Govt tells councils

The Government has emphasised to local councils that family members must be allowed to attend the funeral of their loved one, and cemeteries should remain open so that those bereaved can visit graves.

Northern Ireland cemeteries reopen after public pressure

Cemeteries across Northern Ireland have begun to reopen following a decision by the Northern Ireland Executive, reports the BBC. Graveyards were closed to the public in March due to lockdown measures.

Reminder for funeral firms of Government help available

Hard pressed funeral directors facing a financial squeeze because of the current Covid-19 pandemic have been reminded about various loans, grants and schemes set up to help.

Public support for funeral professionals from the Pope – and Graham Norton

Public support and thanks for the work of funeral service professionals as key workers has been growing over the weeks of the pandemic – and public appreciation has come recently from two contrasting sources: the Vatican and one of the BBC Radio 2’s most popular presenters.

DWP work to reduce Funeral Expenses Payments' backlog

The Government are making progress in speeding up funeral expenses payments in England and Wales, SAIF reports.

‘Reopen churches for funerals’ MPs urge CofE

A letter signed by 36 Tory MPs has urged the Church of England to re-open churches for small-scale funerals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mortality modelling research warns of second peak

Some regions of the UK could face a significant second peak of coronavirus deaths post-lockdown, accordingly to mortality modelling commissioned by the NAFD.

Prepaid funeral plan legislation to be laid before Parliament in autumn

The Government has announced the potential timing for the next stage of the transition to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation of prepaid funeral plans.

Two-stage funerals could meet national and individual needs

As representatives of the funeral sector met regularly with UK Government ministers over the last few weeks, Pure Cremation says a new style of funeral in which a commemoration is held at a later date could serve as a useful blueprint for the nation in order to achieve socially-responsible farewells in the current crisis.

Company offers deep cleaning expertise

An innovative company is pulling out all the stops to come to the aid of the NHS in its hour of need, as medics throughout the country battle the coronavirus outbreak.

Discussing death with dementia sufferers

An NHS psychologist in Oldham has developed a creative new tool to support people with dementia and help them talk about death.

March 2020

I Love My Job – The vintage hearse driver

Meet Brendan Kinsella from Kent who has converted the family’s 91-year-old Guy lorry to take people on their final journey. Sharon Barnard reports

Grandfather of cremation inspiration for Downey's Doolittle

Hollywood star Robert Downey Jnr has revealed his inspiration for attempting a Welsh accent in playing Dr Doolittle in the latest big screen remake was in fact eccentric 19th century doctor and archdruid William Price, seen as the grandfather of cremation in the UK.

Chance funeral order discovery boosts charity

The Epilepsy Society received a huge donations boost after a woman who found a funeral order of service for a 21-year-old epileptic woman shared it on social media, reports the BBC.

Swindon funeral directors back CofE footballers

Pearce Funeral Services have announced that they are the main sponsor of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s men’s football team for 2020.

Donation helps bereaved mum spread message

A mother, whose daughter tragically died after taking drugs at a festival, has high hopes for 2020 as a financial boost will allow her to continue spreading her important message.

February 2020

All the king’s horses: Karen’s biggest day yet

Champion carriage driver Karen Bassett tells Sharon Barnard about her sixth sense with horses – and the day she took King Richard III to his final resting place …

LifeArt appoints Central Co-op man as chief exec

LifeArt UK has appointed one of the funeral profession’s leading figures to oversee a period of growth, as the business seeks to increase the adoption of greener coffins in the British and Irish markets.

Seminar aims to make end of life chats easier

A seminar focused on the importance of conversation and planning in end of life care is being held for palliative and end of life care workers at a Bristol cemetery.

‘Addams Family’ funeral directors wins residents’ support

With its wonky roof and midnight colour scheme, the once-neglected building at the bottom of Raynville Road, Bramley, Leeds, looks like something straight out of The Addams Family – at least that’s what locals think.

Funeral book sales provide boost for charities

More than £1,500 has been shared by several deserving West Yorkshire charities after a Guiseley-based funeral director wrote a book about funeral planning and donated the proceeds to deserving causes.

January 2020

I Love My Job – The Stonemason

Jonny Rayfield runs Rayfield Stonemasonry which is situated on the borders of Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Sharon Barnard reports.

Obituary - Henry Keizer

It was with great sadness that I heard the news that Henry Keizer died on 5 October 2019, writes Westerleigh Group Ambassador Alan Jose.

Celebrities chat in new podcast about death

Marie Curie has launched On the Marie Curie Couch, a podcast series where celebrities explore how they feel about their mortality and how bereavement has shaped their lives.

Business leader award for Matthew Lymn Rose

At the 10th Midlands Family Business Awards, Matthew Lymn Rose was awarded Next Generation Family Business Leader 2019.

Mystery shopper is pure gold for Lyndhurst funeral director

A surprise visitor from New Forest District Council was overwhelmed by J & L Sturney Funeral Directors’ customer service, giving them gold in the Up Your Game, Up Your Gain 2019 initiative.

December 2019

Therapy dogs: 'You can really feel the tension leaving the room'

A friendly dog can be a huge help to grieving families, say two funeral directors whose own pets have become much loved and valued members of staff. Sharon Barnard reports

Bereaved parents fill Coventry Cathedral

Henry Ison & Sons Funeral Directors helped organise a memorial service at Coventry Cathedral for over 150 bereaved families who had lost a baby.

Tributes paid to legendary soul music specialist

Legendary record dealer and soul music specialist John Anderson died recently aged 70, and his humanist funeral was held at Roucan Loch Crematorium and Woodland Burial site in Dumfries.

New funeral site opens in Moseley

Central England Co-operative Funeralcare has officially opened a new and innovative funeral site in Birmingham.

Justin's a high flyer for charity

The sky was the limit for fearless funeral arranger Justin Hydes as he braved a 13,000-feet skydive to support St Michael's Hospice in Hereford.