Stories

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.

June 2018

White 'crocodile' flags are hung outside the home to show someone has died

Death, ritual and funeral customs in Cambodia

Manchester terror attack memorial flowers

A lasting memorial to the Manchester terror attack victims has been created in Hyde Park in Tameside, Greater Manchester.

Good Grief Project film offers hope

A Love That Never Dies, a new documentary produced by The Good Grief Project with Beyond Goodbye Media, screens at UK cinemas across the next two months.

Post-mortem reconstruction course success

Four professionals successfully completed the William Purves Embalming Academy Post Mortem Reconstruction course in April at Edinburgh University Anatomy, run by Martin Jeffrey (MBIE Dip Fd).

Cambs pair clock up 110 years

Two Central England Co-operative colleagues are celebrating after clocking up 110 years between them in helping families say goodbye to their loved ones.

May 2018

'When you sing for a grieving family, you can see the impact live music can have'

We asked the London Funeral Singers to tell us about their work

Rachel is new chair for north west BIE

Rochdale and Bury based Co-op Funeralcare Embalmer, Rachel Carline, has been appointed as the Chairperson for the North West division of The British Institute of Embalmers (BIE).

'We need to talk about young people and death'

A unique conference in Hull, looking at how people remember lost loved ones, saw leading professionals call for more help and support for bereaved children.

Greyfriars Bobby headstone repaired just in time

Edinburgh-based William Purves stepped up at the last minute to repair the headstone of Greyfriars Bobby’s master, one of Scotland’s most visited landmarks, ahead of a large memorial event at the turn of the year.

YESW calls it a day after 43 years

A much loved weekend in the funeral profession’s social and educational calendar has come to an end after 43 years.

April 2018

Hollywood Forever - where the stars live on

A California cemetery, created in 1899, has more of the big names from the film and entertainment world than anywhere else on earth ...

Funeral poverty issue sees not-for-profit launch in Scotland

Caledonia Cremation, the UK’s first not-for-profit funeral director has launched in Scotland.

Beagle Basil brings calm to bereaved

Shrewsbury-based Clive Pugh Funeral Directors believe they have the UK’s first funeral therapy dog ...

New voile window displays add seasonal touch of colour

Colourful Coffins has launched a series of stunning seasonal voile window displays especially for funeral directors.

Fitting send-off for WW2 veteran

A funeral arranger's determination saw an unknown war hero laid to rest with full military honour ...

March 2018

Project set to highlight burial grounds treasures

Conservation charity Caring for God’s Acre, is set to put burial grounds on the heritage map, thanks to £586,700 National Lottery funding.

Dudley remembrance events take place for footballer

A series of commemorative events took place in Dudley, West Midlands, to mark 60 years since Manchester United footballer Duncan Edwards died in the Munich air disaster.

Comment: reducing our use of plastics

The days of plastic coffin handles could be numbered, believes Julian Atkinson from JC Atkinson

Does your funeral firm have the profile it deserves?

Are bereaved people favouring competitors over your funeral home? Mark Binnersley has some advice ...

Quarryman sculpture marks Buxton heritage

A Buxton funeral directors have made their mark on a new sculpture in one of the spa town’s popular parks.

February 2018

Death and funeral customs in Tudor times

Religion in Tudor times was an essential part of life as death was never far away. Life expectancy was extremely short with a quarter of children dying before they were five, and 40 per cent perishing before reaching the age of 16.

Stormzy sings at funeral after Twitter request

Top grime and hip hop artist Stormzy turned up to sing at the funeral of a fan’s father in Reading just before Christmas, after seeing a message on Twitter.

Wrexham cemetery close to capacity

The “traditional” section of Plas Acton Cemetery, Wrexham, is nearing full capacity.

Bereaved families attend Co-op branch rededication

Recently bereaved families who attended the rededication of Tamworth Co-op’s Halliwell Coseley funeral home by two ministers said it brought them comfort during a difficult time.

Dignity first responder honoured

A Dignity funeral manager in the West Country has received a First Responder award on behalf of his group, thanks to their work in the community.

January 2018

New service offers online notification service after a death

Traditionally, newspaper obituaries, phone calls, text messages, email and social media have been the routes to notifying friends and relatives after the loss of a loved one.

Celebrants call for better support at end of life

Thousands of terminally ill people and their families are suffering from a lack of spiritual support being offered in UK hospitals and hospices, it is claimed.

New memorial tree allows leaves to be added

A memorial tree in a new garden dedicated to children and young people at Kettering Crematorium allows families to leave messages.

Coles is a winner

Cardiff funeral firm Coles Funeral Directors has won the Business of the Year award from South Wales community and business magazine Local Link.

Whole-hearted support

Chepstow & Caldicot Funeral Directors Ian Watts & Son were delighted to present a cheque recently to the local Heart-2-Heart & Cardiac Rehabilitation Groups.

December 2017

A source of Christmas comfort

How a shopping trip and a spontaneous social media post became a source of Christmas comfort to many ...

Awareness campaign from child bereavement charity

Prince William is among celebrities lending support to a campaign launched by the charity Child Bereavement UK, which asks children who have lost a parent, or parents who have lost children, what they would say to their loved one if they had another minute with them.

Christmas in soapland: a dangerous time

The festive season is rarely a wholly healthy or happy one in the world of UK TV soap operas, with many a major face meeting a spectacular Yuletide end over the years.

Bereavement group launched

Douch Family Funeral Directors is launching a free monthly bereavement group, led by counsellor Cindy Weller.

60 years' celebration for Trevor

A big celebration marked Trevor Hunnaball’s 60 years service to the funeral industry, bringing together family, friends, colleagues and industry leaders.

Nov 2017

A Victorian legacy

Traditions surrounding family celebrations, including weddings and baptisms and Christmas, echo the Victorian era, and the influence of that time is even clearer in funeral customs. With ITV drama series ‘Victoria’ back on TV screens, we look at the rich legacy the Victorians left the modern world.

Long barrow for Shropshire

Three huge limestone monoliths have been erected in Shropshire, to mark the construction site of a new long barrow burial mound.

The Soulton Long Barrow, which will be built by Sacred Stones Ltd, will be the region’s first in 5,000 years.

TV gets people talking about death

TV can be a useful in getting people to talk about their own funeral choices, according to research commissioned by Co-op Funeralcare.

With almost a third of Brits admitting to struggling to talk about death, TV shows – particularly soap operas and medical dramas – play an important role in prompting them to tackle the issue.

New acquisitions for Funeral Partners

Three established funeral businesses in the Midlands and North of England have joined Funeral Partners, the UK’s third largest funeral services business.

Tyne & Wear funeral business Daren Persson, Lancashire’s Kavanagh and Coates, and High Street Funerals in Erdington, Birmingham, now all come under the Funeral Partners banner.

One giant leap for Victoria

Funeral director Victoria Dittrich has taken a leap of faith and abseiled down The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth to raise money for charity.

Victoria, from Paul Capper Funeral Directors in Eastleigh, descended the 560-foot tower in September after a three-month wait for perfect weather conditions.

Oct 2017

Recognising heroes

Once seen as the quirky province of the industry’s ‘progressives’, the Good Funeral Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the bereavement care world – now embrace all the elements.
FSJ sits down with the great and the good at this year’s ceremony…

Funeral poverty up as costs rise again

The average cost of a funeral in the UK has risen again. The Royal London National Funeral Cost Index 2017, published in partnership with The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM), puts the average at £3,784, up 3%, while SunLife’s annual Cost of Dying report says funeral costs have risen 4.7% in the year to £4,078, up by more than 70% in a decade.

How families cut funeral costs

According to insurance provider SunLife, which has just released its annual Cost of Dying Report, almost half of those who have organised a funeral have cut back on some aspects to keep costs down. 

Top of the list for cutting costs is the coffin, with more than one in three families who cut back saying they went for a cheaper option.  

New way to have crucial 'death' conversations

A new website is encouraging people to create a plan for their funeral and share it with friends and family.

The site – huunuu (say it out loud) – lets users build a ‘virtual funeral bucket list’ by uploading and adding ideas and pictures. It’s completely free to users.

Popstar opens children’s memorial garden

Former Spandau Ballet star Tony Hadley opened a special children's memorial garden at Dignity-owned Lichfield Crematorium.

The garden is called Violets in Bloom after Violet Mornington, who died of a rare blood disorder in July 2013 at the age of just five.