Stories

May 2020

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.

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.

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 includes guidance for reintroducing limousine use; further SAIF guidance for funeral directors; fresh advice for Scotland and Wales; and DMAG guidance for burial and cremation authorities in England.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

November 2019

Opting for the eco choice

As many consumers focus on green living and reducing their carbon footprint, it’s only natural that we’re seeing an increase in eco-funerals. Gareth Coles, director of Coles Funeral Directors, discusses the latest options available and why more of us should consider offering more green options.

Murdered girl remembered 100 years on

A memorial service was held at a Greater Manchester cemetery 100 years on from the murder of a 12-year-old girl.

Purr-fect send off: Paddy the Chief Moggy Mourner

Paddy, an eight-year-old ginger tom cat, is laying claim to the title of Chief Moggy Mourner, as he’s thought to have attended more than 100 funerals over the years.

Black Country funeral director in Parliamentary Review

Funeral director H. Porter & Sons from Stourbridge has appeared in the 2019 Parliamentary Review, a key business publication that celebrates innovation and acts as a useful guide to industry for policymakers.

Melia Powell welcome new man with cabaret

A charity cabaret and dinner dance marked Melia Powell Funeral Directors’ ongoing commitment to the local community following the appointment of a new experienced funeral director.

October 2019

Total job satisfaction for embalming duo

Embalmers Vicki Nation and Gaynor Nevitt are often the last people to care for the deceased. And it’s a role the friends regard as a huge privilege, they tell Sharon Barnard

Historic Kenilworth memorial is restored

A Kenilworth memorial to 17th century paupers is back on Warwick Road after being removed and restored by Henry Ison & Sons Funeral Directors.

Winners announced at National Celebrants' Awards

Highgate House near Northampton proved a popular venue for this year’s National Celebrants’ Convention and Awards Dinner, with celebrants from across the UK in attendance, writes Russ Bravo.

Finance to help your business grow

The beginning of September saw a double celebration at Funeral Director Finance. Not only was it director Iain Dangerfield’s big 50, it was also a celebration of 30 years working in the banking and finance sector.

Scotland: Fosters pick up two awards

Fosters Family Funeral Directors has picked up two honours at the inaugural Scottish Funeral Awards.

September 2019

Barrow boys turn back the clock

Toby Angel, Managing Director of Sacred Stones Ltd, tells Sharon Barnard how his business is helping to meet the growing demand for barrows as final resting places for cremation ashes

Plans to improve crematoria checks accelerate

At this year’s Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA) conference Kate Davidson from The Crematoria and Memorial Group (CMG) set out the progress of an industry initiative that seeks to strengthen inspection procedures in the crematoria sector, replacing the previous informal audit process.

Wales: opportunity to "shape Medical Examiner Service"

Dr Jason Shannon has been appointed Lead Medical Examiner for Wales.

More than a job: new man heads up Albert Marsh

Highly experienced funeral director Jon Rust – who joined the profession after a family tragedy – has been appointed manager of Albert Marsh Funeral Directors in Wareham and Upton.

Dr Bill Webster receives British Citizen’s Award

For more than 35 years Dr Bill Webster has built a strong reputation for his work on grief and bereavement, presenting many seminars and providing grief support resources across the country. Now, he has received a special British Citizen Award (BCAh for services to healthcare) in recognition of his efforts.

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.