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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.

Central England Co-op Funeralcare is asking the public to help families pay their respects to loved ones – particularly when hearses pass by.

The funeral director, which has over 130 funeral homes across 16 counties, has issued a plea for people to come together and help those who have lost someone close to them at this time. They are asking people, if they see a hearse while they are in their front garden or out for their daily exercise, to stop and bow their head in a show of respect and to support families.

The business is asking people to make the kind gesture after restrictions were put in place by the Government on the way funerals can now be conducted, including the number of people able to attend services.

Zaheer Iqbal (pictured above), Funeral Director at Central England Co-op Funeralcare, said: “We are working 24 hours a day to support families at their time of need, but changes have had to be put in place following advice and guidance from the Government to protect everyone.

“These are circumstances that none of us could have imagined, but it continues to be our privilege to support families at this most difficult time.

“This is why we are asking people wherever they are to bow their head in a show of respect for funerals passing by and in support of families.”

This comes after Central England Co-op Funeralcare outlined several changes to the way it works due to Coronavirus.

These include:

  • Funeral homes are now closed to the public with clear information displayed on how to contact the teams if needed
  • All arrangements now being made over the telephone and by email
  • Visiting loved ones is still allowed by appointment and providing social distancing guidance can be followed
  • Closing florist shops based on Government instructions. Families can still take their own flowers direct to any service
  • Being unable to provide limousines to comply with social distancing advice
  • Funeral directors being encouraged to use wheeled trolleys to bring loved ones into services
  • New headstones and refurbishment of existing ones will now be carried out after the current restrictions have been lifted. Stone removals for burials will still be provided

People can keep up to date with how Central England Co-op is responding to the coronavirus by visiting www.centralengland.coop/updates

The same message has been coming from independent funeral directors, including James Auld Funeral Directors in Helensburgh. Ex-SAIF national president Jim Auld commented on the company's Facebook page:

"If you see a hearse, could you stop, stand for a moment as it passes, perhaps take off your cap or hat, and bow your head?

"In these times where funerals are restricted, our chance to support people during bereavement is limited. So, we wondered if we could revive an old tradition that would show people that their loss is noticed and shared by us all?

"It would mean the world to families in a time of sadness."

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