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Midlands eco-friendly funeral home opens

Ian Hazel has opened a new funeral home in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, which can boast state-of-the-art eco-friendly status, with mechanical ventilation and heat recovery systems, rainwater harvesting, LED lighting and under-floor heating.

The Rev Adrian Leahy, the rural dean of Sutton Coldfield, led a service of dedication at the premises, supported by other local clergy. Simon Fisher, outgoing NAFD national president, conducted the opening ceremony, alongside Peter Gaunt, president of the Birmingham Funeral Directors Guild, and guests.

Ian said the building took more than four years to plan but was completed in just eight months, and he praised builders and architects for achieving a funeral home of such high standards. 

“They fully understood the brief I gave them and interpreted it to produce a modern state-of-the-art, eco friendly funeral home,” he said. 

“By using the very latest technologies and materials available, we were able to achieve an energy efficiency rating B, which is virtually unknown in a commercial build these days.” 

Besides the new premises’ ‘green’ features, Hazel's has also switched to the latest diesel-fuelled Jaguar funeral vehicles.

Ian's satisfaction and pride at the building’s opening ceremony was marred by an arson attack on the premises only a month later, however. CCTV footage captured images of two people putting a substance through the letterbox and setting it alight.

Ian said the attack, which he does not believe to be a prank, had left him concerned for his staff and his business and had caused extensive smoke damage to the ground floor.

Ian is the fourth generation of the Hazel family to be in the funeral profession, since his great-grandfather Arthur Hazel started out in 1901. His two daughters, Amy and Emma, have joined him in the business.

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