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. 

May 2019

Resting Places: St Andrews Cathedral, Fife

Relics, a dramatic setting – and a place in golfing history: the old cathedral of St Andrew in Fife, Scotland, along with its ancient graveyard, has it all ...

Plymouth event supports families affected by suicide

Around 20 Plymouth funeral directors have taken part in an event which hopes to give more guidance and support to families left grieving after their loved ones have taken their own lives.

D-Day veteran Glenville laid to rest

One of the last airborne veterans of the D-Day landings has been laid to rest, reports the BBC.

Books that help bereaved children

As a new wave of emotional wellbeing books for children hits the market, meet Clare Shaw, an author of therapeutic stories covering tricky subjects such as bereavement.

Celebrant in Sahara trek for air ambulance

An intrepid Lincolnshire funeral celebrant will be taking part in a gruelling 100-kilometre trek through the Sahara Desert to raise money for the air ambulance, reports the Rutland and Stamford Mercury.

March 2019

Maori couple a Netflix hit

A Maori couple in New Zealand who felt drawn in their early 20s to start their own funeral business in the capital Auckland have become unlikely Netflix stars.

Holocaust survivors attend unknown remains burial

More than 1,000 people attended a funeral for six unknown Auschwitz victims whose remains were donated to a museum, with some 34 Holocaust survivors accompanying the casket to the burial site.

Wales: detectorist unearths Iron Age ritual haul

Parts of an Iron Age chariot found by a metal detectorist have been declared treasure by the Pembrokeshire coroner, reports the BBC.

New crematorium includes electric charging point

Westerleigh Group opened its 32nd Crematorium late last year at Fladbury near Evesham in rural Worcestersire.

Cremation Society chair to step down

Harvey Thomas CBE has announced that he will retire from the role of Chairman of the Cremation Society in July this year.