FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are some of our frequently asked questions. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please call us on 01473 272711 and we’ll be happy to answer your queries.
HOW CAN A FUNERAL SERVICE HELP ME?
A funeral acknowledges that a death has occurred. It provides an opportunity for those who mourn to express their love, respect and grief and enables them to face the fact of death openly. Often this will also allow family and friends to unite in support of one another. Through the funeral those grieving take their first step towards adjustment to their loss.
MUST WE HOLD A FUNERAL CEREMONY?
Although unusual, it is not essential for there to be any form of ceremony. On the day it is quite possible for the coffin to be taken straight to the graveside or to the crematorium, where the family may choose to witness the reception. Should the family elect not to be present, this form of committal will be carried out with equal dignity and respect.
WHO WILL OFFICIATE AT THE SERVICE?
If a religious service is appropriate then we will contact the local minister for you. If you choose a non-religious ceremony, a secular or Humanist celebrant can be contacted. Some families choose to lead the ceremony themselves.
CAN A FUNERAL BE A PURELY PRIVATE EVENT?
A service can be restricted to family or close friends only. Equally, you may choose to keep part of the funeral for immediate family, and welcome the wider circle of friends to the main ceremony. If a notice is placed in the local newspaper asking people to contact us, we can then advise callers of your decision.
CAN THE CREMATION/INTERMENT BE HELD BEFORE THE SERVICE?
In the past the actual cremation or interment (the committal) always took take place after the funeral service itself. Now, it is quite possible for the committal to take place prior to a Service of Thanksgiving or Celebration to which everyone is invited. This can be straight after the committal, later the same day or on different occasion.
WHAT IF THE CORONER IS INVOLVED?
The Coroner will be involved if a death is unexpected, or in some other circumstances, for example, if the death follows a hospital operation. The certification and registration procedures are then different, and we will explain this to you in detail, and how it may affect the timing of the funeral.
SHOULD CHILDREN ATTEND THE FUNERAL?
Children of any age can attend a service. It can be helpful to explain to the child what to expect. They may have questions before and after the funeral has taken place and answering these honestly will help them to adjust to the situation.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A DEATH OCCURS AWAY FROM HOME?
Please contact us in the usual way and we will assume responsibility for the return of the deceased. We may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will initially work on our behalf. Usually arrangements made in this way will be less costly to the family.
WHAT IS A SIMPLE FUNERAL?
We can offer a simple funeral; which is at a lower cost. All essential services are included, the provision of a coffin, the removal of the deceased from the place of death to our premises in normal working hours up to a radius of 10 miles, the provision of the hearse and necessary staff for the funeral at the nearest crematorium or cemetery. Full details of this are available in our scale of fees.
WHICH IS MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE – BURIAL OR CREMATION?
The choice between cremation and burial is a personal one. You may already have a burial place in mind that can be reserved. Generally the cost of burial is higher than the fee charged for cremation; however, it is possible to have a greener funeral in either case. For burial the coffin, the fittings and interior are best if they are all bio-degradable. Research shows that cremation has a lower carbon footprint than traditional cemetery burial. The process uses gas to fuel combustion and the coffin material itself adds fuel and heat thus reducing the amount of gas required. On this basis the environmental impact of the process can be lessened by using a coffin with a high fuel value, ideally a traditional or otherwise good quality wood coffin is best, using timber from a sustainable source accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council. Cardboard coffins have very little fuel value and the environmental impact may be higher than for a wooden coffin.
Burial has a higher carbon footprint than cremation because the process of decay emits methane to the atmosphere which is more damaging than carbon dioxide emitted during cremation. Also the upkeep of a cemetery requires staff, grass mowers and other machinery which all add to carbon emissions. Graves are usually purchased for perpetuity thus preventing use for development or agriculture and it’s necessary to take into account the environmental aspect of the use of land. A burial site that is close by will help to make the journey as environmentally responsible as possible and in the case of a natural burial the land will return to a natural habitat.
IS THERE A COST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BURIAL AND CREMATION?
Our charges remain the same in either case, but the disbursements (charges by third parties such as the crematorium or cemetery fees which we initially pay for you and appear on your account) will differ. The cost of purchasing a grave and memorial tend to make the total cost of burial more expensive, but we will gladly provide comparative costs based on your requirements.
CAN I GIVE MY BODY FOR RESEARCH?
Those considering the donation of their body for research should contact a specific School of Anatomy. It is best if these arrangements are made in advance, and there is no guarantee of the acceptance of the body at any time. In some cases the body is later returned to the family for burial or cremation, but this is not always the case. A memorial or thanksgiving service can be held instead of a funeral service.
CAN I DONATE MY ORGANS?
Again, it is preferable if this desire has been expressed prior to death occurring, as there is a short window of opportunity for the removal of organs for transplant. If this is not the case, the family will need to make a decision swiftly.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT IF I VISIT THE CHAPEL OF REST?
The decision to visit is a sensitive and highly personal one, but we will gladly talk the question through with you to help your decision. You should be prepared for the fact that the person will have a paler complexion, and if you touch their hands or face you will notice how cold they are. However, for many, the peacefulness of the person is reassuring, and in the case of sudden death can be a first step to acceptance of the reality of loss.
WHAT ABOUT EMBALMING?
In most cases embalming is not necessary, but if viewing is requested, or if a long time is to elapse before the funeral takes place, it can be advisable. It must be carried out before transporting to a different country or for long distances within this country. Embalming is a simple procedure of injection, performed by a trained practitioner.