Choosing our own headstone is not something most of us think about or even care about but there are lots of advantages to choosing how you would like to be remembered after death rather than leave it up to relatives. With this in mind here are three of the main reasons why you should consider choosing your own headstone.
Leaving it up to relatives can place an additional burden
Relatives and loved ones will often be so caught up in the funeral arrangements they will sometimes forget about details such as headstones. Even when they do remember, they may not provide the kind of memorial you would have chosen to be remembered by. It’s far better to ease their burden and take away some of the hard work of coming up with fitting verses, choosing designs and so on.
There can be disagreements over what the deceased would have wanted
Like anything else in life, people will tend to choose things based on their own taste so there can be family disagreements over what’s best. Choosing your own grave stone or memorial will ensure this doesn’t happen.
You can ease the financial burden
Saving up for your own funeral much like choosing your own gravestone is not something you are likely to be thinking about now. However, funerals are expensive and the cost is rising well above inflation. At least when you choose your gravestone, you will be able to gain an idea of what it will cost and prepare accordingly for when the end comes. Most of us would like to have at least some kind of memorial for people to remember us by.
The funeral industry is being put under the microscope due to the rising cost of even a basic funeral according to reports this month.
The cost of a funeral according to analysts has risen 3 times more than the rate of inflation in the last decade putting many families on low incomes under pressure to pay for all the aspects of laying loved ones to rest.
Sadly, there are cases where the deceased are held in mortuaries for months at a time while family members try to get enough money together to pay for a funeral. This leaves an unacceptable number of people in limbo at a time when grieving for a lost loved one is hard enough.
The average cost of a funeral in the UK is between £3000 and £5000 which is a substantial sum of money for someone on a low wage with little in the way of money put by.
Funeral directors have blamed local councils for increasing the cost while competition watchdogs are looking to see if lack of coemption in the industry is responsible for pushing up prices.
As with any other service, it is important to look around for the best price if possible, to ensure value for money and you are not paying more than you should be to give your loved on the send-off they deserve.
Along with grief death places a huge burden of responsibility on those left behind who have to deal with all the emotions and funeral arrangements. Choosing words for a headstone may be the last thing on the mind when death is recent. How can you sum up the life of a loved one in just a few lines?
While professional writers and poets may be able to put their feelings into words easily, for most people it will be a challenge. This often means resorting to standard phrases such as ‘rest in peace’ or ‘forever in our hearts’.
While you will find these inscriptions on many grave stones but you may be left with the feeling that you could have said more to sum up the person’s existence and what they meant to you and others in life.
For famous people who have achieved much in life, this process is easy. You can simply sum up their great achievements and their legacy. For most ordinary people their greatest achievement will be the family they helped to raise or a long and successful career.
To raise the inscription beyond the ordinary, however, you can do what no-one else can do and sum up what that person meant to you, perhaps reflect back on a good memory which sums up the kind of person they were.
Death is an inevitability we all have to deal with and for those left behind it is always difficult to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. But in recent years we have seen funerals that celebrate the life of a person rather than make them a traditionally sombre occasion. So which approach is the right one?
Celebrating the life of a person at a funeral is not a new idea, in Ghana for example, the deceased have a special coffin made to celebrate a person’s interests or passions. Funerals are thus more light hearted than the traditional funerals we have here in the UK where people wear black and coffins are build to a standardised design.
The celebration funeral is perhaps a reaction to this type of funeral. Increasingly nowadays people want to express their individuality rather than end their days like everyone else with everyone surrounding a coffin dressed in black.
Then there are people who prefer the traditions such as TV presenter Colin Brazier, who asked for people to wear black at his wife’s funeral.
It is easy to empathise with both sides of the debate. Those with strong religious beliefs will naturally prefer that traditions are maintained and that fun funerals miss the point about the finality of death and the passage to the afterlife.
The Victorian Cemetery in Wrexham has over the centuries become a local landmark and thanks to the investment of £1.1m, its long term future is now secure and its unique history preserved for future generations to explore.
The site covers seven hectares making it one of the biggest graveyards in local area with a total of 37,000 graves. While wandering around graveyards is not everyone’s idea of a pleasant pastime, the cemetery designer hopes that it will be seen as a park as well as a place of rest.
The cemetery features some impressive monuments funded by wealthy Victorian industrialists as well as war graves providing a snapshot of the town’s history and development through the great transformations brought by the Industrial Revolution and two world wars.
The work has been funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and work included restoration of the chapels gates and railings of the Grade II listed site.
The project even included the appointment of a development officer who will be working on telling the stories of people buried there.
The restoration comes hot on the heels of calls from the Church in Wales that ore space is needed for burials with many cemeteries running out of plots.
For those planning a funeral in Wrexham, it is worth getting more than one quote for a funeral director after a survey reveals that the town has the biggest difference in costs in the country.
The average cost of a funeral in the UK now stands at £3,700. This will cover the most basic funerals without even a headstone so saving some money on funeral director’s costs is important if you want to give the deceased the best possible funeral.
Though it is considered ‘an extra’ a headstone has to be one of the more important investments because it will leave a lasting reminder. It’s far better to spend what money is available on giving a person a fitting send-off rather than spending more than is necessary.
A study found that one funeral director was charging £3,157 in comparison to another who quoted £2000 less for the same funeral. Yet even the highest funeral director cost in Wrexham pales in comparison with Beckenham in London, where prices for a basic funeral are £5,372.
With the recent rise in the number of pauper’s funerals it is clear that something needs to be done to cap the above inflation costs of funerals which include both burials and cremations. This would allow people to give their loved ones a decent funeral without getting into high levels of debt.
The number of pauper’s funerals being paid for by local authorities is on the rise putting pressure on budgets.
Pauper’s funerals once the last send off for vagrants with no family or friends to pay for burials, are on the rise, costing council’s 1.7 million a year according to a recent survey. The cost of Pauper’s funerals has increased by 30% in the last 4 years alone as the cost races ahead of inflation. This increase may well be pushing families who are unable to afford to pay for funerals to consider the most basic of funerals for their loved ones.
The number of Paupers funerals, which is essentially a funeral without any of the extras associated with a standard funeral has increased by 24% in South East England since 2009-10. Despite being one of the richest regions this rise indicates that more and more people are either struggling to meet costs or there is an increase in the number of people who may have no-one left to help pay for their funerals.
A paupers’ funeral means that the deceased will be buried or cremated with no gravestone or lasting memorial. Instead they will simply be buried in an unmarked grave which is often a sad end to a life.
Many of the airfields which provided the bases for the RAF in World War II are still around today even if many have long since ceased to be in use. But one charity is making sure that the sacrifices made in defence of the country in the Second World War are remembered.
The Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust (ABCT) is a charity dedicated to preserving not only the country’s airfields but also the memory of brave pilots who are credited with saving the Britain from the threat of Nazi Germany.
Without winning the war in the air, the UK will have had to face an invasion that would almost certainly have resulted in defeat. Germany in the first half of the war swept many countries aside including, notably, France and Poland with its overwhelming air and land force superiority.
The Britain was left to face the might of the Luftwaffe alone prior to the United States joining the war.
Granite stone memorials have been placed at two disused airfield in Somerset by the ABCT which has erected a total of 51 stones since the charity was formed in 2009.
The Westonzoyland airfield, Bridgwater was opened in the 1920s and remained in use until 1957 while Culmhead airfield, Churchstanton opened in 1941 and closed following the end of the war in 1946.
A famous football manager famously said that football is ‘more important’ than life or death. So in an effort to bring football and death together, Championship football club Huddersfield Town are offering fans a football themed funeral so that they can be given a good send off in club colours.
The themed service is likely to prove popular with fans who may see this as an ideal way to celebrate their life and the team they supported. While there isn’t much happening for fans to remember with the club’s current league form, football fans can be a patient bunch and are unlikely to be put off by the £4,195 cost of a Huddersfield Town FC funeral.
Bill Shankly, a former manager of the club who also famously steered Liverpool FC to greatness once said, “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that”
Fans taking up the pre-paid funeral plan will get a blue and white or traditional coffin and a football shirt with the deceased’s name on it. There is also the option of having ashes scattered at the club’s stadium.