Coronavirus and Funerals: FAQs

Can I arrange a funeral during the pandemic?

Yes, you can still go ahead and arrange a funeral. Please be aware that while funeral homes will remain open, funerals should be arranged over the phone or via other electronic means, wherever possible.

Can I arrange a funeral if I have coronavirus symptoms?

If you or anyone else involved in arranging a funeral has symptoms of coronavirus, or has tested positive for the infection, please remain self-isolated and follow the government’s advice. You can still arrange a funeral online, or over the phone.

Can I attend a funeral during the pandemic?

The government has advised that funeral services should be restricted to the smallest possible number of attendees to help reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Numbers can be determined by the size and circumstance of the venue.

You should only consider attending a funeral if you are a member of the same household or immediate family member*. People who are clinically vulnerable can attend, with measures put in place to reduce their risk. Additionally, people self-isolating because someone in their household is ill may attend if they do not have symptoms themselves.

However, if you do attend, be sure to observe social distancing guidelines of two metres from other people, and do not make physical contact with anyone from outside of your household.

Any individual displaying symptoms of coronavirus should not attend.

*Immediate family is defined as:

  • Spouse/partner
  • Parents/carers
  • Brothers/sisters
  • Children (and partners)

How should I let people know about an upcoming funeral?

The government has advised that you do not publicly advertise the time or location of a funeral. This reduces the risk of others arriving unexpectedly.

If anyone unexpected does turn up, they may be turned away, which could be distressing for them and the bereaved family.

Is there any way that I can view a service online?

Yes, there are several ways that funeral services can be viewed over the internet. The most common way is via webcasting, or live streaming. Many funeral directors now offer this service which allows many people to attend a funeral, without putting anyone at risk.

How funerals have been affected by Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic has presented an unprecedented set of challenges for bereaved families who are having to arrange funeral services for loved ones, as well as many mourners who wish to pay their final respects.

Whilst funerals are still able to go ahead, there have been some important changes. The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), alongside several other funeral related organisations, have formed the Deceased Management Advisory Group (DMAG), which is regularly liaising with government officials and cabinet members on the sector’s response to Covid-19.

Things have now been adapted so that a lot of the legal requirements can be done online, minimising the need for actual contact. The certificate needed to register a death (MCCD) and medical certificates from the hospital, coroner or your doctor are now transferred by email. There are, of course, stringent codes to adhere to in all of this, but the system is working well. Registering a death now cannot be done in person by attending a registry office either, but is instead done by telephone, with the required documentation then emailed to the necessary authorities.

Though government directives are changing all the time, churches and chapels are currently closed, along with all buildings used by the public, such as clubs, pubs and hotels. Graveside services and services at the crematorium are however allowed, albeit with reduced numbers and with everyone strictly observing the two metre social distancing guidelines for the safety of everyone involved.

At present, up to 10 people can attend funerals, which should be only the closest members of the family. In many cases, it is not the way families would like to say farewell and it is especially difficult if the family have not been able to visit their loved one in hospital or a care home. Family members – or very close friends if no family – can attend the service even if they are in the vulnerable category or are self-isolating as long as they do not have symptoms of Covid-19 themselves and that they strictly observe the social distancing rules.

Many families are intending to hold memorial services or celebrations of their loved ones’ lives when the current restrictions are lifted, and there are certainly plans being considered for special services of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for those who have died during this crisis, by the crematoriums, churches and chapels.

How much does a funeral cost?

The average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,757.

On average, the cost for a burial is £4,267, whilst the average cost for a cremation is £3,247.

There are many things to think about and decide when arranging a funeral. It is often a difficult time for family and friends who are dealing with loss. A funeral is also, to some people’s surprise, a lot more expensive than they thought, often costing thousands of pounds.

Things to consider

You may be arranging a funeral while coping with grief and feeling you must act quickly, and with little or no recent experience. Some people have strong ideas about what a funeral should be like and what a good send-off should be.

It’s worth considering the following points:

  • Choose a funeral that is affordable and is right for the person who has died. It’s unlikely that the person who has died would want you to get yourself into debt to pay for the funeral or fees stressed about the finances. It’s not wrong or disrespectful to give thought to funeral costs.
  • Get at least two quotes, perhaps from an independent funeral director and one from a chain. Many people choose to use a funeral director and they can give helpful guidance. But remember they are a business and their fees can be the most expensive part of a funeral.
  • More expensive options don’t make a better funeral. As well as the type of funeral and which funeral director you may use, optional extras affect the cost. Words, music and actions can be more meaningful than expensive cars and coffins.

How to reduce the cost of a funeral

  1. Shop around: funeral costs can vary a lot. While you might find it difficult, it’s important to compare prices and services. Get a quote from more than one funeral director, caterer or florist so you can compare prices. You can then pick one that fits your budget.
  2. Ask family and friends: for example, instead of paying for a caterer, ask family and friends to bring food to the wake. You could also ask them to help you check for cheaper options.

Reasons people choose cremation over burial

Whether you’re planning your own funeral or a loved one’s, deciding between a burial or a cremation is a very personal decision.

Currently, cremation is the UK’s most popular way of dealing with the body after someone has passed away, 75% of Brits are cremated compared to just 18% who are buried.

A poll carried out by YouGov also discovered that three times as many Brits say they wish to be cremated rather than buried after they pass away.

So, why are so many people choosing cremation over a burial?

Advantages of cremation

More affordable

Funerals are expensive and the cost of dying keeps rising year on year. With the average price of a funeral now totalling £4,417, many people are finding themselves forced to look for ways to push the price down. On average, a funeral involving a cremation costs £3,853, compared to £4,975 for a burial funeral.

Environmental benefits

Both cremation and burial have their disadvantages when it comes to looking after the environment. Some important environmental benefits of cremation though are that it saves land and doesn’t require the toxic embalming chemicals used during many burials.

Scattering ashes

Many people like the idea of having their ashes scattered in a beautiful area or a place that is meaningful to them.

Not tied to one place

With a burial, the body will remain in its final resting place, meaning that if loved ones move away it will make it difficult to visit the grave. Keeping a loved one’s ashes in an urn, means that you can always keep them close if you wish to.

If your loved one is cremated, but you would still like to have a memorial for them at your local church or cemetery, then this is usually still an option. Most churches and cemeteries have a separate area for cremated remains.

What makes an eco-friendly funeral?

An eco-friendly funeral can be particularly fitting for those who loved the great outdoors or were passionate about looking after the environment.

Funerals come in all different shapes and sizes now, and many people choose a funeral type that fits with the deceased’s passions or lifestyle as a tribute to their life and memory.

One type of funeral that is gaining in popularity is the eco-friendly funeral. Green funerals incorporate natural processes, eco-friendly arrangements and sustainable materials into the service.

Here are a few of our favourite ideas for giving your loved one an environmentally-friendly send-off.

  • Choose burial over cremation – Cremating a body releases around 400kg of CO2 into the air, the same as a 500 mile car journey.

 

 

  • Choose a coffin made from eco-friendly, biodegradable materials – Eco-friendly coffin materials include those made from cardboard, rattan, bamboo and willow.

 

  • Have the body refrigerated not embalmed – Embalming a body requires the use of harmful chemicals, which can then seep into the ground and the environment when the body is buried.

 

  • Reduce travel requirements – Hold the funeral somewhere close to home and suggest that those attending lift share to the service. Some people even choose to transport the body to the funeral themselves rather than hiring a hearse.

 

  • Decline funeral flowers – Many woodland burial sites prefer to keep the area looking natural and free of memorial flowers and urns. Cut funeral flowers come at a high environmental price so many people organising an eco-friendly funeral ask attendees to donate to an eco-friendly charity instead of buying flowers.

 

  • Hold a meat-free wake – The meat industry has a hugely negative impact on the environment, so catering a meat-free wake is an excellent way to reduce the event’s environmental impact. This can be a particularly fitting tribute if the deceased was vegetarian or vegan.

Dealing with grief over the festive period

If you’ve lost a loved one, the festive season can feel like it’s lost its joy and meaning, becoming a particularly difficult time of year that is fraught with memories.

Christmas is meant to be a wonderful time of year, but if you’re coping with grief you may be feeling far from festive.

Whilst coping with a recent bereavement can be particularly difficult, even those that lost a loved one many years ago can find that their grief intensifies during the festive season.

Memories of past Christmases with those that have passed away can be very painful and leave you feeling little reason to celebrate.

We’ve put together a few ideas and advice about how to cope with grief over the festive season.

Only do as much as you’re comfortable with

Don’t feel pressured to do all the same things that you have in the past, or to attend big Christmas celebrations if you really don’t want to. Equally, if you still want to celebrate Christmas, don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for doing so.

Create traditions to remember your loved one at Christmas

Creating new Christmas traditions that pay tribute to the person that has passed can be a wonderful way of still including them in the holiday season. Here are a few ideas for new traditions to remember those that have passed at Christmas:

  • Visit their grave and lay down flowers on a set day during the festive season each year.
  • Make it a tradition to visit a place that was special to you both during the Christmas period.
  • Light a candle in their memory during your Christmas dinner.
  • Visit a place of worship and light a candle in their memory.
  • Share favourite stories about the person with your loved ones.

Plan ahead

It can take some of the stress out of the festive season to discuss Christmas plans with friends and family in plenty of time of the big day.

Be kind to yourself

Listen to and accept your grief as it comes, if you need to cry, allow yourself the time to cry. Don’t beat yourself up over not being in the festive spirit.

Whatever your plans for Christmas day, make sure you leave time to treat yourself, whether that’s with your favourite festive film, a packet of indulgent biscuits, or a brisk walk on Christmas morning.

What is a humanist funeral?

If your loved one wasn’t religious, a humanist funeral may be a more fitting way to remember and celebrate their life.

A 2017 study found that 53% of the UK population identify as having no religion and as a result we are seeing a surge in the popularity of both non-religious weddings and funerals.

Traditionally, funerals have always been sombre affairs conducted in religious buildings by religious leaders. If your loved one was not religious though, a humanist funeral may be a more fitting and meaningful way of saying goodbye.

Who conducts the funeral?

Humanist funerals are usually led by funeral celebrants rather than priests, although they may also be led by a family member or friend if preferred.

What happens with the remains?

You can still choose either a cremation or burial, but a burial would need to take place at a natural or woodland burial site rather than a church.

Where are humanist funerals held?

Services for humanist funerals are usually held at either the crematorium or the natural burial ground. It is, however, possible to hold the funeral at any location you wish, providing that the relevant permissions have been granted.

The ceremony

The main purpose of a humanist ceremony is to celebrate the life of the deceased without hymns, prayers, or any other religious references.

The service for a humanist funeral doesn’t need to conform to any particular structure or order, but people often choose to incorporate many of the same elements used in traditional religious services including music, speeches, tributes, and a period of reflection.

The tone of a humanist ceremony can be light-hearted and celebratory or formal and sombre, depending on personal taste.

At Buckley Memorials our large range of attractive, high quality memorials act as an elegant and lasting tribute to your loved one. Browse our range of memorials online or get in touch with our team by calling us on 0800 093 6800 if you require help choosing a memorial.

Tips for making gravestone flowers last longer

Flowers are popularly laid on graves as a tribute to the deceased, to express a sentiment, or simply to add colour and beauty.

Whilst wreaths and bouquets arranged by a florist are treated to keep them looking fresher for longer, in most cases, they still only last a maximum of 7 to 10 days.

Use the tips and ideas in this blog to ensure that your floral tribute lasts longer.

Choose hardy, long-lasting flowers– Flowers that are currently in-season and sourced locally will last longer than those that have been imported from another country. Chrysanthemums and carnations are both known for being hardy and long-lasting, even in outdoor conditions.

Put them in floral foam or a vase– If you simply lay a bouquet over the grave then the flowers will not last long at all without any water. Instead, put the cut flowers in well-soaked floral foam, or a cemetery-approved vase with water to keep them looking beautiful for as long as possible.

Choose a potted plant– Whilst bouquets of cut flowers provide a large array of brightly coloured blooms, they last for a relatively short amount of time when compared with a potted plant. A potted plant may create less of an impact, but if you choose carefully, it could last for a very long time.

Plant flowers on the grave– Some cemeteries may allow you to plant flower or bulbs on or around your loved one’s grave. This can be a wonderful way of adding life and colour to their grave, but depending on the plant you choose, may require some maintenance to keep it looking good. Always check with the cemetery first as you may need permission and there are usually strict guidelines as to what can be planted.

Artificial flowers– High quality silk flowers can look stunning, will add colour and beauty to a loved one’s memorial for a very long time and require very little maintenance.

Different cemeteries have different rules and regulations surrounding floral arrangements, so always check first before you make your purchase to avoid upset and disappointment.

5 popular flowers for laying on a memorial

Choosing memorial flowers that are a fitting tribute to your loved one’s memory can be difficult without some knowledge of the sentiments that flowers can express.

If you’re searching for a flower that not only looks beautiful, but that also carries a heartfelt message, then learning more about what the commonest memorial flowers symbolise may help to make your job a little easier.

Lilies

Elegant and fragrant lilies are popularly sent in sympathy and used as memorial flowers. Whilst lilies can be found in a whole spectrum of colours, white and pink are most traditionally lain on graves.

The lily is said represent purity and symbolises the soul of the deceased returning to a peaceful state of innocence.

Roses

Roses can be used to convey a variety of different messages when placed on a memorial depending on the colour chosen. White roses are said to represent innocence, yellow means strong ties and friendship, dark crimson is for deep grief and sorrow, and light pink signifies love and grace.

Adding a single red rose to a bouquet expresses your enduring love for the person who has passed away.

Chrysanthemums

The chrysanthemum has different meanings around the world, but in Europe it is commonly used as a memorial flower symbolising sympathy and honour. Available in a wide array of colours and varieties, red chrysanthemums are said to signify love, white mean loyalty, and yellow are for sorrow.

Carnations

Carnations make excellent memorial flowers as they are beautifully fragrant and tend to last a long time.

Different coloured carnations have different meanings; white for innocence, pink for remembrance, and red for affection or admiration.

Orchid

These exotic and delicate flowers can be a particularly special and poignant addition to a loved one’s memorial. Orchids are said to represent eternal love, and whilst they are beautiful in any colour, pink and white orchids are most commonly associated with mourning and sympathy.

 

Signs that a memorial headstone requires renovation

Whilst memorial headstones are built to last, over the years, time will inevitably still take its toll.

Wind, rain, ice, and air pollution can all lead to the gradual deterioration of a memorial’s condition.

Whilst regular maintenance can keep a headstone looking good for longer, with time, most memorials will still require renovation to keep them looking beautiful.

At Buckley Memorials we provide a full renovation service to return memorials back to their former glory.

Here are the commonest signs that a memorial requires something more thorough than a wipe down with soapy water.

Writing is difficult to read– If the writing on a memorial is becoming worn away and difficult to read, then the letters will need to be professionally repainted, re-gilded, or otherwise repaired.

Discoloured– If general cleaning of your memorial isn’t removing the discolouration, then it will require attention from a professional. Trying to clean a memorial yourself with anything harsher than washing up liquid can do more damage than good. During a professional clean, safe chemicals are used to remove stubborn dirt and discolouration. The memorial may also be sanded to restore it to its former condition.

No NAMM fixture or feels unstable –All memorials are now required to be fitted with a NAMM fixing to ensure that they are safe and secure. If a memorial does not yet have a NAMM approved ground anchor, then this will need to be updated. An unstable, wobbly, or loose memorial is very dangerous and requires immediate renovation to prevent it causing anyone injury.

To find out more about how ourmemorial renovation servicecan revitalise your loved one’s headstone, get in touch by giving us a call on 0800 093 6800.

« Older posts

© 2020 Buckley Memorials

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑