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The independent voice of the funeral profession

Established 2006

ISSN 2046-7273


ervice times

Charity special Letting memories live on

Final touches Grave decorations and tributes

A true enthusiast Ian Hazel discusses his deeprooted passion for Jaguar and Daimler, which has resulted in a classic hearse collection

Sustaining skills Keeping the traditional willow weaving craft alive and investing in the future through apprenticeships


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This month

October  2011

Editor’s letter

C o n te n t s





What a way to go! 


Keeping track 




Final touches 


Decoration and commemoration 


Sustaining skills 


A product of innovation 


The latest news from the profession Relating the tale of a colleague’s uncomfortable visit to a bereaved family’s house, Gus Nichols highlights the emotional complexities of funeral directing Nigel Thorley takes a trip to Sutton Coldfield to discover the story behind Ian Hazel’s collection of Jaguar and Daimler hearses and limousines

Don Riley, director of MG UK, explains the principles behind vehicle telematics systems, and how they can be applied to funeral fleets New products and services from the trade Louise Hoffman takes a look at some of the decorative products that are available to enhance the appearance of a grave, or to add a meaningful tribute

Whether simple or elaborate, it is the meaning of the memorial or poem that is important, says Peter Wyllie Hugely proud of their work, the Somerset Willow Company’s apprentices discuss their responsibilities and what the opportunity has meant to them

Barry Floyd tells Louise Hoffman about Golden Leaves’ latest funeral plans, and how they fit in with the company’s vision CH A RI T Y S P E CI A L

A lasting memory 


The Stroke Association  Epilepsy Research UK  Vitalise  Macmillan Cancer Support  International Glaucoma Association  Arthritis Research  Foundation for Liver Research  Redwings Horse Sanctuary  Arthritis Care  British Kidney Patient Association  British Humanist Association  NSPCC  WinterWillow  Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society  CHICKS 

47 48 50 51 52 53 54 55 57 58 60 61 62 63 65





Voice on the highstreet 


Rev George Callander takes in memoriam donations as his theme for this ‘charity special’ issue, considering the relative merits of floral tributes and charitable tributes

A tribute to some of those who have died recently Up and coming events and meetings for the funeral profession Carol Spalding of Clarkson’s Independent Funeral Directors, Bath


t’s the second ‘charity special’ issue of the year, and once again a host of worthy organisations have contributed stories of their invaluable work in supporting people, communities, animals and the environment, to help you guide your clients in choosing a beneficiary for donations. Rev George Callander provides us with our usual reflection on the topic of in memoriam donations for this edition, in an extended instalment of his monthly bereavement comment column. He considers the move away from floral tributes, towards charitable ones – the history of the former and the role of both in the modern-day grieving process – and illustrates his comments with his own experiences of conducting funerals. He also reminds us to recognise the huge spectrum of charities currently operating in the UK, and indeed across the world, many of which are small and underappreciated. And on this note I’d like to remind readers that our annual Charities and Appeals Directory is also on the horizon. Accompanying the December issue of Funeral Service Times, the directory will provide you with an extensive selection of charitable causes, including hundreds of smaller organisations as well as the wellknown names. Other highlights of the magazine this month include the story of funeral director Ian Hazel’s passion for classic cars, and his resulting collection of Jaguar and Daimler hearses and limousines (beginning on page 16); and a selection of the latest decorative products to allow your clients to personalise their loved ones’ graves (beginning on page 31). I hope you enjoy the magazine and the month ahead.

Louise Hoffman




Funeral Service The independent voice of the funeral profession


Established 2006

Funeral Service Times is published monthly by:

Mulberry Publications Ltd, Wellington House, Butt Road, Colchester CO3 3DA Tel: 01206 767 797 Fax: 01206 767 532 Editor Louise Hoffman Editorial Assistant Jon Chapple Production Assistant Lewis Bowes Group Advertisement Manager Kelly Smith Advertising Sales Adam Bennett Accounts Maureen Scrivener Customer Services 01206 767 797 Contributing writers: Gus Nichols, Nigel Thorley, Peter Wyllie & Rev George Callander Design Arthouse Publishing Solutions Ltd 01394 410 490

ISSN 2046-7273 The editor and publishers do not guarantee the accuracy of statements made by contributors or advertisers, or accept responsibility for any statement that they express in this publication. The opinion of the contributors may not necessarily be the opinion of the publishers. Articles are considered for publication on the basis that they are the author’s original work. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the permission of the publishers.

NAFD to relay coroner reform concerns to government Members of Parliament are worried that “accountability, consistency and leadership” within the coroner system will be compromised if the Government pushes on with plans to abolish the post of Chief Coroner, according to the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD). The decision to transfer certain functions of the Chief Coroner to the Lord Chancellor or Lord Chief Justice has given rise to a number of Parliamentary Questions and debates in recent months. Jonathan Djanogly MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, said the plans represent “the fastest and most efficient way of delivering reform of the coronial system,” adding that the Government accepts “that some stakeholders would prefer us to proceed with full implementation of the office of the Chief Coroner.” The NAFD has confirmed it will be writing to the Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke QC MP, to “highlight the views of the funeral industry.” “It is extremely encouraging to see MPs and peers taking such a keen interest in the proposed reform of the coroner service,” said NAFD chief executive officer Alan Slater. “Given the type of Parliamentary Questions being asked, it is clear there is considerable disquiet about the Government’s plans and the impact they will have on the industry and bereaved families. We are therefore pleased to contribute to the on-going debate by ensuring MPs are fully aware of the profession’s views.”

John Hush recognised for 63 years of loyal service A Berwick funeral director has been recognised for 63 years of service to his community. John Hush, 78, was presented with an engraved Lifetime Achievement Award and set of crystal glasses by Co-operative Funeralcare managing director George Tinning at the organisation’s Leadership Conference on the 15 September. Hush started his career as an apprentice joiner at the then Tweedside Industrial Co-operative Society in 1948, making the wheels for horse-drawn carts. He worked his way up the career ladder, gaining his first managerial position in 1968 and witnessing several Co-operative Society mergers since. Earlier this year, he became Berwick-upon-Tweed’s first honorary freeman – also in recognition of his remarkable service to the local community over many years. “This is an outstanding achievement by someone who has helped generations of families through bereavement with care and respect,” commented Tinning. “People like John are absolutely invaluable to their communities and deserve recognition. This award is given out very rarely and I doubt we’ll see anyone else match John’s years of service.”

First Resomation unit goes live in state of Florida Resomation Ltd has installed its first commercial alkaline hydrolysis unit at a Florida funeral home. The facility was installed at the Anderson-McQueen funeral home in St Petersburg, made possible after the Florida state legislature approved the use of the technology. It is now one of seven American states in which the process has been legalised, and it is hoped by the makers that other units will soon follow in the United States, Canada and Europe. The Resomation process uses a water and alkali-based method to break the body down chemically – something Resomation Ltd says produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, while using a seventh of the energy. It also allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam, enabling safe disposal. “Resomation was developed in response to the public’s increasing environmental concerns,” Sandy Sullivan, founder of the Glasgow-based company, told BBC News. “It gives them that working third choice, allowing them to express those concerns in a very positive and – I think personal – way.”


Cost of dying up 20 per cent but Brits still unprepared The cost of dying is spiralling, but most people remain unprepared and risk leaving relatives footing the bill, new research by Sun Life Direct has found. The insurer’s latest Cost of Dying report revealed that costs related to death have risen to an average £7,248 – a 20 per cent increase over the last four years – and suggested that they will continue to increase over the coming years. Sun Life also found evidence of confusion around end-of-life planning and a lack of preparation by the majority of the British public, with over a quarter of those surveyed saying they have no funeral plans in place and a further 44 per cent stating that they expect family or friends to organise and pay for their funeral. “There are a lot of options out there now, and individuals have the power to take control of their funeral arrangements and make choices that reflect their personal values,” said WinterWillow’s Tracy O’Leary, who is organising a special awareness day in Barton in Cambridgeshire in response to the findings.

Three minute interview

Mark Shaw, next president, Scottish SAIF Describe yourself in three words

Honest, witty, reliable.

Woodland Burial Parks flies the Green Flag The three cemeteries owned and run by Woodland Burial Parks have retained their coveted Green Flag status in this year’s Green Flag Awards. Managed by a consortium comprised of Keep Britain Tidy, GreenSpace and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, the Green Flag Award Scheme – which rewards outstanding green spaces in England and Wales – again recognised Epping Forest Burial Park, Colney Woodland Burial Park and Chiltern Woodland Burial Park as being some of the best in the country. Woodland Burial Parks’ managing director Andrew Paling said the company was “delighted” to be “nationally recognised for our high standards.” Green Flag Plus Partnership chairman Phil Barton added: “I would like to congratulate this year’s winners, who have worked hard throughout the year to keep their parks and green spaces at a high standard and to ensure they are pleasant and enjoyable spaces for the whole community. “As the value of green space and the role it plays in our communities strengthens, we must ensure that these high standards remain.”

What is your earliest memory?

Probably the first time I dressed myself. My clothes may have been on back-to-front, but it was nevertheless a great success (and a key life skill which has proved useful over the years!). When you were at school, what did you want to be and why?

A funeral director. This is the only job that has ever interested me – I’ve tried others, but this is the job for me. I played the organ in church for funerals while I was at school, and through this I saw the importance of the role funeral directors play in the lives of the bereaved. What was the first music album you bought?

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 on cassette. I was never a trendy child. If you could have dinner with one person, who would you choose and why?

Apart from my wife, it would be Lord Sugar – as long as he was paying. I’d love to hear first-hand about the good and bad times he’s had in his business journey. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Be the best you can be at whatever you try. What is your next goal in life?

To keep developing the business I started from scratch seven years ago. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

The end of an era for Wootton Bassett The Wiltshire town of Royal Wootton Bassett has played its final part in the repatriation of British service personnel killed in action. In an act of remembrance organised by the local council, the people of Wootton Bassett watched as the Union Flag was lowered in a sunset ceremony on the 31 August and taken to a new memorial garden in Oxford. As of 1 September, repatriations return to a new, purpose-built centre at RAF Brize Norton. The town had become strongly linked with the homecomings of deceased military personnel and regularly saw large crowds of ex-servicemen, families and local people lining its streets to pay their respects as funeral corteges were driven towards RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.

China – to visit a totally different culture and see the merging of the ancient and the modern. What is your favourite quote or saying?

If you don’t look after your clients, someone else will. What is the most important thing your job has taught you?

Every human life is unique, but ultimately equal, and if somehow we could all treat each other like that, the world would be a different place.




And briefly Vehicles destroyed in fire Three vehicles were destroyed in a fire at an Inverness funeral home’s garage on the 10 September. The roof of the garage in Balnain Street, owned by D Chisholm and Sons Funeral Directors, was completely destroyed. Two fire engines and a lifting platform attended the blaze, which broke out at 6pm. Nobody was injured.

Roland launches Creative Awards competition In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Roland DG – a supplier of cutters, printers and engravers to the funeral trade – is inviting customers to participate in the Roland Creative Awards – the company’s first ever global competition. Designed to recognise “some of the amazing things that Roland DG customers create every single day,” entrants will be marked on creativity, innovation and execution, with all entries showcased live online at until the deadline of the 31 December. For more information, visit the Creative Awards website.

Colourful Coffins’ daisy guarantee Colourful Coffins has launched a new campaign to make it easier for bereaved families to recognise a genuine Colourful Coffin. Known as ‘Look for the Daisy’, the initiative has been prompted by the increasing number of colour picture coffins in the marketplace, something managing director Mary Tomes says may be causing consumers to be “missing out on [Colourful Coffins’] quality guarantee and service level.” The name ‘Look for the Daisy’ highlights the fact that a daisy logo is imprinted on every item that leaves the company’s Oxfordshire factory.

Headstone row mother ‘told to exhume daughter’ The mother of a teenager killed in a car crash has claimed she was told she will have to exhume her daughter’s body if she wants to give her a decorated headstone. Jenny Howden – whose daughter Jessica Harris died in February – said the Diocese of Wakefield had rejected a headstone decorated with an angel and a photograph of her daughter at Manor Road cemetery in Ossett, but added that she was not told which headstones were allowed. “I knew I wanted an angel and I knew I wanted a photo,” she said. “If they had told me I couldn’t have these things then I would have picked for her to be buried at Dewsbury or Flanshaw. I was told by the Wakefield Diocese that if I wasn’t happy, then to have her exhumed and have her moved.” The Reverend Richard Steel, from the Diocese, stated that the parish has a “proper procedure” in place to ensure families know about the rules governing graveyards before any burials take place, but said that “sadly, in this case, the details seem not to have arrived with the family in time. “Mrs Howden has the right to appeal to the chancellor – our senior legal adviser – over the gravestone,” he added. The grave is currently still without a permanent headstone, however South Ossett Church, which runs the cemetery, has agreed to rethink its approach to mourning families.

Buddhist hearse is a star of the show A Buddhist hearse was a surprise attraction for crowds at the Vale of Glamorgan show in August. Hundreds of curious visitors flocked to the stand of Barry funeral home A G Adams & Son to take photographs of the unusual vehicle. Staff from the home also ran a competition to guess the number of balloons that could fit in a Jaguar hearse, which raised almost £100 for Mencap. “Visitors were absolutely fascinated by the Buddhist hearse,” said A G Adams funeral director Arthur Thompson, “and lots of them stopped to take photos or ask questions. It is a magnificent vehicle and really was a star of the show.”

FSP continues ‘buy-and-build’ Funeral Services Partnership Ltd (FSP) is continuing its buy-and-build strategy in the funeral services sector with the acquisition of the Brian Wilton Funeral Home in Bournemouth. The news follows the purchases of Paul Capper Ltd, Roger A J Drury Ltd and Roy Quinton Funeral Directors Ltd earlier in the summer, bringing FSP’s acquisitions to 14 businesses since September 2009, when August Equity committed £23 million to fund the project. August Equity partner Aatif Hassan said the acquisitions “are a testament to the work the managerial team has put in.”

Williams takes on chains of office A funeral home worker based in Warrington has become the mayor of his home town. David Williams, 49, a driver and bearer for the Co-operative Funeralcare in Whiston in Merseyside, was first appointed to Whiston Town Council in 2009 and re-elected in 2011. Manager Ryan Modlin said: “I’d like to congratulate David on his appointment. It is a suitable reward for the dedicated service he has given to his community and is indicative of the commitment the Co-operative Funeralcare staff give to their local communities.”

Alarm system installed at Turkish morgue A local council in central Turkey has constructed a morgue with a warning system in case apparently dead bodies come back to life. The 36-capacity mortuary, located in the province of Malatya, has been fitted with refrigerators sensitive to movement. An alarm will sound if even the slightest motion is detected inside. “If the patient, proclaimed dead by doctors, awakens from a state of unconsciousness, then we consider each and every possibility,” a council official, Akif Kayadurmus, said. He added that the refrigerator doors are kitted out with internal door handles.



And briefly High-vis vests distributed to Irish undertakers High-visibility vests are being distributed to more than 100 churches in County Mayo in the Republic of Ireland, to protect attendees at country funerals. The churches will make the vests available to undertakers to distribute to volunteers marshalling traffic at funerals on dark country roads. “I would like to commend Mayo County Council for coming up with this idea and to thank them for giving their time in seeing it through,” said undertaker Michael Kilcoyne. “This is a constant concern we have when we are having funeral removals in the countryside.”

George VI’s funeral train exhibited in Cornwall Steam enthusiasts from across the country travelled to the south-west of England on the 6 September to witness an historic train make a rare trip to the region. The Britannia, a 60-year-old class Seven 4-6-2 that pulled the funeral train of King George VI to London following his death in February 1952, visited Newquay, Okehampton and Exeter. Marcus Robertson, the chairman of Steam Dreams – which brought the locomotive to the region – said: “As far as we can see it’s the first time a big main line engine has gone to Newquay since the 60s… so it’s very exciting for everyone along the route.”

NAFD uploads NFE and AGM short films The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) is giving funeral professionals the chance to catch up with two major summer events – the National Funeral Exhibition and the organisation’s conference and annual general meeting – by posting a series of short films online. NAFD CEO Alan Slater said the Association “will be investigating opportunities to add further video content in the coming months.” Please visit

A Giving Tribute now trading A Giving Tribute – described as “the caring alternative to funeral flowers” – is now trading, following a successful launch at the National Funeral Exhibition. “We were delighted with the enthusiastic response by funeral directors who recognise the need for affordable tributes that their clients can keep,” commented owner Liz Mowatt. Visit for more information.

Funéraire focusing on urns, coffins and green funerals Ahead of its opening on the 17 November, the organisers of Funéraire Paris have revealed more about what will be on offer at 2011’s event. Responding to rising cremation rates across Europe, Reed Expositions has announced that the range of urns on offer at this year’s show has grown and diversified, with over 50 exhibitors displaying urns and a special emphasis on unique and personalisable models. The show will also address the growing trend towards ‘green’ funerals, with a selection of “eco-responsible” ranges, electric hearses, biodegradable urns and solutions for the disposal of waste and metals derived from cremation. Finally, innovations in coffins – including the “sleek lines, new shapes and atypical colours” becoming increasingly common in modern coffin design – will be wellrepresented, including by Tommerup Kister; a Danish company that was presented with the prestigious Red Dot Design Award for its Diamant 32 range of coffins and urns. Funéraire Paris will take place from the 17 to the 19 November 2011. For an exhibitor list and more information, visit

All okay for croquet! A funeral director has donated two croquet mallets to his local Women’s Institute (WI) to thank them for their hard work in the community. Des Hawkins, from Paul Fudge Funeral Directors in Wellington and Taunton, met members of the West Buckland Women’s Institute Croquet Group through directing the funeral of a WI member. He discovered that the group’s croquet mallets were past their prime and offered to donate two new ones. “I suggested they hold a memorial competition every year in her memory,” commented Hawkins, “and this is what they have done. The WI do a lot in the local community and I wanted to support them.”


Sometimes we hear too much…

Relating the tale of a colleague’s uncomfortable visit to a bereaved family’s house, Gus Nichols of FIAT-IFTA highlights the emotional complexities of funeral directing


bout 10 years ago, a colleague of mine received a call from a local family asking him to visit their home and make funeral arrangements. Their father and husband, a man in his early 50s, had died the previous evening in hospital, of a cancerrelated illness. Barry, my colleague, drove down to the house, parked nearby, gathered up his briefcase and walked up to the door. He was a little puzzled to hear loud music being played from inside the house. He checked the number of the house again and phoned the office to double check, but the information was correct. He rang the bell. A woman wearing pyjamas opened the door and greeted Barry warmly. “Oh, hi there, you must be from Nichols. Come in, we’re expecting you,” she said. Barry walked in. It was like the morning after the night before. There had been a serious party and it felt as if it hadn’t quite finished yet. Barry cleared empty cans and a paper plate from the couch and sat down.

Next a woman in her 50s walked in, wearing her dressing-gown. Barry introduced himself and she thanked him for calling to the house. The music was turned down and they began to discuss the funeral arrangements. Calmly and methodically the details for the funeral were agreed. Next, Barry went through the cremation application form with the family. After completing the first couple of lines – name, age, address of the deceased and so on – Barry asked: “And your husband’s occupation is…?” Quick as a flash, she replied: “Professional scumbag, liar and thief,” to much laughter from the others. Barry scribbled ‘unemployed’ and moved swiftly onto the next question – but there was more to come. He asked if the deceased had any prosthesis, pace-maker or defibrillator. They replied no to all of these. Then the daughter, who had opened the door to Barry earlier, piped up: “Is there a question on that form

about anything that was removed as opposed to added?” Puzzled, Barry replied: “No – only medical devices that he may have required.” “Pity,” she said, “I would have put down brain!” Clearly, this was a man who was not going to be sorely missed. This story, to me at least, illustrates how we as funeral directors can become privy to information and details about families and people that we really should not hear. You could argue that it demonstrates how much people trust you, but in reality I think this candour from families is a symptom of the shock of bereavement and those very strange days following a death. That said, this feature of funeral service is one of many that make every day different and interesting. For more information about FIAT-IFTA, please visit




What a way to go! Nigel Thorley of Jaguar Enthusiast magazine visits

funeral director and classic car owner Ian Hazel, to find out about his passion for Jaguar and Daimler


an Hazel’s great grandfather was Arthur Hazel, a grave digger at the local parish church, and he started a funeral business in 1901 with a single hearse, then of course horse drawn. By 1917 he had taken his three sons into partnership and formed the business of A Hazel & Sons, operating out of Erdington in Birmingham. And in the 1920s he gained his first motorised vehicle – a van

– but still used horse-drawn hearses for some considerable time. Indeed, even during world war two, horses were the favoured mode of transport for lots of reasons, not least because of petrol rationing. By 1937 the business had expanded to such an extent that purpose-built premises in Erdington were acquired, from which the growing funeral directorship could be run.

By this time they had a varied selection of cars, as diverse as Renault and Rolls-Royce. Ian’s father and uncle joined the growing family business after the second world war, at which time motorised transport became the norm for funerals, but even then they were mostly pre-owned vehicles, purchased from the likes of the landed gentry who were disposing of large saloons and limousines in favour of newer vehicles. By tradition most of these cars (usually Daimlers anyway) were painted black, and even on occasion carried crests on the door – a feature that the Hazels retained as a mark of prestige!


The business was doing well and by the early 1960s had purchased its first two new Daimler DR450 limousines and a hearse built by Thomas Startin of Birmingham on a DR450 chassis. In the 1970s they moved onto DS420 limousines – a model that became synonymous with the carriage trade and ambassadorial operations. The hearse was coach built on the DS420 chassis, also by Thomas Startin. Ian Hazel joined the business of A Hazel & Sons in 1977, as the fourth generation of the family, after serving some years in industry to gain experience

and qualifications in business. By 1987 Ian’s father had died, his uncle had retired and another local funeral director, Harold Hodgson, acquired the Hazel’s business (now part of a larger organisation, Dignity Funerals Ltd). Ian then left the business a few months later to start his own operation – Ian Hazel Funerals Ltd in Sutton Coldfield – and now his daughters are part of the fifth generation of Hazels to be involved with the profession. The family connection goes further as Ian’s father-inlaw used to run another funeral business on the south side of Birmingham!

The Ian Hazel Funerals fleet When Ian first started his business he tended to hire cars and a hearse when needed, as a way of keeping costs down and coping with periods of high demand, without having to buy and maintain larger-than-normal fleets, which would lie unused for a lot of the time. Ian hired these cars from his father-in-law, who used Daimlers that carried specific registration numbers, all of which used the digits ‘777’. The first hearse that Ian actually purchased (again, from his father-in-law) was a Daimler DS420 hearse, registered 777 FCH. He




Above: The early days of the Hazel family business with a varied array of cars including Daimler (of course), Renault, and is that a Maudesley?

then went on to purchase his own DS420 limousines and a Startin’s DS420 ‘lowline’ hearse. He decided to buy in specific registration numbers with the digits ‘777’, and he still maintains these numbers on all his vehicles today. In the early 1990s it was time to update the fleet, and Eagle-produced stretched six-door versions of the then current XJ40 models were purchased, along with a suitable hearse to complete the set. Although badged as Daimlers, these were (as current cars) actually Jaguar models, supplied from the Jaguar factory, less certain aspects of trim. Eagle Coachworks converts the cars by Below: Getting into the Daimler tradition, with a Rolls interloper on the far left hand side

Above: What the author thinks are Daimler Fifteen limousines with a DE36 hearse, all from the pre-second-world-war period



Above: Ian Hazel taking delivery of the first set of XJ40 cars and a hearse

Above: A Daimler DE36 hearse, the chassis of which would have graced many a Royal coachbuilt limousine over the years

Above: A Hazel & Sons’ first DS420 models along with a DR450 Daimler Majestic Major limousine on the far left Below: Early DS420 models in the Ian Hazel fleet, with the first hearse they purchased on the left

stripping the shell, cutting it and adding the relevant extra length, in this case to accommodate three doors per side. The cars not only carried Daimler badging and trim but also Insignia-styled hub caps on conventional steel wheels. In 2000 the cars were changed for the then current XJ8 models, with 3.2 litre engines, again badged as Daimlers. Then, four years ago, it was time for another change of vehicle, and again Jaguar was chosen as the favoured brand. By this time the Eagle Coachworks had been able to re-engineer the X-350 all-aluminium bodyshell to produce new limousines and hearses for the carriage trade. Initially Ian purchased a single hearse and one car, both 4.2 litre models, then a year later he purchased another two cars, and a year later yet another car, although this time a pre-owned example, making a total of the















Above: The first six door models entered the Hazel fleet, all XJ40 models

Above: The year 2000 and the first modern V8 cars to enter the fleet Below: A matched pair – X-350 six-door limousine and matching four-door hearse

Above: Ian Hazel’s personal E-type, a Series 2 fhc with Minilite wheels


Above: Having 3 doors per side… Below: …plus no division, allowed for an extra set of fixed seating and better comfort for passengers in the X-350 stretched limousines

Below: Adequate accommodation!

Above: The high roof allows plenty of space

Below: A very well executed conversion to six-door accommodation by Eagle Specialist Vehicles in Lancashire

Above: Ample seating for the bearers in the hearse

four cars you see depicted here along with the hearse and one XJ8 model retained from the previous fleet. The vehicles don’t cover a high mileage – around 3,000 miles per annum for a car and perhaps up to 4,000 miles for a hearse. Two of my final questions to Ian also related to the cars. Firstly, why stay with Jaguar (or Daimler!)? He comments: “While I could buy combinations of other cars like Volvos, Mercedes, Saabs or even Vauxhalls, I am fortunate enough to be able to afford Jaguars and Daimlers. They represent quality and prestige and honestly have more room in the back than most of the others. As long as

they are produced, I shall retain my loyalty to the brand.” This lead to my last question about the future: what next? “I have already seen the new XJ in prototype form and, surprisingly, despite its very modern styling, found that the stretch works very well. Although there won’t be any Daimler badged versions available, I will almost certainly be moving on to that model later, probably in 3.0 litre diesel form.” And finally, I ought to mention that Ian Hazel is a member of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club and does own his own personal Jaguar, a classic E-type Series 2 fhc.

Above: Ian Hazel, ready for business

Printed with thanks to Nigel Thorley, Jaguar Enthusiast magazine, and Ian Hazel. More information on Ian Hazel Funerals Ltd can be found at



Vehicle telematics

Keeping track Don Riley, director of MG UK, explains the

principles behind vehicle telematics systems, and how they can be applied to funeral fleets


wo of the most costly resources for funeral directors are the vehicles they operate and the personnel who crew them. Utilised efficiently they are also the most important investments a funeral service provider can make. However, when operated without full control, inefficiencies can creep in and their contribution to the success of the business becomes diluted. The same applies to most businesses with vehicle fleets, which is why vehicle monitoring systems or telematics have become increasingly popular in recent years across a wide spectrum of industries. The basic principles of telematics are simple: vehicles are fitted with a matchboxsized device which uses GPS satellite technology to send data back to a central computer, linked to the internet, detailing an array of information. This can include the vehicle’s current location, routes, mileage, locations visited, speeds, times and even driver ID. By detailed reporting and mapping, transport controllers can see exactly where a vehicle is and, importantly, where it has been – for the whole of the last 12 months if needed. Telematics systems also come in useful should a vehicle be stolen, with its location being instantly available. Unfortunately, even funeral directors can fall victim to thieves as a firm in Leamington, Canada, discovered recently when a $60,000 Cadillac hearse was stolen while parked outside a funeral parlour. Fortunately, it was fitted with a monitoring system and was quickly recovered by the police and the culprits apprehended!

The unprecedented rise in fuel costs has seen demand for telematics increase dramatically this year due to the substantial savings the systems can achieve in reducing fuel consumption. A 10 per cent saving in fuel costs per vehicle should be easily achievable, according to Don Riley, director of MG UK. “There is no doubt telematic systems are proving to be a vital component for many businesses in achieving substantial savings on their fuel bills. Even before this year’s fuel increases our customers have told us that they are saving tens of thousands of pounds, including a coach operator saving £20,000 and a maintenance contractor saving an average of £1,600 per vehicle a year. And with funeral fleets using higher consumption limousines, the potential for savings is high. “Simple changes to employees’ driving habits can make a huge difference – reducing engine idling time is one area in which savings can be made, with one hour’s idling potentially using a gallon of fuel worth more than £6. Telematics systems also curtail unauthorised journeys, as well as ensuring that drivers are taking the most efficient route for authorised journeys.” Don says there are also specific benefits for funeral directors to consider: “One of the really important elements in this very sensitive industry is the ability to know the exact location of a cortege while travelling to a funeral – particularly with relatives in procession. Timings are quite critical and with telematics the company’s management

will know exactly where the cortege is for every minute of the journey. Businesses have also turned to telematics to improve their green credentials by reducing their fleets’ carbon dioxide emissions. “Telematics is an extremely effective way of reducing a company’s carbon footprint by reducing mileage, curbing inappropriate driving habits and minimising wasteful engine idling. Attempting this is almost impossible without having the benefit of vehicle monitoring,” Don explains. In addition to fuel saving, companies are benefitting from the protection that telematics systems provide as a defence under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act of 2007, in the event of an accident involving their staff. If senior management has shown gross negligence to the health and safety of a workforce and a death occurs, an offence of corporate manslaughter or corporate homicide can now be brought. But a major change delivered by the introduction of this Act is that senior managers can now be held personally responsible for the health and safety of employees. By installing telematics, managers can prove that they have taken their duty of care seriously in having effective monitoring of employees’ driving habits and knowing the precise location of employees in real time. The system will also record the speed of vehicles involved in an accident and will produce detailed journey and incident reports. “For some time now telematics systems have been a standard fitment for logistic companies, but their value is becoming increasingly recognised by smaller companies across a range of industry sectors,” Don concludes.

Call 01892 752130 For further information and to view our price list please visit or email



Association of Independent Celebrants

Tributes Ltd

The Traditional Willow Coffin is proving to be a popular addition to Tributes Ltd’s range of hand-woven willow and bamboo coffins. “The classic lines of this design appeal to those who are looking for a more recognisable coffin shape,” says Tributes marketing director Susan Macmillan, “and this model provides a perfect complement to our beautiful Teardrop shape coffins in willow and bamboo. Customer feedback on our product quality; friendly and conscientious customer service; and next-working-day delivery is always excellent, and we take great pride in our fantastic team.” Information: 0845 388 8742, or

The Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC) says that, in just over three years, it has gone from a supporting act to “one of the leading roles in the funeral industry.” Originally a networking organisation run by a training company, it has now evolved into a recognised professional body, achieved with the driving force of a committee-led team who state that they’re determined to succeed in a very competitive market. Chaired by president Eric Gill (pictured), the AOIC has now embarked on an ambitious training programme that promises not to flood over-subscribed areas with more celebrants, but research more into areas where there are “opportunities for new members to work.” Information: or

The Milestone Publishing Company

Finishing Touches is the first in a series of six books by Jean Francis, whose mission is to break the taboo surrounding funerals. The pocket-sized book contains invaluable information that is designed to help transform a sombre occasion into a meaningful celebration of life. Publisher Milestone says that Finishing Touches will enable informed choices to be made, “empowering the reader with vibrant ideas that spark the imagination into thoughtprovoking action.” Information: 01403 273 754 or

E Business Resources

Internet marketing consultant E Business Resources Ltd – which launched its brand new directory for the funeral service profession in August – has hit the 1,000 basic listings mark. The website, which offers a solution to the problem of how to have a guaranteed high-profile presence on the internet, has, since its launch, been uploading basic information listings for the 5,000-plus funeral businesses in the UK. Its aim is to have all British businesses listed by Christmas this year. Basic listings are free, while upgraded and enhanced listing costs can be found on the website. Upgrading listings greatly improves business rankings with search engines and gives the general public more information when searching for their choice of funeral director. Information: 0844 870 9074 or


Final touches

Louise Hoffman takes a look at

some of the decorative products that are available to enhance the appearance of a grave, or to add a meaningful tribute Initial Monogram Company




Adding floral tributes, ornaments and other trinkets can allow family and friends to honour and preserve memories and feel in some way close to their loved one


hile the conflict over grave decorations continues at several cemeteries across the UK – with one particular site in Colchester having rather harshly been dubbed the ‘Poundland’ cemetery by critics of its windchime- and ornament-laden plots – the fact remains that tending the grave of a loved one is, for many, a key part of the grieving process. Adding floral tributes, ornaments and other trinkets that relate to the deceased can allow family and friends to honour and preserve memories and feel in some way close to their loved one, as well as providing them with an active occupation and focus as they come to terms with their loss. Realising the importance of this concept, Manor Park Cemetery & Crematorium in London offers its own range of memorials and memorabilia, helping people to create a lasting tribute to their loved ones within its grounds. These include roses and shrubs and lifetime memorials such as the Book of Remembrance and bronze plaques in the chapel complex. Working in the memorial manufacturing and wholesale industry for 35 years, Phoenix Marble & Granite Ltd also knows all too well the value that customers place upon such decorative items, and offered me its own thoughts on the subject: “We have seen a steady increase in requests to make memorials more personalised by incorporating designs, images or subjects that best represent the character, hobbies or passions of the person whose life the memorial commemorates. This results in a more fitting tribute for the family and friends of a loved one, making the memorial as individual as the person it is there to represent. It also makes a cemetery a more interesting place for others visiting. “There has been a significant rise in requests for sandblasted etchings – coloured or otherwise – as well as the more traditional relief carvings. Today’s technology has enabled us to faithfully reproduce almost any request, from a basic Latin cross to the most intricate military crests. “We have also produced many children’s memorials in our time, and are always greatly saddened by the family’s loss. At the same time we, along with the bereaved, derive huge satisfaction from creating the perfect lasting symbol of remembrance for the child. “Although churchyards exercise greater resistance to this trend, the majority of local authority cemeteries are more than happy to accommodate it,” the company adds. ‘Now and Forever’ is a brand new concept in grave decoration, available from Initial Monogram Company. Established in 1992, the firm expanded its product range to include memorial products in 2009 – memorial products “with a twist”, that is! “These new products can very simply be personalised thanks to a permanently self-adhesive, click-in lettering and numbering system,” the company explains. “On the front of a simple base – which can be weighted by the addition of sand or water – there is a self-adhesive

Phoenix Marble & Granite Ltd

Initial Monogram Company



“We have seen a steady increase in requests to make memorials more personalised by incorporating designs that best represent the person whose life the memorial commemorates” plaque. Click-in letters and numbers can be added to this plaque to create words and dates which produce a lasting memorial to a much-loved relative or friend. “The base is further embellished by one of a choice of several suitable statuettes or a picture frame, all of which simply slot into the top. The memorial is then placed over the final resting place,” it continues. Another item in the new memorial range, which uses the same personalisation method, is the flower holder with a stylish pillar design, or a resin-covered steel ground stake. Flower cones in two sizes are also available, and can be placed in soft ground at the grave. The products are available in an all-weather finish of natural walnut, carbon fibre, white marble or alabaster, with letters and numbers in a choice of gold or silver effect. A wide range of pre-worded self-adhesive memorial plates are also available, which can be used as an alternative to the more personalised letters and numbers. Leslie R Tipping is a leading provider of funeral supply products, and as part of its extensive range it also offers a comprehensive selection of items for use at the graveside. The company’s artificial grass matting and grave sets are made from hardwearing materials to protect the graveside, while its high quality wooden grave markers in oak or mahogany are available in two sizes, as is a black plastic version, complete with a plate which can be engraved. “We also showcase a good range of flower vases, which can permanently be kept at the grave to enable mourners to pay their respects with a token of flowers,” the company adds. Last but not least is Rainbow Decorative Products, whose stand I visited at the NFE in June having been interested in its troughs of brightly coloured glass chippings. Enquiring further, I discovered that the glass was also recycled, adding yet another dimension and modern-day relevance to the centuries-old concept of grave decoration. “As far as kerb sets go, chippings have been on the scene for many years; white, green or grey granite has always been on offer as a decorative material. Now, what Rainbow offers, with its creative range of grave décor, are glass chippings available in 10 colours, so that you can express a whole range of sentiments and emotions. The passing of a loved one is open to expression, and with our help the client can have the sentiment he or she is looking for – if the deceased was a sports fan, why not have his or her team’s colours!” the company elaborates. In many aspects of 21st century society, personalisation is now the vehicle by which individuals are seeking to distinguish themselves in a ballooning population. And as is becoming increasingly evident, through the wishes of clients and through stories such as that of Colchester Cemetery, funerals are no exception. So for those who are not already bearing this in mind, perhaps now is the time?

Leslie R Tipping

Rainbow Decorative Products

Supplier listing Fibrous: 0845 450 8935 or Fotoplex Grigio: 01329 311 920 or Initial Monogram Company: 01923 255 540 or Leslie R Tipping: 0161 480 7629 or Manor Park Cemetery & Crematorium: 0208 534 1486 or Phoenix Marble & Granite: 01202 894 110 or Rainbow Decorative Products: 01749 841 728 or Town & Country Memorials: 01329 830 472 or


Hearse and verse

Decoration and commemoration Whether simple or elaborate, it is the meaning of the memorial or poem that is important, says Peter Wyllie


ate in September I drove down to Hendon Cemetery to visit the grave of my partner’s grandfather. It is a visit that she likes to make a couple of times a year. Together we tend the grave, tidy the area around it, remove weeds and perhaps plant something seasonal to brighten the area. There is something comforting about those trips, and as we drive away there is a strong feeling of peace and calm; of all being right with the world. We spent some extra time at the cemetery last weekend and strolled around soaking up the peaceful atmosphere and also enjoying looking at some of the more elaborate grave decorations erected by families keen to commemorate their loved one with a bold statement. What is true of grave decorations is also true of poems of remembrance; some are very simple, while others use quite extravagant language, but in the end it is the depth of the meaning, the warmth of the sentiment or the strength of the feeling that matter, rather than the brightness of the gilding. This first poem was written by Mary Parker and was read at her own funeral and, this week, was also read at the service of her sister. Mary called it simply Remembrance. Keep me in remembrance That is all I ask of you; Think of me as one who was Devoted, fond and true. Do not let the passing years Blot out that memory Or dim the recollections I have prized so tenderly. Hold me in remembrance So that when I come again I shall find you as you were My own may you remain. Let the old love still continue Though we are apart Do not fail – forget me not And keep me in your heart.

This poem was chosen last month to be read by a grandson at the funeral of his beloved nan. He changed ‘mother’ and ‘mum’ to ‘nan’ to personalise it to his family. He read it with tears in his eyes and with quiet dignity; truly a beautiful tribute to a much loved lady. Waiting at Heaven’s Door Death beckoned her with outstretched hand And whispered softly of an unknown land, But she was not afraid to go For though the path she did not know She took death’s hand without a fear For God who safely brought her here Had promised He would lead the way Into eternity’s bright day. For none of us need go alone Into the valley that is unknown, But, guided by our Father’s hand We journey to the promised land. She was your special loving Mother You shared your lives with one another, And you’ll find comfort for your grief In knowing her death brought sweet relief. For, now she is free from all suffering and pain And your great loss became her gain... You know that her love is with you still For she loved you in life and always will. Love like hers can never end Because it is the perfect blend Of joy and sorrows, smiles and tears, That just grew stronger with the years. Love like hers can never die For she’s taken it with her to the sky... So think of Mum as living above No farther away than your undying love, For now she is happy and free once more And she’s waiting for you at Heaven’s door. Helen Steiner Rice

Peter Wyllie is an independent funeral celebrant and a member of the AOIC. For more information please visit or

If you have found a poem that is particularly appropriate to a certain situation we would love to hear from you. Send your contributions to

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Sustaining skills Investing in the future is not only a key part of business strategy for the Somerset Willow Company, it is also providing young people with career opportunities and the chance to keep a traditional craft alive


he Somerset Willow Company has always been proud of the wealth of knowledge which has been passed down through the generations of its family business. The company, where possible, supports local businesses, and instead of sourcing products from outside of the UK, it opts to invest in young, talented individuals via an apprenticeship scheme in order to manufacture willow products in its workshops in Somerset. The willow industry in the UK has unfortunately been very much on the decline over the last 40 years and large areas of willow cultivation have all but disappeared. This is due mainly to the abundance of cheaper basketware imported from China and eastern Europe, which is often of poor quality.

Despite this, the Somerset Willow Company is still managing to move forward by recruiting new apprentices for its intensive fiveyear training scheme. In fact, over the last five years the company has taken on and trained over 10 new apprentices to cope with the demand for its willow coffins. The company cites the continued support of the loyal funeral directors and other customers who have supported the company since it first started making willow coffins in 1998 as the reason for its continued expansion, enabling it to pass down generations of skills to new apprentices, and help to preserve a very traditional British skill in the years to come. Here, some of the Somerset Willow apprentices tell their stories‌


Pete, balloon basket crafts person I first started my apprenticeship in December 2010. The work can be quite challenging, hard on my hands, and at times physically demanding, but that’s why I enjoy it. When I first started here I found the work confusing and very hard, but as the months passed it became easier with help from my work colleagues.

Liam, willow coffin crafts person I began a summer job at Somerset Willow around four years ago, planning originally to finish after autumn. I enjoyed the people and the job so much that I decided to stay on after summer, where I worked in the packing and despatch area for several months. I was then asked if I would be interested in starting a basket making apprenticeship, learning first how to make willow coffins. So I’ve been doing this ever since and am enjoying it more than ever. I currently play in the company’s five-a-side football team, which has enabled me to socialise with other colleagues outside of work. It’s nice to know that our customers appreciate the quality of our products, which we work our hardest to achieve. Curtis, willow coffin crafts person I started my apprenticeship for the Somerset Willow Company only three months ago, and I am training to make willow coffins. For the first couple of weeks I found it rough on the hands but I eventually got used to it. It’s nice to work in such a big team – we all socialise on lunch breaks, usually playing table tennis or darts; we have a nice atmosphere. Making the bases for the coffins when I started was pretty boring and repetitive but allowed me to develop my skills. I’ve so far enjoyed training how to make willow coffins; it’s appealing to see what I’ve created at the end when I finish each one. Matt, packing and despatch team leader I first started working at the Somerset Willow Company in 2006. When I started I was allocated to the packing and despatch area, where our job was to finish and pack the company’s products including willow baskets, willow coffins, furniture etc. After a few years I progressed onto making willow coffins, and I did this for about two years before moving back onto packing and despatch as the team leader for the department. At times it can be quite tricky making sure that orders of our willow coffins and products are finished to high standards and ready for despatch to customers on time, especially when we are going through busy periods. James, balloon basket crafts person I first joined the company five years ago and have progressed into balloon baskets, which I now make from start to finish. I really enjoy working on the balloon baskets because they are the largest baskets the company makes; with so much work going into each one it fills me with a great sense of achievement. After working on balloon baskets for quite some time, I now have the opportunity to go to exhibitions and I have recently made a trip to Holland to repair some balloon baskets that a customer had.

Simon, willow furniture crafts person I have been working here for seven years and within that time I have learned to make many different items; I have now worked my way up to being able to make willow furniture, which has probably been the biggest challenge of my apprenticeship. I enjoy the company of fellow employees and feel that the Somerset Willow Company is a very family-orientated business, which I think goes down well with everyone who works here. I hope that you’ve been impressed with the coffins I have made in the past and thanks for taking an interest in what we do.




A product of innovation Barry Floyd tells Louise Hoffman about Golden Leaves’ latest funeral plans, and how they fit in with the company’s vision It’s now four months since the NFE, at which you had a prominent stand. How did you find the 2011 event? The exhibition was a standout success for us this year, although to be quite frank, we were not really expecting there to be any other outcome. The new Golden Leaves organisation is a very different company to the one that attended the NFE back in 2009, and the industry is really sitting up and taking notice of what has been happening over here in south London. The company has gone through a dramatic modernisation, rebranding and repositioning process, which has culminated in the rollout to the trade of a totally new business model and dynamic partnership approach to business relationships called ‘Freedom’ planning. It does seem now to have become apparent to the independent funeral director that what we are providing in terms of partnership style, new products, financials, bespoke marketing expertise and in-the-field support is actually, an unrivalled package. You’ve had a successful year to date – how have you achieved this? The launch of the aforementioned ‘Freedom’ product made a bold statement to the trade. It provided funeral directors with a proposed package that was fresh, new and dynamic in its structure, but possibly even more important than all of that, it provided them with a real business partnership without any ‘commercial’ handcuffs. It enabled them to take back control of the direction and depth of the partnership with the pre-planning provider and gave them back their freedom of choice. Without a doubt, it has been welcomed with open arms by funeral directors who can immediately recognise the real value of this kind of business relationship. In addition to this, better training and support of our

new and existing funeral director business partners have improved their internal client engagement processes. Consequently their ability to sell higher volumes of either their own-branded funeral plans or, indeed, ours has also increased. There are also at least four other additional channels to market for funeral plans and we are now increasingly active in them all. These channels are performing well and delivering sales at an accelerated rate to the traditional FD channel. This is also extremely encouraging news for the coming months, and leading into 2012 this will provide a very significant increase in our overall sales, in turn allowing us to assign better priced business with the independents. I believe you have a new ‘green’ project you would like to share with us? Our new ‘green’ funeral plan was also launched at the NFE, and it did cause quite a stir. As the industry’s first real ‘green’ prepaid funeral plan package it was inevitable there would be a considerable amount of interest, as it was a unique offering. Inevitably, the small wave of public interest that existed a few years ago in ‘green’ funerals will eventually become an unstoppable torrent, and funeral directors offering our product to their families will be best placed to adequately service the specific requirements of these individuals. Those who decide not to offer their families a choice in this area could well lose the business to another independent funeral director who is providing our ‘green’ plan or, indeed, FuneralCare, which is now looking to launch its own green product into this market. As we are always looking to improve our products and services, we have already developed this product even further – into the industry’s ‘ultimate’ green package – thanks to our new partnership with the

award-winning Greener Goodbyes. So with a financial structure and investment vehicle that is green to the core, the new plan now includes additional options for eco-coffins, carbon rebalancing, woodland conservation and rainforest protection, as well as charitable ecological projects that will provide a community legacy for future generations to come. How does this initiative fit in with Golden Leaves’ overall business strategy and philosophy? Golden Leaves has come from pioneering stock, being one of the first pre-paid companies in the United Kingdom; the first to offer our own expatriate and repatriation products; and a founder member of both the NAPFP (National Association of Prepaid Funeral Plans) and the FPA (Funeral Planning Authority). Entertaining change and embracing the development of new products and services is therefore nothing new – in fact it is part of what actually differentiates us from other pre-planning companies. Our view on business partnerships as well as new product offerings is as refreshing as it is innovative. It sets us apart. As a new, modern organisation with vision, we will continue to forge along the path of innovation. Offering the funeral director a superior standard of partnership will always be of the utmost importance, as well as developing the other channels that will enable us to further support those independents with well-priced and valued additional business. And how do you intend to build on it moving forward into 2012? Unfortunately you will have to wait until 2012 to hear about the new developments – after all, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

Remembering someone special The people we lose to breast cancer are irreplaceable. Donating in their memory to Breakthrough Breast Cancer is a way of taking the courage and commitment they showed in their fight against breast cancer and using it to change the lives of future generations. By giving in memory your clients will help fund our vital research and find better ways to prevent, treat and ultimately beat breast cancer.

For more information or to order collection envelopes contact our In Memory team. Telephone: 08080 100 200 Email: Website: Charity registered in England & Wales (No 1062636) and Scotland (No SC039058)


Charity special

A lasting memory

Rev George Callander takes in

memoriam donations as his theme for this ‘charity special’ issue, considering the relative merits of floral tributes and charitable tributes

Charity special


n recent times there has been a large increase in the number of families announcing in newspaper death notices, ‘No flowers, donations in lieu to...,’ allowing mourners to make a donation (presumably of the value they would have spent on floral tributes) to a charity chosen by the family, or to a charity of the donor’s choice. There is also a growing trend for donation boxes to be placed strategically at the door of church or chapel to receive the donations of mourners as they leave the service. So why the move away from flowers to charitable donations? The offering of flowers in tribute to the deceased is an ancient custom and one of the earliest known forms of memorial – perhaps, who knows, symbolising the fleeting nature of human life: just as beautiful flowers flourish and perish, so too will human life; an all too transient commodity. It may also be that flowers were brought to honour dead relatives, friends or comrades because they were so easily available in the countryside and could be gathered en route to pay respects to the deceased. Flowers also provide an aesthetically pleasing counterbalance to the perceived ‘unattractiveness’ of death, distracting us from the dead body itself and softening the reality of loss and separation. Going back in time the fragrance given off by the many flowers laid around the body also acted as a natural air freshener, masking the sensory assault of decomposition. Our Victorian forebears had, as I have discussed previously, a great love for the splendour of funerals and panoply of associated mourning rituals. Even the quickest of glances through contemporary photographs will show coffins surrounded by mounds of wreaths, blooms and greenery. Contemporary descriptions of the lying in state at Osborne House of Queen Victoria’s tiny coffin, speak of the elaborate and very fragrant floral displays around the coffin and around the house. Likewise, for we more ordinary mortals, funeral flowers were also much in evidence, but on a reduced scale. The Victorians (so good as such things) attached symbolism and meaning to specific flowers. For example, white lilies represented resurrection and eternal life – and ringing cash registers at the florists, no doubt! Modern funeral customs are, as we all know, gradually moving away from a standard pattern: it is now acceptable to request ‘please, no flowers’ at funerals. Although, in my experience as a minister, many people still believe it is disrespectful not to offer flowers – in some way lessening the significance or value of a person’s death. I have officiated at a number of very basic funerals at which the authorities paying for the funeral have provided one small floral tribute on top of the coffin as a mark of respect. Frequently on pre-funeral pastoral visits I am drawn into a (sometimes heated) discussion with families about the pros and cons of floral tributes. Invariably people express concern that funeral flowers are simply left lying around to rot in the days following a funeral. Indeed, all of us who spend time in cemeteries and crematoria will see bins full of the green plastic skeletal remains of withered floral tributes. It has long been my custom when discussing flowers with families to suggest they arrange for the type of floral tributes that can be taken home or shared afterwards. There is

nothing dark, creepy or morbid about taking flowers home after a funeral to enjoy. Of course, we must think, too, about the livelihood of those professionals who supply floral tributes. If every family said no to flowers, many of our talented florists would experience a great dip in their income. However, as a balance, saying no to flowers at funerals and yes to charitable donations in lieu can, in my opinion, be a very good thing. When eventually I make my own hearse journey to the local crem for my 20 minute service followed by tea and sandwiches – oh, what the heck, a full buffet – I have left instructions for no flowers, and donations in lieu to be shared between the Royal British Legion (I am a chaplain), the Donkey Sanctuary and also Winston’s Wish. I believe that such donations in memory of loved ones are a special way to commemorate causes dear to the heart. It is nice to know that even small sums of money will be gratefully received by the charities and utilised to the benefit of those they work with. Although I believe the work of all charities is of value to the greater good, it seems a shame to me that the largest, most well-known and supported charities are the ones which often receive the most donations. There are thousands of smaller charities quietly beavering away with minimal contributions and, therefore, restricted ability to support their cause. Many of these charities are little known outside a fairly small or specialised demographic. Funeral Service Times itself gives these smaller charities a voice within the funeral profession through its annual Charities and Appeals Directory, giving families more choice when it comes to selecting to whom donations might be given. When I conduct a funeral service at which charity donations will be received I always try, at the beginning of the service (in what I call the ‘housekeeping’ section), to say just a few words about the charity or charities selected and why the family made a particular choice. I then link it to the deceased by concluding with: “...a worthy cause to receive your donations, large or small, in memory of a person who means so much to you all.” Many families have thanked me for this announcement and have claimed it increased the total sum donated. While I can’t be sure of this, I like to think it helps! Perhaps funeral directors, when arranging a collecting box or basket at the chapel door, might consider adding a small sign highlighting the focus of particular charities?

When I conduct a funeral service at which charity donations will be received I always try, at the beginning of the service, to say just a few words about the charity selected



Charity special

Rev George Callander is a minister of the Liberal Christian UK Open Free Church. A bereavement specialist practitioner, speaker and trainer, George is also director of the Society of Bereavement Practitioners. Please visit and for more information.

I hope we never reach the point when there are no flowers at all given at funerals (unless that is the wish of the deceased or their family). There is without doubt something very cheering, comforting and uplifting to see beautifully presented floral tributes at a funeral. Many of you will agree the diversity of tributes available now is quite astonishing. In almost 20 years of ministry I have two clear favourites: the first, at a funeral a few years back, was a large ball of wool and knitting needles made entirely from flowers. This tribute, for a much-loved granny who lived to knit, required two burly bearers to stagger with it into the chapel! The second, which had pride of place at a funeral service I conducted only the other week, depicted the ‘Pearly Gates’ with wings either side. The message attached to the tribute read: “Rest in Peace. You will be missed by all your mates on ‘D’ Wing.” This tribute was to a chap who had sadly died in prison. It had a symbolism I found rather uplifting! However, I’m sure we have all worked on funerals where there are so many flowers from the family alone that a second hearse has been needed. Beautiful – yes, fragrant – yes, but when one considers the not inconsiderable cost of these tributes individually and cumulatively, the money spent might have been of more benefit to a charity struggling to make ends meet as they help those in need. I must stress that I speak here from a purely personal perspective. We all, professionals and mourners alike, differ in our opinions about flowers versus charity

It is nice to know that even small sums of money will be gratefully received by the charities and utilised to the benefit of those they work with donations at a funeral. Some (including my own late lamented grandma who absolutely loved a good funeral), if asked, would say it was disrespectful not to have significant amounts of flowers at a funeral service. Conversely, others would say it is a pity to spend lots of money on flowers (which will die in a few days), when that money could be donated to charity and put to tangible, lasting use in memory of a loved one. There is, of course, no right or wrong answer to this question – so please don’t berate me for my opinion. What is important, however, is that we recognise the myriad of charitable causes the length and breadth of the country – some of whose work is featured in the following pages of this journal. Remember, this is merely the tip of the iceberg; whatever the cause or condition there will almost certainly be at least one charity working away to help those less fortunate. Well then, time to put the hand in the cassock pocket again – those helplines won’t pay for themselves. Will they?

Why recommend our Remembrance Funds? • There are no administration costs for you as family and friends of the bereaved can donate direct online, saving you time to focus on your clients’ needs. • Ongoing support when your clients need it. • All donations and money raised in memory of a loved one are added to the Fund. • A dedicated website enabling family and friends to upload pictures, leave messages or make an instant donation on a memorable occasion.

Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke. The Stroke Association is the only national charity solely concerned with combating stroke in people of all ages. Our vision is to have a world where there are fewer strokes and all those touched by stroke get the help they need. Our mission is to prevent strokes, and reduce their effect through providing services, campaigning, education and research. You and your clients can find out more about our Remembrance Funds by contacting us using the details on the right.

The Stroke Association Tel: 01604 687 783 (Jackie Parnell) Email: Web: The Stroke Association is a Company limited by Guarantee, registered in England and Wales (No 61274). Registered office: Stroke House, 240 City Road, London EC1V 2PR. Registered as a Charity in England and Wales (No 211015) and in Scotland (SC037789). Also registered in Isle of Man (No 945) Jersey (NPO 369) and in Northern Ireland.



Advancing knowledge E

pilepsy Research UK was formed by the merger of the Epilepsy Research Foundation and the Fund for Epilepsy in April 2007. It is the only national charity exclusively dedicated to funding independent research into epilepsy. We support the work of scientists and clinicians working across the UK, investigating every aspect of epilepsy in both adults and children. Our researchers are looking at what causes epilepsy, who gets it, what goes on in the brain during a seizure, and safer drugs and better surgical techniques to treat it. Developments in drug therapy and medical scanning, along with major breakthroughs in the study of the human genome, mean that great progress has been made in understanding the causes of epilepsy in recent years. Epilepsy Research UK is proud to be supporting some of the key researchers in the UK who are pushing forward our knowledge of the condition. Help us help more We depend very much on the generosity of people like you to fund our vital research; people who care about others and share our vision of a future where all types of epilepsy can be controlled. Medical research is very expensive but even the smallest gift can make a difference. We have an excellent track record in identifying promising research at an early stage. In recent years every pound of our funding has led to a further two pounds being allocated to epilepsy research from other sources. One way that people can support our work is to establish a memorial fund in memory of a loved one. Many of our supporters have found setting up a memorial fund to be a very positive way of remembering their loved one, keeping their memory alive while funding research that will ultimately help other people with epilepsy. Annette Heden and Martin Hannon describe how they set up a memorial fund for their daughter, Sophie: “Our lovely daughter Sophie died tragically aged only 23 years old in an epilepsy-related accident in July 2010, following three days in intensive care at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Sophie was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 10 years old and it was reasonably managed with maybe one or two seizures in a year.

“Sophie was a bright, vivacious, kind and fun-loving girl with great compassion for her fellow human beings. She would never just ‘walk by’ and could always spare a few pounds even though she earned little money and supported several charities on a regular basis. Sophie was also an organ donor and it makes us immensely proud and gives us some comfort in our grief knowing that her ultimate gift of life has helped save the lives of four people. “The loss of Sophie has left an enormous hole in our family that can never be filled, and life will never be the same again without her here, but we take comfort from the fact that she touched more people and crammed more fun into her 23 years than some people achieve in a lifetime. She was an adored big sister to her brothers and sisters, Tom, Emma, Naomi and Henry. “We have set up her memorial fund to try and help find a cure for this terrible and unpredictable affliction that can take our loved ones from us with little or no warning, no matter how carefully they live their lives. There is still a lot to learn about epilepsy and we hope that [others] will donate to this very worthwhile cause that can potentially affect all of us directly or indirectly.” Once a memorial fund like Sophie’s has been established, all donations received in that person’s memory are allocated to their fund. At the end of each financial year we pool all the money held in the memorial funds and allocate it to a specific research project selected by our Scientific Advisory Committee. We are then able to keep everyone who has contributed to the funds updated on the progress of the project. In this way we hope to give our memorial fund supporters the sense of making a real contribution to advancing epilepsy knowledge. For more information about setting up a memorial fund, please contact Shona Scott using the contact details below.

Epilepsy Research UK Tel: 0208 995 4781 Email:


Charity special

Making a difference F

or people living with disability, a regular break can make the difference between coping and despair; between just existing and really living. That’s why, for thousands of people with disabilities and carers each year, Vitalise is a lifeline. We’re a national charity providing accessible, affordable breaks, with genuine freedom and choice, to those who so desperately need them. Vitalise runs three accessible UK holiday centres and provides over 5,000 short breaks each year, with professional nursing care and personal support laid on. Carefully selected activities and excursions, designed to stimulate and inspire, enable our guests to regain their vitality and confidence.

Our breaks allow people with disabilities to take time out from their daily routine and enjoy an energising change of scene. But carers also benefit – they can take some much-needed time out for themselves, knowing their loved ones are safe and well cared for, or they can come with their loved ones to a Vitalise centre, where, temporarily relieved of their caring duties, they can rediscover a loving connection. We also provide breaks in the UK and worldwide for groups of visually impaired and sighted holidaymakers. Vitalise Holidays are holidays with a difference, offering sighted and visually impaired

holidaymakers alike the opportunity to share a unique experience. Vitalise does not take a penny in funds from the Government to provide its lifeenhancing opportunities, but instead relies on the generosity of individuals. Please support our vital work.

Vitalise Tel: 0845 345 1972 Holiday bookings office: 0845 345 1970 Web: Registered Charity no. 295072

Charity special

Today’s gifts. Tomorrow’s care. “W

hen cancer affects your family, it’s hard to think straight or concentrate. I felt like my life was falling apart. But knowing Macmillan was there to help in so many ways was great,” says Michelle from Northamptonshire. Like Michelle, many people affected by cancer depend on the vital support that Macmillan provides. Cancer is the toughest fight most people will ever face. But they don’t have to go through it alone. The Macmillan team is there every step of the way. We are the nurses and therapists helping people through treatment; the experts on the end of the phone; the advisers telling people which benefits they’re entitled to; the volunteers giving a hand with the everyday

things; the campaigners improving cancer care; the support people need through their bereavement; and the fundraisers who make it all possible. Two million people in the UK today have had a cancer diagnosis. As these numbers grow by three per cent a year, nearly four million people could be living with cancer by 2030. We want to be there for every one of them every step of the way. But tomorrow’s cancer care will depend hugely on the gifts that people give us today. Many people who get involved with Macmillan in memory of a loved one find it helps them cope with their loss. Supporters can create a lasting tribute in memory of their loved one at, and

help to support more people with cancer and their families. Family and friends can support in any way they choose – by leaving messages in a visitors’ book, donating money, or organising events. Funeral directors play a fundamental role in getting donations to Macmillan and ensuring we can support many more people with cancer and their families. We simply couldn’t do what we do without your continued help. Thank you. Macmillan Cancer Support Support Line: 0808 808 0000 Fundraising: 0207 840 4900 Web:



Charity special

Don’t let glaucoma steal sight! I

t is estimated that over 600,000 people have glaucoma in the UK, one of the leading causes of preventable blindness. Unfortunately, only half of them have been diagnosed; the other half slowly losing their sight without even realising because in most cases, glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages. Early diagnosis is key as damage caused by glaucoma cannot be recovered. Once vision has been lost, it is gone forever. The International Glaucoma Association (IGA): informing – supporting – caring Formed in 1974, the IGA is the charity for people with glaucoma. We play a vital part in helping people save their sight. Our mission is to raise awareness of glaucoma, to promote research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and to provide support to patients and all those who care for them. To achieve this, we provide a free information service: • Over the years, we have developed a wide range of patient literature, which has been accredited the ‘Information Standard’ quality mark this year. • We have dedicated staff who will answer patients’ questions over the phone offering them all the time and support they need at a difficult moment in their lives. • We manage a website available in five languages including an area where patients can support each other. • We publish a quarterly magazine full of news and detailed information about glaucoma. • We hold meetings and stimulate the set up of glaucoma support groups around the UK where people can hear from eye care experts and share their experiences. In addition, the IGA supports and funds a range of research projects into the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, and organises local and national awareness campaigns such as the recent ‘Can U C 2 Drive’ campaign and the launch of the IGA ‘EyeWay Code: Keep your eyes and life on the road after 40 years old’, a new information guide on glaucoma aimed at the general public available to download from the IGA website. Finally, our team campaigns for improved quality of care and services at local and national levels and

works with many other organisations to improve the management of glaucoma patients all over the UK. Claire’s story Claire, 55, was diagnosed in 2007. She says: “When I was first diagnosed, I felt frustrated: I was 51, single, a successful self-supporting career woman and I had no inherited glaucoma in my family. My severe and advanced condition was only picked up on a regular eye test, but sadly too late and I had already lost a lot of sight. I was terrified and felt very alone. Nowadays, I have accepted my condition and live a happy and active life. I live life to the full and enjoy the great outdoors, going for walks, seeing and experiencing nature. I am so grateful to the International Glaucoma Association for being there when I needed it; for the empathy, help and advice received.” Your help could save someone’s sight The Association is funded entirely by its members, friends, corporate and trust donors and receives no government or statutory funding. Our services are provided free of charge to anyone in need of assistance. We understand the loss of a loved one is a difficult time. Our lasting memories of those we have lost are priceless. By making a donation in memory, your clients will help us continue the fight against glaucoma. Their support can ensure that all our services remain free of charge for many years to come. This includes the provision of free patient literature in hospitals, our helpline (Sightline), the organisation of support groups around the UK and funding important clinical research that could free future generations from glaucoma. Leaving a donation of this kind will make a difference to the lives of many now and in the future. Every gift will make a difference. Thank you very much for your support. International Glaucoma Association Woodcote House, 15 Highpoint Business Village, Henwood, Ashford, Kent TN24 8DH Tel: 01233 648 164 Fax: 01233 648 179 Sightline: 01233 648 170 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.00pm) Email: Web: Charity Registered in England & Wales N°274681, in Scotland N°SC041550

Charity special

Fighting against pain A

rthritis Research UK is leading the fight against arthritis. Our aim is to reduce the pain and disability for the 10 million people living with the condition in the UK – that’s one in six of us. It’s a major cause of physical disability and is indiscriminate when it comes to age – 15,000 children in the UK have arthritis, some as young as six months old. What we do: • Fund world class research into the causes, prevention and treatment of arthritis; • Provide quality information on over 200 different forms of arthritis; • Campaign to improve the lives of those living with the condition.

A gift in memory to Arthritis Research UK can be a positive way to pay tribute to a loved one and could make a huge difference to the lives of future generations. We receive no government funding, so depend on kind gifts like these to support our vital work. We are grateful when someone chooses to make a donation to Arthritis Research UK in memory of a loved one. We appreciate that these gifts are given at a very difficult time and that you, as a conduit, are instrumental in this process. If you are arranging a funeral for a client who has been affected by arthritis, you may suggest that they: • make a donation via our website or by calling 0300 790 0444;

• ask for donations in lieu of flowers at the funeral – we can provide collection envelopes ahead of the funeral; • organise an event or take part in one of our many regional and national events in memory of a loved one; • consider starting an online tribute fund on behalf of Arthritis Research UK. To request some in memory leaflets/ postcards or donation envelopes, please call or email us using the details below. Your clients are also welcome to contact us direct. Arthritis Research UK Tel: 0300 790 0444 Email: Web:



Charity special

Donations to fund research A

t some time during their life, one in ten people will have a problem with their liver. There are many causes of liver disease and almost all are on the increase. Alcohol abuse, hepatitis B infection, hepatitis C infection, fatty liver disease and a wide range of less common conditions such as haemochromatosis, autoimmune hepatitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis. The mission of the Foundation for Liver Research is to develop and extend research into the human liver. We fund research within the purpose-built Institute of Hepatology in central London.  Our research programmes are grouped into seven main areas within the general theme of liver cell injury and repair. This is of central importance in progressive liver damage, whether due to viral hepatitis B or C, autoimmunity, liver cancer, therapeutic drug hepatotoxicity or lifestyle issues of alcohol consumption and obesity. The Foundation depends on donations to fund its research – please help us fight liver disease.

The Foundation for Liver Research The Institute of Hepatology, Harold Samuel House, 69-75 Chenies Mews, London WC1E 6HX Tel: 0207 255 9830 Fax: 0207 380 0405 Web: Registered Charity no. 268211/1134579

Charity special

Promoting welfare N

orfolk-based charity Redwings Horse Sanctuary was established in 1984 and works across the UK to provide and promote the welfare, care and protection of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. Its work has three main themes: rescue and rehabilitation; specialist sanctuary care; and prevention through education. It relies entirely on public donation and receives no government funding. Redwings currently cares for 1,200 horses, ponies and donkeys that no longer have a working life but retain a quality of life. That’s a lot of mouths to feed! Those with the potential for a working life are re-homed through the charity’s Guardianship scheme and currently around 500 horses and ponies are enjoying active lives in Guardian homes across the east of England.

Meeting the needs of such a large population of resident horses in the Sanctuary requires a very high level of veterinary care. The charity’s in-house veterinary facility has an X-ray room and operating theatre, intensive care stables and pharmacy, with five full-time vets and a team of nurses providing round-the-clock veterinary support. Meanwhile dedicated care staff are there to check on all the horses at least twice a day and a Night Welfare team ensures they have a safe and comfortable night. The Redwings dedicated welfare team also responds to thousands of calls annually to its Welfare Hotline and investigates over 700 cases across the UK each year where the welfare of a horse is a cause for concern, taking action where appropriate and bringing around 150 to 200 new arrivals

into the Sanctuary each year. Redwings also seeks to promote a philosophy of prevention through education by producing information leaflets, newsletters and attending talks and events to spread better understanding of the responsibilities of horse ownership. Redwings has visitor centres in Norfolk, Essex and Warwickshire where you can meet the residents, find out more about the work of the charity and discover how you can get involved. Alternatively, please call us or visit our website.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary Tel: 0870 040 0033 Web:


Charity special

Remembering a loved one A

rthritis affects around 10 million people of all ages in the UK. Arthritis Care is one of the UK’s largest charities supporting people with the condition, and helping them lead a better quality of life. There are over 200 types of arthritis, which can affect people of all ages, many of whom spend a large part of their lives battling the effect that the condition has on their bodies. Families that ask for in memoriam donations to be made to Arthritis Care often do so because they have witnessed the pain and distress the condition has caused for their loved ones, and want to help us to better support other people who live with arthritis. Arthritis Care offers an award-winning set of free publications, a confidential helpline,

support groups, and courses for people who would like to learn how to better manage the symptoms they experience. We aim to support not only those living with the condition, but family and friends too, in order for them to better understand the impact arthritis can have. Through our Campaigns Network, Arthritis Care also works to make a real difference across the UK by campaigning for changes to the way people are treated by their employers, and by the Government. Our members also provide us with a louder voice to campaign on key issues and really make an impact on a national level. Donations in memory help to support us in all aspects of our work throughout England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and

Wales, and we will always let the next of kin know about the kind gifts given, and any messages which accompany them. Your clients will be supported by our team and provided with all the information and help required to collect donations in memory of their loved one, including the option to set up a Willow Tribute Fund. Thanks to our friends at, family and friends can set up this fund online, adding pictures, comments and favourite pieces of music.

Arthritis Care Tel: 0207 380 6540 Email:

Give in memory to support Arthritis Care Arthritis affects around 10 million people of all ages in the UK. There are over 200 different types of arthritis and at present there is no cure for this condition. Each year Arthritis Care helps over 250,000 people by providing support and information through our free and professional services, these include; a freephone confidential helpline, our website and publications, as well as practical help through self-management courses. A donation made in memory of a loved one is a very special way of remembering them, and a valuable way to celebrate and honour their life. As part of In Memory giving we have the Arthritis Care Willow Tribute Fund. The fund is set up so that friends and family can continue to donate and contribute photos, stories and music online in memory of their loved one, whenever they wish. Arthritis Care can provide donation materials for your clients, and are always happy to answer any other questions you or they might have about giving a donation in memory. Please contact us at or on 020 7380 6540 for more information. Registered Charity Nos. 206563 and SC038693



Charity special

Improving life for kidney patients L

ives are often turned upside down by kidney disease and many patients and families struggle to cope emotionally and financially. Life with kidney disease can be mentally and physically demanding for patients and their families. Not only do they have to cope with poor health and lots of hospital visits, but long-term illness often affects the ability to work. On top of this are the effects that illness, dialysis and transplantation can then have on the whole family. The British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA) is a well-established charity working to improve the quality of life for adults and children with chronic kidney disease. The BKPA helps patients by offering information and advice. In addition, what really sets the BKPA apart from other kidney charities is the level of financial support the charity can give to patients, families and kidney units during times of economic difficulty. How we help • Grants: The BKPA makes grants to individuals and families in times of need, helping with anything from travel expenses for hospital visits, to domestic bills, college fees and even garden sheds for storing home dialysis equipment. • Holidays: We work hard to break the monotony of treatment for patients by offering support for short breaks and holidays in the UK to adults and children who would otherwise be unable to go. We also fund adventure weeks for groups of young children from kidney units, who travel with their nursing staff.

“This holiday means I’ve got something to look forward to and it will give Sue, my partner, a deserved break too, as I wouldn’t be here without her.” Mark. “I know many phone numbers and emails were exchanged on the adventure week and this just goes to show how worthwhile these holidays are in enabling young people to socialise with others in similar situations.” Emma Mitchell, hospital play specialist, Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust. • Supporting kidney units: The BKPA also works to make a difference to kidney services and patient care in hospitals throughout the UK. The charity provides grants to enhance dialysis facilities, pays the salaries of key kidney team staff where no funding is available, and gives a large sum of money each year to the five Ronald McDonald houses offering free accommodation to families with children in hospital. • Supporting research: The BKPA is now also supporting a number of exciting research projects, which are looking at ways of improving patient care and quality of life, as well as looking at better management of rare kidney diseases. • Advice and support: We are always at the end of the phone for patients and we have a number of useful medical and treatment fact sheets and information booklets that we can send out. Raising funds The work of the BKPA relies totally upon the kindness and generosity of the public, and every pound makes a difference, as the charity receives no government funding. If clients are interested in giving to a charity that helps those with a long-term illness like kidney disease, the British Kidney Patient Association will spend the money wisely to improve the lives of kidney patients and their families. Legacies and donations Legacies are an important source of funding to us and will allow us to help many more patients in the future. By remembering the BKPA in a will or by making donations, we can continue our valuable work on behalf of kidney patients. British Kidney Patient Association Tel: 01420 541 424 Web:

We’ve helped improve the lives of many kidney patients...

but we’d like to do more... BKPA Legacy Appeal To find out how you can help please visit or call us on

01420 541424 British Kidney Patient Association • 3 The Windmills • St Mary’s Close • Turk Street • Alton • GU34 1EF • Registered Charity No. 270288


Charity special

Charitable ceremonies Above: Design for the new BHA Humanist Ceremonies badge, to be launched this autumn


he British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. For over 40 years we have been working with funeral directors to provide ceremonies for the non-religious throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We see all our relationships with funeral directors as hugely important, and over the years have worked continuously to grow and improve so that celebrants in the Humanist Ceremonies network can be relied upon to provide the very highest quality service. All of our accredited celebrants are carefully selected, reliable and well-trained professionals with a human touch, and our network continues to grow each year. During 2011 over 30 new trainees will have attended our five-day training courses, making our network now 270 strong. Both during and after training each trainee is assigned to another experienced celebrant who mentors them through several funerals until they are ready to be observed and assessed for full accreditation. With a full programme of continuous professional development and peer observation in place, our commitment to quality measures means funeral directors and their clients can expect the very best levels of service and accountability.

“Just reflecting on yesterday and felt I needed to tell you what a difference you made... the amount of people who came to me after and said how beautiful and fitting the funeral service was and how exactly you had managed to portray his life... I found myself smiling through it as you read out some of the aspects of his life that mean such a great deal to me and the kids – it is these memories that will keep me going. A big thank you for helping me and my family through such a traumatic day”

“The support your celebrant gave to my family, and the kindness and consideration she showed through a difficult time was second to none. The service she wrote and conducted was excellent and even people who did not know my father well felt they knew him a lot better after the service. The day really was a celebration of his life and achieved everything that we had hoped for” We continually strive to improve – welcoming criticism as much as compliments – but having introduced ceremonies feedback forms a year ago, we’re proud to say that over 95 per cent of families mark us as five out of five, both for our ceremonies meeting their expectations and for the performance of our celebrants. So as a mark of our commitment to quality, we’ve designed a new badge that we’ll roll out this autumn. From October you’ll start to see our celebrants wearing them in their work. Only BHA accredited humanist celebrants will wear the badges (design pictured top left), and they’ll come to represent a quality mark to identify fully-insured, highly-trained celebrants supported by well-established national and local networks. Fewer people these days tend to have religious belief or commitment to a faith. When it comes to arranging a funeral, people need informed support and sensitive professionalism to help them through one of life’s most difficult events. Our celebrants are passionate about working together with funeral directors to provide exactly that support and we look forward to another 40 years of proud service to you and your clients. For more information, or to find a celebrant in your area, contact the British Humanist Association using the details below. Left: BHA humanist celebrants attend the Humanist Ceremonies annual conference in Leamington Spa

British Humanist Association Tel: 0207 079 3580 Web:

Charity special

How gifts in memory can help children W

hen a child has a worry they desperately need to tell someone about, no obstacles should prevent them getting the help and advice they need. 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the ChildLine service, which was set up by Esther Rantzen in October 1986 to be there for children. Over the years ChildLine has served as a trusted friend that any child can turn to when they need someone to talk to – a friend that will listen, understand, treat them with respect and offer help and support in confidence. One in three children who phoned ChildLine last year had told no one else about what was happening to them. “I feel better, just having talked to you. I don’t feel so alone now. Thank you for listening to me…”

Since its launch ChildLine has spoken to over 2.6 million children about concerns ranging from bullying to sexual abuse, but despite this huge achievement the NSPCC has witnessed the need for the service grow year-on-year as everyday in the UK, children face overwhelming problems and hardships. Between 1986 and 2011 we have counselled: • 405,700 children about bullying; • 270,500 children about physical abuse; • 218,800 children about sexual abuse. Funding such an important and in-demand service is no mean feat. It costs the NSPCC more than £17 million to fund ChildLine’s online and phone service each year. Gifts given in memory to the NSPCC can honour one precious life by helping to protect another. Last year in memory

gifts could have helped us to answer more than 200,000 calls or emails from children contacting ChildLine desperate to talk; an average collection at a funeral could help us to speak to 50 children. The NSPCC has a network of volunteer Remembrance Ambassadors, who work with local funeral directors to keep them informed of the work the NSPCC does to protect children and to share its remembrance giving materials that funeral directors and their customers may find helpful. For more information or materials please contact Mark Graham using the contact details below. NSPCC Tel: 0207 825 7052 Email:



Charity special

The natural alternative W

intercomfort for the Homeless was set up in 1991 by Henry Rothschild to provide food and shelter to the hundreds who found themselves street homeless in the city of Cambridge. For 20 years Wintercomfort has been providing emergency shelter and welfare services to those in Cambridge who have found themselves without a home or employment (whether through relationship breakdown, mental health problems or financial difficulties). As part of this work, Wintercomfort set up WinterWillow, an eco-business that crafts high quality coffins woven from sustainable willow. It is also a social business that provides training, development and employment for those individuals who are homeless and who require support to get back into work. Any future profit made by the business will contribute to the delivery of

our welfare services, reducing our reliance on grants and donations. WinterWillow secured seed funding for the enterprise through the Spark Competition in June 2009 and was awarded £100,000 from the Places of Change programme to convert the basement of Overstream House into bespoke workshops. Willow coffins are now enjoying popularity as a widely accessible alternative to traditional wooden coffins, offering personalisation and affordability as well as fulfilling the green credentials necessary for a ‘natural burial’. Our coffins are eco-friendly alternatives to mainstream, mass-produced items, displacing plastics and other environmentally damaging materials. Willow is a sustainable, biodegradable material with green production, which we currently source from Somerset. However, a local willow cultivation

programme is now in the early stages of development in association with local homeless charity Cyrenians. WinterWillow is proud to supply funeral directors in Cambridgeshire and around the UK, including Devon and Cornwall. The company has also exhibited at the Eden Project in Cornwall and the Chelsea Flower Show. We are hosting an open day on 19 November to raise awareness of natural green burials and our eco-coffins. It is open to the public and funeral professionals and located at Barton Glebe Burial Ground, Barton, Cambridge – please telephone for a guaranteed seat! WinterWillow Tel: 01223 518 140 Email:

Charity special

A safe haven for seafarers S

eafarers – people from the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, and fishing backgrounds – belong to a very unique social group; those who have served their country at sea or devoted their lives to working in often challenging conditions in order to provide for their families. Many unfortunately suffer hardship, isolation, poverty or misfortune on retirement and need somewhere to turn. This is possible thanks to the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, a maritime charity which for nearly 150 years has supported elderly, sick or disabled former seafarers, their widows and dependants. The Society also uses the definition of ‘seafarer’ in its broadest sense to include port workers and all others connected with the shipping industry. Its flagship home within the idyllic Weston Acres Estate near Banstead, Surrey,

provides seafarers from all over the UK with a full range of sheltered and residential accommodation and nursing and respite care, all on one site. In July 2011 the home also launched the UK’s first ever specialist dementia care unit for seafarers, after recognising a growing prevalence of the condition among its residents. The centre caters for up to 36 residents living with the condition and offers high quality facilities, trained staff, a sensory garden and a range of specialist therapies designed to enhance quality of life. The charity has always stood fast to its primary goal of 1865 – to help seafarers and to provide them with a safe haven in old age, illness, or adversity. It has also proven through initiatives such as the aforementioned dementia care unit that

Breath of Life… The British Lung Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated to funding research into all lung diseases, and working for everyone affected by lung disease. There are 43 lung conditions, from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to asbestosis and lung cancer. The charity supports people throughout whatever challenges they face, and helps them to understand and manage their condition by providing clear information in order to improve their quality of life. It also works for positive change in lung health by campaigning, raising awareness and funding world-class research. By focusing resources on providing support, and encouraging improvements in treatment and care, we aim to create a better future for people with lung disease and their carers. In order to do this we need to raise significant funds each year, so the support you can give by encouraging donations in memory to be made is of vital importance to us. Thank you for helping us to continue our groundbreaking work and our ongoing commitment to supporting anybody with any lung condition. If you need any help or advice, please call 020 7078 7919 or go to • British Lung Foundation, 73-75 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7ER • 020 7688 5555 • Charity Registration Nos. 326730/SC 038415

it can change to provide updated services where they are most needed. This valuable work is only possible due to the legacies it receives, often left by people with seagoing backgrounds, family ties or an interest in the welfare of seafarers. They help the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society continue to do what it does best – providing excellent care and accommodation to those who have worked so hard at sea on behalf of their country, and so much more.

The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society Tel: 01737 353 763 Web: Registered Charity no. 209776


Charity special

Changing lives G

iving to CHICKS in memory of a loved one gives disadvantaged children the chance to make happy childhood memories – a truly lasting tribute to someone special. CHICKS provides free six-day respite breaks to disadvantaged children aged 8 to 15 from across the UK. CHICKS children come from hugely diverse backgrounds – from living in poverty, being neglected or abused to those who have lost parents or are full time young carers. The one thing they all have in common is that their visit to CHICKS will be their only time away from their tough home that year. Neysha came to CHICKS aged 10, after losing her grandfather. After her break, she wrote the following: “CHICKS changed

my life – it made me happy and made me see that you don’t have to be sad and scared of everything.” On camp, activities include horse riding, rock climbing and building sandcastles at the beach. All our meals are home-cooked, and every night there’s a bedtime story. At the end of camp, each child receives a Memory Bag full of photos and souvenirs. Most importantly, it contains a freepost envelope, enabling the children to keep in touch with everyone they met on camp. We always send a hand written reply, with another freepost envelope. This contact is sometimes the only listening ear the child has. We also send birthday and Christmas cards, as well as a Christmas present – this might be the only gift they receive.

Nick and Ginny chose to support CHICKS in memory of their son Luke: “We can only say that it has been a source not just of comfort, but of genuine pleasure, that Luke’s relatives and friends should have wanted to contribute to making the lives of a number of children that much happier in his memory. We would urge you to consider remembering someone you have loved by raising funds in their memory for the very special work of CHICKS.”

CHICKS Tel: 01822 811 020 Email: Web:




Rest in peace A tribute to some well-known individuals who have sadly passed away during the last month 20 August – Reza Badiyi (aged 81) Reza Sayed Badiyi was an Iranian-American film and television director. A prolific director, Badiyi – whose credits include episodes of Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, Starsky & Hutch and Police Squad! and the opening montage for Hawaii Five-O – set a Directors Guild of America record for directing the most hours of episodic series television.

22 August – Jerry Leiber (aged 78) Jerome Leiber was an American lyricist and songwriter best known as one half of prolific writing partnership Lieber and Stoller, along with Mike Stoller. Leiber’s career began in 1953, when Big Mama Thornton became the first artist to record his song Hound Dog, later to become a charttopper for a young Elvis Presley. Described by Rolling Stone as “one of the most important songwriters in the history of rock and roll,” Leiber also penned Presley’s Jailhouse Rock and songs for The Drifters, The Coasters and Ben E King – including the latter’s iconic Stand by Me.

29 August – Honeyboy Edwards (aged 96) David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards was an American Delta blues guitarist and singer. Known for his intricate fingerwork and bottleneck slide guitar, over an eight-decade career Edwards never achieved the same fame enjoyed by the likes of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon or Buddy Guy, but nonetheless became a key influence on a generation of younger – mainly white and mainly British – bluesmen like Eric Clapton, Peter Green and the Rolling Stones.

5 September – Vann Nath (aged 66) Vann Nath was a Cambodian painter, writer and human rights activist famed for his depictions of S-21 – the secret prison that, between 1975 and 1979, witnessed the deaths of more than 14,000 people at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. One of only seven known survivors, Nath was driven to produce his harrowing artwork by a pledge he had made with fellow inmates when first imprisoned that if anyone survived, they would tell others what had happened.

6 September – Michael S Hart (aged 64) Michael Stern Hart was an American author and the inventor of the electronic book (or e-book). Hart digitised and distributed his first text in 1971, inspired by a free printed copy of the American Declaration of Independence he found at the University of Illinois. The same year he founded Project Gutenberg – a free online library that aims to “encourage the creation and distribution of e-books” and “break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.”

11 September – Arthur Evans (aged 68) Arthur Evans was an American gay rights advocate, activist and author, known for 1978’s Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture, which argued that many people accused of witchcraft and heresy in the Middle Ages were actually persecuted because of their sexuality. Evans was also active in the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club, which later became the vehicle through which Harvey Milk rose to political prominence.

19 September – Ginger McCain (aged 80) Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain was an English racehorse trainer, famous for winning an unprecedented three Grand Nationals with Red Rum. Known as Ginger on account of his copper hair, McCain was famously plain-speaking; his comically exaggerated political incorrectness often making for entertaining and memorable interviews. Despite his success, within the racing world McCain suspected that his failures when it came to “kissing bottoms” meant that he was never “considered a really good trainer.” His son, Donald Jr, won this year’s Grand National with Ballabriggs.

22 September – John Du Cann (aged 61) John Cann, known professionally as John Du Cann, was an English guitarist known primarily for his work with progressive rock group Atomic Rooster. Du Cann, formerly of Andromeda, joined Atomic Rooster shortly after the release of their self-titled début, forming part of the band’s ‘classic’ era of 1970 to 71, during which time he composed Devil’s Answer, their biggest hit single. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack.

Events & Data

Events 11 October Welsh cross-party parliamentary group for the funeral and bereavement services

Image: Tanexpo


12 October NAFD Midlands Area Federation general meeting The Greswolde Hotel and Brasserie Solihull

18 – 20 October Necropolis All-Russia Exhibition Centre Moscow, Russia

19 October NAFD Professional Standards Board meeting TBA

19 November

22 November

NAFD Cornwall Area Federation dinner and dance, TBA

NAFD Board of Examiners meeting TBA

19 November

22 November

NAFD Sussex County Association of Funeral Directors annual dinner and dance Stanhill Court Hotel, Nr Gatwick

NAFD Northern Ireland general meeting TBA

Provisional deaths in Scotland by month of registration, 2011

Source: General Register Office for Scotland

28 – 30 October

Apr-11 4,032

British Institute of Funeral Directors Conference Edinburgh Marriott Hotel

2 November

3 November NAFD autumn general meeting Ardencote Manor Hotel Claverdon, Warwickshire

4 – 5 November VENIA – MEMENTO Brno Exhibition Centre Brno, Czech Republic

9 November NAFD Environmental Advisory Group meeting TBA

17 – 19 November Funéraire Paris le Bourget, Paris, France

May-11 4,617

Jun-11 4,320

Provisional deaths in Northern Ireland by month of registration, 2011

NAFD past presidents’ annual dinner Ardencote Manor Hotel Claverdon, Warwickshire

Source: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency May-11 1,223

Jun-11 1,164

Jul-11 985

Monthly provisional figures on deaths registered by area of usual residence, 2011 Source: ONS

England and Wales












ENGLAND North East North West Yorkshire and the Humber East Midlands West Midlands East London South East South West

37,442 2,194 5,493 3,987 3,210 4,054 4,184 3,736 6,311 4,273

37,395 2,080 5,478 3,943 3,293 4,049 4,247 3,841 6,141 4,324

33,274 1,912 4,918 3,573 2,901 3,743 3,718 3,449 5,272 3,793





Non-residents of England & Wales





Crowndeed International, Bowers Mill, Barkisland, Halifax, HX4 0AD MERCEDES 2003 3DR F/D Hearse, Black, (W210) 35000 miles 2000 6DR 280 Black, Grey Leather, 66000 miles 1997 6DR Limousine, Black, Very clean 1985 4DR 123 Limousine Black, Blue Cloth, New M.O.T. 2002 6DR 22OD, Black, Low miles 2002 3DR 320 CDi Hearse, Black, B/D, D/D SOLD

£25,950 £17,950 £8,950 £1,995 £15,950 £21,950

VAUXHALL 2000 ‘X’ Omega 3DR Hearse, Black, Diesel 2000 ‘X’ Omega 6DR Limousine, Black, Diesel OR the pair for

£9,950 £6,950 £15,950

FORD 1999 MK9 Dorchester, 33000 miles 1992 MK8 Cardinal B/D, D/D, 62000 miles 1995 MK9 Dorchester, Black, 2.9 Cosworth, A Bargain 1995 MK9 B/D, D/D, Black, 38,000 miles

£6,950 £2,950 £1,750 £3,950

VOLVO 02 Plate, S80 Limousine, 48,000 miles £19,750 1998 Volvo 960 Limousine, Conference Seating, Every Extra, 76000 miles £7,950 1997 6DR 960 Limousine, 63,000 miles £ P.O.A. 04 Plate, S80 Hearse, 82,000 miles £26,950

ROVER 1998 Rover 6DR Limousine, braking for spares, all parts available. FIRST CALL VEHICLES 2006 Vauxhall Vectra, Diesel Estate, Diesel, full deck facility


DAIMLER 1991 D.S. 420 Limousine, new M.O.T.

Delivery of our Chrysler 300 Hearses and Limousines is now January 2012. These vehicles now have pan-european type approval. Andrew Naylor 01422 377840

Graham Mosey 01435 813244





BYRAM UK REPATRIATION & HELLIWELLS FUNERAL SERVICE Experienced Funeral Directors providing a Professional and Caring Service Complete UK Coverage Embalming Service Airport Transfers All Documentation Undertaken

01282 870898 Lands End to John O’Groats - No Problem

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Voice on the highstreet

Voice on the highstreet Carol Spalding of

Clarkson’s Independent Funeral Directors, Bath How long have you been in the profession? Could you tell us a bit about the history of Clarkson’s? I came into the profession at a fairly late stage in life – in my early 40s – but I don’t think that was a bad thing, as I had a wealth of life experience behind me. I began as a funeral arranger for a national company, but never really felt at home until I went to an independent. Clarkson’s had evolved from Jolly’s, which had been part of a department store that was bought by House of Fraser. They sold off the funeral directing arm of the business to the then manager and he ran it with his wife until his death in the early 90s. His wife continued to manage the business until 2001, when it was sold to a couple of local businessmen, with a full time manager and another lady and I as funeral arrangers. When the other employee left I became full time, taking over some of the conducting. Then eventually the manager left as well and I ran the business for a year. At that time, I decided things were not run in the way I wished and felt it was time to leave – I cannot tell you how surprised I was when they offered to sell me the business and I took up the challenge! It has become my third child over the last seven years. How do you ensure you meet the needs of the bereaved? It is imperative that you listen to your clients and then guide them towards arranging the funeral they wish for, always endeavouring to meet their requests. This often means coaxing various members of the family to compromise.

What do you enjoy most about your job? The best part of the job is looking back and knowing you have done your best for the family. Over the years, many clients have become friends, and with all the sadness you deal with – all the emotion and stress – the best part is that you have made a difference. What’s your biggest day-to-day challenge? The biggest challenges day-to-day are getting paperwork issued, the deceased released, coroners’ paperwork signed off and arranging church services to co-ordinate with crematorium and cemetery availability. Is Bath a good place to be a funeral director? Why? There is quite a lot of competition in Bath, with two Dignity branches, a Co-operative and three other independents, but it is a community and funerals vary quite a lot. Because Bath is small you get to work with the same clergy on a regular basis, and, as we tend to use the local crematorium, we also know how they work, which helps to ensure things go smoothly. How has the industry changed since you first started out? Funerals are more personalised than when I began, which is wonderful. It is a celebration of the person’s life, so the ceremony should reflect this. I always try to persuade families that the more thought they put into the service, the more of a lasting memory they will have. What changes can you see happening in the future? My biggest fear for the future is that the independent funeral director could become a thing of the past. Recently, around the area, family firms have been taken over by large companies, and this not only reduces client choice but leads to more frequent staff changes. There are also a lot more non-religious funerals now, and I think that the trend for individuality will continue. What are your plans for Clarkson’s for the future? As a family firm we are moving forward. My daughter, Sophie, now works full-time as office manager; my husband, Ian, deals with the vehicles, coffins and removals; and we have made the decision to open a second branch in Frome, which will hopefully be open by December. I have been fortunate enough to have secured the services of an experienced funeral director to run the new branch who is also local to the area, which is so important to our clients.

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FST 2011 10 Oct WEB  

Letting memories live on Grave decorations and tributes A true enthusiast Sustaining skills ISS...