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On 15th January, Roger Lloyd-Pack sadly passed away due to pancreatic cancer. Last week he was given an extravagant send-off which included a willow coffin and a pink hearse. The actor, best known for his role as Trigger in the popular British comedy series Only Fools and Horses, planned his own funeral which was attended by showbiz pal Sir David Jason and his daughter actress Emily Lloyd.
Funeral director Charlotte Graham runs the website F2die4 and owns her own funeral firm in Leicester; she works with a company called Greens Carriage Masters who supply hearses like the pink one used by Lloyd-Pack. She says that a funeral is "only limited by your imagination". Charlotte also works with a company called Colourful Coffins who supply many funeral directors with coffins which can be as flamboyant or as modest as you like. Some examples include a Lego themed coffin and a cricket themed coffin.
Interestingly, a woman named Karen Lloyd had a Costa Coffee themed coffin at her funeral last week. The words "one shot, extra hot skinny latte" were written down one side of the coffin in honour of her regular order.
More and more people organizing their own funerals are favour less traditional options such as these. For any help pre-planning your funeral or helping someone pre-plan their funeral see our Pre-planning your funeral page.
A recent study from the University of Bath has revealed that the average funeral costs around £7500. With many people struggling to pay this large expense the long standing argument over state support continues.
Despite the country"s lowest ever mortality rates it appears that funeral costs are on the rise every year. Statistics show that average costs have risen by around 80% since 2004 and are predicted to rise even further over the next few years.
The Social Fund Funeral Payment was introduced in 1988 in order to help struggling families find funding for what is usually the most difficult time of their lives. Although a large amount is contributed, many families still struggle to access the outstanding funds and usually find themselves having to contribute more than £1,000 of their own money. Lots of people cannot manage this and therefore have to take a loan. This leads to many finding themselves in what has been labelled as "funeral poverty."
In a report from Bath University, Baroness Sally Greengross said "with growing funeral costs, quite simply, growing numbers of people might find they can't afford to die. Government must act now before the current issue of funeral poverty becomes an even more significant future crisis."
The issue remains unresolved; however there are many different routes to help make funerals more affordable. Please see our paying for a funeral page. View the report at www.bath.ac.uk/research/news/2014/01/21/funeral-payments-system
On 20th January Coronation Street character Hayley Cropper took her own life after receiving the news that she had terminal cancer. Her dying wish was that she had a humanist funeral. In this article Stephanie Goodridge explores the beliefs of a humanist and what a typical funeral involves.
Humanists typically believe in scientific evidence and reject ideas of the supernatural. They also believe in making decisions based solely on empathy rather than fear of being judged by a higher being. Many humanists do not believe in afterlife and therefore spend their lives trying to find happiness and helping others to do so.
As humanists are not religious their funerals do not involve hymns, prayer or psalms but are seen "as an opportunity for the living to celebrate the life of the person who has died" says the Secular Celebrations & Humanist Ceremonies website.
The website outlines typical humanist funerals in five stages. "Opening Words" is the first stage in which attendees are welcomed and thanked for their presence. Then it is explained that no spiritual readings will be given as the deceased was not religious. This is followed by "Thoughts on Life and Death" when close family and friends are invited to read sentimental poems or meaningful lyrics. After this "The Tribute" is given; this allows the funeral-goers a chance to share stories and feelings about the deceased. Then is "The Committal" when the coffin is buried or conveyed into the crematorium. At this point music is usually played or alternatively attendees are completely silent in order to show their respects. Finally, a few "Closing Words" are given to thank everyone for being there.
Nearly 8 million viewers tuned in to watch Hayley’s funeral episode. Coronation Street is a great platform for highlighting that there are alternative funerals for people who are not religious.
For more information about humanism or arranging a humanist funeral visit humanist.org.uk