Blog Archives: April 2012

The pain passes, the beauty remains

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


The reasons why most of us require the presence of a dead body at a funeral are well rehearsed. There’s more to this than force of habit. 

In a nutshell, the dead body concentrates the mind and brings appropriate intensity to the occasion. It’s an ordeal, but an emotionally valuable ordeal. Take it away and you’ve got an altogether less focussed, less useful event. 

This being so, why do most celebrants omit to propose making funeral arrangements in the presence of the person who has died? Would this not also be an emotionally valuable ordeal?




The Scientist — Coldplay

Monday, 2 April 2012



This was played last week at the funeral of Andy Bowes of Barrow-in-Furness. He died aged 37 after an accident at work, leaving a wife and three children. 

Andy’s sister said this about him:

You wanted to go everywhere with me, which became a pain when I got older. I remember looking in the mirror once and saying ‘I’m going on a diet’, and he said ‘can I come?’ When I left home, he was still my little shadow. What I would give for you to walk through my door right now and shout ‘all right, sis’.

Full report in the North West Evening Mail here


Come up to meet you, tell you I’m sorry
You don’t know how lovely you are

I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart

Tell me your secrets
And ask me your questions
Oh, lets go back to the start

Running in circles
Coming up tails
Heads on a science apart.

Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard

Oh, take me back to the start.

I was just guessing
At numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart

Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart

Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
Oh, and I rush to the start

Running in circles
Chasing our tails
Coming back as we are

Nobody said it was easy
Oh it’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard

I’m going back to the start

Read more:
LetsSingIt – Your favorite Music Community

Online grieving — candles

Monday, 2 April 2012


From the message board at GoneTooSoon: 

Q. Could someone help I already remove the candles of the person I would like to block can I still block them if so how? Thank you

Ahiya courtney to be able to block anyone the have to be in the list of relations/relation to admin see memorial options right hand side of your garden if another member is giving you any problem then please open a support ticket you will see help at the top of any page click on there to open ticket and get help from admin hope this helps



Quote of the day

Monday, 2 April 2012



“The absorbing fact about being mortally sick is that you spend a good deal of time preparing yourself to die with some modicum of stoicism (and provision for loved ones), while being simultaneously and highly interested in the business of survival.”


Christopher Hitchens




Bespoke music for funerals

Monday, 2 April 2012


Somewhen, we talked here on the blog about how good it would be if living composers wrote music for funerals, especially for processions and committals. I even wrote to a composer with the suggestion, and he said he’d think about it. Can’t remember who he was, now. Don’t know if he’s accepted the challenge. We’ll see.

In the meantime, others have been busy.

First, Scottish singer-songwriter Nemo Shaw has set WH Auden’s famous poem to music. It comes in separate ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘they’ versions. Here it is: 



Next up for you is Paul Alexander, who has recorded all sorts of funeral music, including original material by himself.

Particularly striking is Light a Candle, which would go very well with a candle-lighting ceremony. I can’t embed it because Paul has sensibly stopped people doing that. But here’s the YouTube link:


Where music’s concerned it’s horses for courses, ain’t it? What’s here is not to everyone’s taste — but I can see that candle song going down very well with some grievers. What do you make of Nemo?


Find Nemo Shaw’s website here.

Find Paul Alexander’s website here


Monday, 2 April 2012


The young wife of a man who has died of cancer goes to see him one last time at the funeral director. She is destroyed by grief and asks her celebrant to go with her for support.

She spends quite some time with her husband. As she turns to leave, the celebrant asks her, “Would you like to put the lid on his coffin? Then you will be the last person ever to see him.”

“Am I allowed to?” she asks.

“Of course you are.”

So she does. 

And it makes all the difference — an enormous difference.

It’s a true story — it happened last week. 

And here’s the moral for any funeral director who’s missed the point. Ask not what you can do for your clients, ask what they can do for themselves. 



Put me out with the rubbish!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Posted by Vale

We’ve all heard people say it, but now an extensive survey carried out by a major national chain has confirmed it: 61.5% of adult males over the age of 60 really do want to be put into a black plastic bag and thrown on the rubbish heap.

In response to what they see as an overwhelming vote amongst the target demographic a new bag based service is currently being planned. A spokesman said today ‘we see it as another choice for our customers. If it’s what they want, who are we not to try to exploit them’.

In spite of the demand no launch date for the new service has yet been set. ‘It’s taking longer than we thought it would to agree collection arrangments with local councils. They’re just not as customer driven as we are and are raising all sorts of objections to picking up the bags with the weekly collection.’

One option being considered to overcome Council objections is the the coffin bin which, being wheeled, will better fit with modern collection methods.

Here at the GFG Batesville Tower, we can see that this informality is part of the same trend that is shaping the direct cremation business – but shouldn’t there be some thought about the bagging process? Come on you celebrants out there – if we have to ‘bag and tag’ what sort of ceremony could be held as grandad is being popped in? Or, if that is being done by the funeral director, how do we ritualise the journey, by bag or in wheeled bin, to the kerbside?

Green Light For Tower of Silence In English Seaside Town

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Architect’s impression of the proposed Weymouth Tower of Silence


Posted by Charles


In a move which is sending shockwaves through an English tourist resort, council chiefs in Weymouth, Dorset, have given the go-ahead for followers of the Zoroastrian religion to expose the bodies of their dead in the midst of sunbathing holidaymakers.

The down-at-heel, bucket-and-spade seaside town has granted the Zoroastrian Council of Great Britain (ZCGB) controversial planning permission to build a Tower of Silence in a prominent position on its historic seafront. 

 Zoroastrians believe that dead bodies pollute the earth. When they die, their bodies are placed on raised platforms, more correctly known as dakhmas, where they are exposed to the elements and birds of prey. The Weymouth tower will stand 300 feet high and the dead will be brought up to the platform by means of a lift in the central column.

Although the dead bodies will not be visible from the ground, some Weymouth residents are up in arms about the scheme.

Single mother Tracey Brockway said “It’s  disgusting. The whole town will be covered in flies. How can anyone lie on the beach knowing what’s going on up there? As far as I’m concerned this is the last nail in the coffin for Weymouth.”

However, most Weymouth residents are in favour of the tower. In common with many seaside resorts, the town’s tourist trade has been in decline for decades and many have rallied round the council’s initiative.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s brief holder for Leisure and Tourism, Peter Traskey, said: “Traditional tourist streams are drying up as people increasingly holiday abroad. We need to diversify, and we see multicultural funeral tourism as the future for our town.”

Mr Traskey also gave credence to reports that the council is in discussion with the Hindu community to establish a burning ghat on the quay recently vacated by Condor Ferries. The River Wey is currently undergoing an elaborate consecration process. 

The council is even considering a scheme submitted by the Natural Death Centre to hold spectacular Viking funerals in Weymouth Bay in a Viking longboat made of steel which can be re-used after each open-air cremation. “I think it’s a great idea,” said Traskey. “We are right behind this initiative.”

The RSPB is supporting the Weymouth Tower of Silence. RSPB spokesperson Jonathan Taylor told us, “We anticipate that the region’s dwindling cormorant population will boosted by this important food source.”

Mel Stewart, landlady of the Bon Repos boarding house, told the GFG, “This town has been on its backside (actually she said arse) for years. When the Olympics are over, what will there be for us? I’m doing a complete ethnic refurb and re-naming my place Memories of Mecca. I’m advertising my full Zoroastrian breakfast and funeral teas. These people are going to be a shot in the arm for the local economy.”

Local police chief,  Inspector Richard Honeysett, told us: “We are seeking permission from the ZCGB to detain unconscious drunks and drug addicts on the tower overnight. When they come round and find themselves surrounded by dead bodies it’s going to be a wake-up call for them. “

Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion of the ancient empire of the Medes and Persians until it was displaced by Islam. Its devotees found a safe haven in India. The 2010 Census revealed that the number of worshippers in the UK stands at roughly 350,000. 

Weymouth was made famous by King George III, who holidayed there throughout his reign. It is distinguished by its fine Georgian and Regency architecture, and by its public lavatory, which still sports a cannonball fired into it by Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army.

The town is held in low esteem by its rugged and dynamic neighbours, the inhabitants of the Isle of Portland, who have never reconciled themselves to their local government partnership with Weymouth, and are holding themselves aloof from the tower initiative.

A salt-caked island fisherman commented, “This tower they’re all talking about — they’re clutching at straws, aren’t they? I’ll tell you what I think of the council. It’s a council of despair.” 

Ahura Massada, a spokesperson for the ZCGB, said, “We have been searching for a site for a Tower of Silence for many past years. On every occasion we have come eyebrow to eyebrow with prejudice. But the people of Weymouth have enfolded us in their bosom, and we thank them from our hearts.” 

In July and August this year, Weymouth will host the Olympic 2012 sailing events. The Tower of Silence is planned to open on 1 April 2013.


British Zoroastrians inspect plans for their new Tower of Silence



Cakes for Wakes

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Posted by Debbie Smith


Anything seems to go when it comes to coffins nowadays, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the recent craze for cupcakes has had a morbid makeover.  Cupcakes, suitably adorned, have become a must-have accessory for contemporary funerals – both as an eye-catching centre piece at the wake or reception, and as a souvenir for the mourners.  For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, they have proved massively popular in East Anglia and the Midlands: local cupcake companies are struggling to keep up with demand and rise to the occasion.  It surely won’t be long before the whole country is caught up in funeral cupcake mania.  Crumbs!

With many thanks to the Manna Cupcake Company near Market Deeping 


Page 9 of 9« First...56789