Blog Archives: July 2012


Monday, 30 July 2012


The team at the GFG-Batesville Tower has decamped to the seaside, where it is presently sitting on a deckchair in a vest, eating whelks and supping strong lager, and keeping a fatherly eye on the pallid little interns as they hoot and caper in the surf.

We are very grateful to the wider (still, and wider) GFG community for keeping the blog hot and lively while we are away.

Did you see the Olympics opening ceremony? That amazing memorial wall? Hats off to Danny Boyle!

Enjoy the summer. To our funeral director followers we say, go clear out that store room.

In jest?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Lockwood woman’s colourful funeral request – including a jester to walk in front of hearse




Funeral director Debbie Ingham dressed as a jester at the funeral of Margaret Harper

IT WAS a fitting end to a colourful life.

Lockwood grandmother Margaret Harper had only one dying wish – that no-one wore black to her funeral.

Friends and family rallied around this week to dress as brightly as possible to celebrate the 81-year-old’s life.

And funeral director and family friend Deborah Ingham stuck to her promise by leading the cortege dressed as jester.

The funeral procession turned heads in Lockwood as it slowly made its way towards Huddersfield crematorium.

Mourners then gathered at Lockwood Baptist Church – where Margaret was a member and ran the Sunday school for many years – for a celebration of her life.

Her daughter Geri Harper, 55, said: “There was a big cheer and laughter when everyone saw the procession. Someone even said ‘only at Margaret Harper’s funeral could they turn up and everyone bursts into laughter.’

“That is what she would have wanted.

“Debbie is a friend of the family and used to live next door to us when she was a kid.

“When she became a funeral director, my mum would tell her there was no way she would wear black to her funeral.

“She was even going to knit Debbie a poncho but never got around to it.

“That was her only request at her funeral, that everyone would wear bright clothes.”


Read more about Deborah Ingham here

Posted by Evelyn

Quote of the day

Friday, 27 July 2012



Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: ‘Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.’ That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday.


Albert Camus, The Outsider


Hat tip Richard Rawlinson


Friday, 27 July 2012

Good to go

Friday, 27 July 2012



Autumn School 22-25 October in Frome

Gilly Adams & Sue Gill

The intensive 4 day course will examine the Hows and Whys of ceremony and celebration in a practical and experiential way. We will investigate how both positive and negative life events can be distilled into myth and poetry and create meaningful rituals to contain them. In particular, we explore how ceremony and celebration has and does play out in our own lives in order to feel empowered to facilitate these processes in the lives of others in an imaginative and creative way.

This is not a nuts and bolts course; instead the week will be shaped to fulfill the needs and aspirations of participants so there will be plenty of opportunities to learn and practise many aspects of the craft of creating ceremony – both public and private – in a safe environment. Gilly Adams and Sue Gill have been working together for many years; they will offer insights into the cognitively rich world of the secular celebrant, sharing their experience, offering theory, information, and – they hope – inspiration.

Food is always a key element in ceremony and celebration, and since we will be eating lunch and supper together, feasting will be a special theme. The working day will be 10am – 9pm, finishing at 2pm on the last day. The venue is East Woodlands Village Hall, near Frome BA11 5LQ, on the edge of the Longleat Estate and has a very particular rural character.

There are 12 places on each course at a range of fees. 4 places left at £375. Fees include tuition, all materials, and lunch and supper throughout. To secure a place, the full fee needs to be paid to SUE GILL by cheque or BACS.

To express interest and/or for further information please contact Gilly or Sue:

Sue Gill 01229 869769

Gilly Adams 02920 552389


……… hoping to gain greater depth, clarity and complexity of knowledge …. by learning from pre-eminent pioneers and leaders in this field. The experience fulfilled and surpassed my hopes: you were welcoming and wise, the venue was magnificent; the food was delectable. Content blended the practical, personal, professional and theoretical and the form shifted from discussion and presentation to hands-on creativity ….. I carry away with me a bounty of thoughts, questions and ideas that will enrich my own arts practice.

Ruth Howard, Canada – participant Spring School, June 2012 Cumbria





Let’s hear it for extravagant funerals

Friday, 27 July 2012


Posted by Richard Rawlinson


Since the Dispatches exposé, we’re all sounding like Jessica Mitford, the ‘red sheep’ of an aristocratic British clan who naively embraced wretched communism while settling in comfortably capitalist California, and wrote The American Way of Death (1963), which accuses the US funeral trade of exploiting vulnerable grievers.

First, let me say I’m certainly not about to defend undertakers who hoodwink financially-challenged bereaved folk into paying embalming fees for ‘hygienic reasons’, or who falsely imply DIY funerals are ‘illegal’. Undertakers should not be viewed like doctors bound by professional ethics, but as salesmen of the death business, to be approached with the caution extended to double glazing peddlers. Those who withhold price lists should indeed be exposed to public humiliation, especially if this helps educate those who, due to ignorance, sentiment and taboo, are conned into spending beyond their means.

It’s also noone else’s business if an affluent person, like Mitford, chooses a cheap, no-frills funeral because their aesthetic of simplicity turns them away from ‘pomposity, complication and expense’.

By the same token, there’s nothing unethical about choosing to splash out on an opulent send-off either. Buying the best coffins, flowers, tombstones and mourning attire, and hiring limousines, printers, choirs, musicians, caterers and wine waiters help the economy and society by making employers profitable. It’s churlish to admonish spenders for not giving those thousands spent on a funeral to their favoured charity, or leaving it in their will for the benefit of living family and friends.

Those who say funereal showiness is vulgar are often demonstrating their middle class snobbery toward the nouveau-riche, or their socialist philosophy of envy. There are plenty of people who, in life, have given time and money to good causes, and recycled their waste and conserved energy out of concern for the environment of future generations, and then want a no-expenses-spared funeral. It sounds like a Bond film but ‘We Only Die Once’.

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