The Good Funeral Guide Blog

All fine by who?

Thursday, 20 November 2014



Here’s something that’s been bobbling in my mind for ages. Finally, spurred by a newspaper story announcing that Grimbsy crematorium is going to fine funeral directors £159 if a service overruns, I sprang into action. I wrote to the crematorium manager:

I see that NE Lincs Council has announced a surcharge of £159 in the event of a service overrunning at Grimsby crematorium. It is my understanding that this charge is to be levied on funeral directors.

Inasmuch as it is the applicant for cremation who is the client of the crematorium, may I ask why the charge is not to be levied on applicants? A funeral director is, contractually, no more than the agent of the applicant, who is the lawful possessor of the corpse and responsible for its disposal.

Here’s the meaty part of the reply. The bold is mine:

It has been discussed with Funeral Directors and Service Users at meetings that the fine will be passed to the Funeral Director, as they are our client and it is their responsibility to pass it on to either the person taking the service or the family.

I consulted learned authorities in the industry. With whom does a crematorium have a contractual relationship, the applicant or the undertaker? There was no unanimity of response. However, it rapidly became clear that crematoria in general consider the undertaker to be their client.

This puzzles me. The undertaker doesn’t pay the damn bill.

Let’s go one stage back and examine an undertaker’s contractual relationship with the applicant.

This is where we need to get up close to the meaning of words. Specifically, does an undertaker act on behalf of an applicant for cremation or on the instruction of the applicant?

It looks like hairsplitting, I know, but there’s a difference. If the undertaker were empowered to act on behalf of the applicant, he/she would represent the applicant in the role of substitute.

But (and it’s a huge but) in all important aspects of an application for cremation an undertaker is not empowered to act on behalf of a client. An undertaker cannot assume lawful possession of a body, nor register the death, nor undertake responsibility for disposing of the body in accordance with the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953. This is why an undertaker cannot apply for cremation on behalf of a client — cannot sign the application form pp. The law holds the lawful possessor of the body (ie, the client) to be exclusively responsible for all these things.

This being so, the job of an undertaker is to attend to those parts of the process which the lawful possessor doesn’t want to do and is allowed by law to depute. The law does allow an undertaker to take the completed application form plus other paperwork to the crematorium, which amounts to no more than an errand.

Did I say that the undertaker doesn’t pay the bill? Of course s/he doesn’t. The undertaker merely advances the money from his/her own pocket before reclaiming it from the applicant for cremation.

Undertakers like to boast of how they voluntarily advance thousands of pounds of unsecured credit to their clients. Don’t feel sorry for them: it’s a rod they’ve made for their own backs. The reason they don’t require an applicant for cremation to write a cheque to accompany the application for cremation, and then drive out to the crematorium themselves and deliver it, is because their business model depends on relieving a client of all burdens, the better to create work for themselves and make themselves indispensable. In the matter of paying the crematorium bill it is a risk they run voluntarily. It is self-inflicted.

This suits crematoria, obviously. Minimal admin, no bad debt to chase. Has it made them lazy?

It has certainly led to anomalies. For example, why do cemeteries always send a grave deed direct to the personal representative? Ans: Because they don’t think it right for the undertaker to be given the deed and, potentially, retain it against payment of the funeral bill by the owner.

Let’s not get sidetracked. If crematoria were to recognise who their real client is and act on it, what difference would it make?

It would likely have a very great and wholly beneficial influence on their service culture. Bereavement Services staff tend to be passive hosts of funerals, yet they are the ones who play the greater enduring role by facilitating commemorative observances through the provision of memorialisation options — Garden of Remembrance, Book of Remembrance, plaques, benches, services of remembrance, etc. A crematorium carries on being of value to many bereaved people long after the FD’s work is done. A more proactive hospitality role at the funeral stage is both desirable and appropriate, together with a full and proper focus on the needs of the bereaved. Crematoria need to announce themselves to applicants as soon as they receive the paperwork.

I could develop this. Another day, perhaps.

A good cremation funeral depends on a cooperative relationship between the applicant, the undertaker, the celebrant and the crematorium. It’s important to say that.

But, sorry, any fine for overrunning needs to be sent to where the buck stops. The client. 

As is proper in a blog post I have presented an unbalanced and incomplete argument. Please put me right below.

35 comments on “All fine by who?

  1. Mr XXX

    Monday 24th November 2014 at 11:22 am

    Similar sort of situation can arise when ordering cremation papers from the 2 lucky doctors.

    Family goes to undertaker “A” and arranges a cremation. Undertaker “A” then orders the certificates from the hospital bereavement office. Fine.

    Family then changes it’s mind and decides upon a burial instead – with a different undertaker.

    Hospital phones undertaker “A” to tell them that the cremation forms are complete and ready to go.

    Undertaker “A” ordered the now useless said forms, in good faith.

    Is the family liable for the costs of the forms (which the doctors will not waive),
    or Undertaker “A”? The family are refusing to pay, and Undertaker “A” doesn’t want to risk good relations with his local hospital……

  2. Quokkagirl

    Monday 24th November 2014 at 6:55 am

    What a corker of a post Charles. Well done. My interest in legalities is fully whetted and I would very much like to explore the other subject of Crematoria having a more direct approach with the client.

    Arrangers have to take some of the responsibilities here. Or the FDs who train or fail to train them. Arrangers are extremely important in the process. If celebrants get to the families first then we have a fighting chance of controlling the timings but if the arranger is not ‘switched on’ sufficiently to understand the potential of a funeral gathering tsunami proportions, then there is little one can do as a celebrant other than reinforce heavily the crem rules. Which is not strictly what we are about is it? We are about helping them to get the best funeral ceremony they can.

    The idea of having something the client signs to say they have been told of the timings would surely help to transfer the culpability to the client from the FD. Good idea Mark.

    Crem officers should take a look at the timings of their service slots too of course. If you’ve regularly got funerals overrunning even slightly, it might mean that your timings need reassessing. 20 minutes is fine for cremation only but is no longer enough for today’s more involved ceremonies. Wake up local authorities.

    And you know what? If it does overrun what is the very worst that can happen? We all get pushed back a bit and the crem staff don’t go home on time. Nobody died!!

  3. Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 11:44 am

    Perhaps I can put a little perspective in here. The reason why the funeral director acts as agent and pays cremation and burial accounts is because that is the way they wanted it. From the 1960’s to the 1990’s I was involved with over 60,000 funerals and I never heard any funeral director dispute this. They had few bad debts and it suited their professional stance to be ‘in control’. If it is just bad debts that questions this arrangement now, then that may be due to the ever rising cost of funerals, much of this due to their upselling.

    Any funeral director is free to instruct his or her client to go to (most) crematoria or cemeteries, make the funeral arrangement personally and pay the fees up front (disbursements), as will be expected. The funeral director can then be paid by the client for the individual components that they perform in the funeral. Yes, it would make for operational difficulties but it would also make the funeral bill truly transparent. It is obvious to me why funeral directors choose not to take this route, as it destroys the package funeral arrangement.

    Grimsby Crematorium appear to do 1620 cremations per year, about 31 cremations each week, or 6 per day for a five day week. If an hour was given for each service, then 10am to 4pm would offer 35 slots per week. That leaves very little choice for funeral directors so perhaps that is why they work on 40 minutes, which is tight for service times. Whenever I tried to extend service times it was the funeral directors who obstructed the change.

    As to an active service culture, Grimsby make no mention of ‘holding over’. This is where cremations are batched on certain days to ensure that the best environmental cremation is achieved. This reduces gas consumption and can save quite large sums of money. Where this happens it means that the back of house cremation operation and front of house (services) can largely be operated seperately. Consequently, more time can be given to services and they can be held later in the day, evenings and weekends, and the coffin held in a fridge until the cremation day. Funeral directors and crematoria could work in partnership to ensure that this happens.

    Grimsby operate to the FBCA Code of Cremation Practice, which is outdated and in no way relevant to a modern service culture. They would need to dump this in order to introduce holding over. And they should display their service times on the website in a transparent manner, not hidden away under Independent Funerals.

    Finally, I am surprised at Grimsby . They should know that wherever such policing has been tried, it always failed. It fouls up relationships with funeral directors and the media just love that moment when a bereaved family tell them about the jobsworth who fined them. It is not sensitive management. The reasons for delays have been well explained on the blog and do happen. The answer is holding over and extended service times.

    • Jonathan Taylor

      Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 6:26 pm

      While unsurprised by now at your extensive knowledge, Ken, I’m still impressed by the way you can whip up such statistics from your store of knowledge. So, as I’ve been trying to work out a national average cost for a cremation with little success so far, I wonder if you’d be so kind as to help me if you happen to have an indication to hand? I’d be extremely grateful.

      Jonathan Taylor
      funeral organiser, activist and celebrant

      • Monday 24th November 2014 at 9:23 am

        The Chartered Inst. of Public Finance & Accounting (CIPFA) issue an annual summary of returns from crematoria and cemeteries. Although essentially public data, not private, these returns cover all fees levied throoughout the UK. If you have a local Bereavement Services Manager, ask them if they will loan you the CIPFA book, or at the very least allow you to read it at the offices. There is no reason why it should be confidential, and I certainly loaned my copy when I was working.

        • Jonathan Taylor

          Tuesday 25th November 2014 at 9:25 am

          Thank you, Ken

    • Monday 24th November 2014 at 3:28 pm

      The CIPFA publications also reveal that the majority of local authority cemeteries produce a deficit. Escalating maintenance costs caused by building new cemeteries and their unsustainable nature need consideration. No other party involved with funerals has such a maintenance burden in perpetuity.

      The press release from Royal London is interesting. Top of page 3 in particular.

      • Jonathan Taylor

        Tuesday 25th November 2014 at 9:48 am

        Thanks to you too for pointing this one up, Tim; top of page three answers my question precisely.

  4. Jonathan Taylor

    Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 9:14 am

    I’ve just checked the forms for a crematorium near me, and nowhere on either the Application for cremation or on the Notice of cremation is there a place for a funeral director to put her signature. The only written confirmation of a named funeral director’s involvement comes from the word of the applicant who, after all, could mischeivously name any old funeral director; her actual involvement is of course confirmed by her advancing the fee for her client and turning up with the corpse, but the point stands.

    Both forms are unambiguously a contract between the crematorium and the friend or relative of the dead person, and nobody else. For example, while only ‘The Applicant’ must put his signature at the bottom of the form, the crematorium considering the application addresses him in the second person singular with questions such as “are you a near relative… please give the address… please state… do you know of any… you are entitled to inspect…” etc.

    For the crematorium to claim any right to compensation from anyone for an overrun, it surely has to employ an agent to stand up in the chapel and warn those present – undertaker, mourners, celebrant – to leave now, please, or incur a fine for unauthorised use of the space. The management at Grimsby crematorium is apparently too squeamish to do that, so they try and pass the buck; but the bottom line, as things stand, is that if a service overruns, it’s the crem’s own fault.

    • Mr XXX

      Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 10:12 am

      Not forgetting that the purpose of the “Application for Cremation of the body of a person that has died” form is purely to enable the medical referee representing the crematorium to satisfy him/herself that the cremation is lawful. No part of the statutory form forms any part of a contract – it is a statement of truth on behalf of the applicant.

      • Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 10:46 am

        Exactly, Mr XXX, which is why Mark’s suggestion (Thursday, 9.44pm) of the application form containing outlines of allotted times would unfortunately not have any standing – the two ‘elements’ are completely unrelated.

        • Jonathan Taylor

          Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 3:15 pm

          So, Andrew, it would seem that if an undertaker makes the mistake of using a crematorium chapel for a ceremony, instead of a sensible location such as her own chapel or A.N Other venue, she’s digging her own grave, to mix a metaphor or two!


          • Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 5:51 pm

            It’s an interesting concept though: make the medical referee responsible for policing the time a funeral is allowed to last…

      • Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 11:23 am

        Excellent point Mr XXX. What’s so frustrating about this is that a contract lawyer could sort it out in very short order, sparing us any more amateur blundering about. Perhaps the ICCM or FBCA would like to seek opinion on this? The GFG’s war chest won’t stretch.

  5. vita incerta

    Friday 21st November 2014 at 3:51 pm

    For the most part by the time an officiant of any kind sees the family, the die is cast, especially at this time of the year. The slot after and the slot before at the crem will already have been filled.

    To then listen to the family say they want five pieces of music and the oldest son to give a tribute, but a eulogy as well, please and Chanelle – who is sobbing just telling me that she wants to read a lengthy poem…but it will be alright, won’t it, because the ceremony is at lunchtime and they do take a break after the 12.30 service, don’t they ?

    The hearse and four are twenty minutes late for a well attended ceremony. The family stay by the chapel doors to greet everyone as they file into the chapel. The conductor does nothing and I am eventually compelled to let the family know that if they don’t take their seats, some of the lovely things they’d like me to say about Rosie might have to be omitted…

    The committal before the full service I am taking is huge. Seven limos and many other mourners. The committal, after a church service, is running an hour late and with two chapels, the crem is going to be gridlocked soon. Father O’Brien is in no hurry as he commends the deceased to his God.

    As I greet the family by the chapel doors, I’m introduced to two gents who wish to extemporise about their uncle/brother/best friend/neighbour/work colleague. Although I have walked the family through the ceremony more than once, the extra participants must be heard in the chapel rather than at my suggestion during the wake.

    The tailgate of the hearse has jammed and the coffin cannot be borne in to the chapel. Once the mourners are ushered in, the FD’s gents take it in turns to kung fu kick the window, eventually getting sufficient access to disengage the tailgate lock from the inside…it’s taken a while, tho.

    All of these have happened…most more than once to me personally and many others have similar tales, I’ve no doubt.

    Some crem posses need to get real. Even the best laid plans can go awry. A plan B should be in place for inclement weather – sometimes it might need to be used for other emergencies and your staff should be empowered to use such plans as they deem fit.

    Some FDs need to get real and ensure that their arrangers are not looking to ensure a sale at the most modest cost but are rathermore realistic about the likely desired/needed chapel time and book the chapel time accordingly.

    Some officiants need to get real and let their families know of the time constraints. Whilst this is sometimes difficult when it becomes apparent that a double slot should have been booked, this comes at an extra cost and that alone may sometimes bring the conversation to a conclusion.

    It is disingenuous to point the finger at, ‘the celebrant (who) has been paid to take charge of the ceremony time and therefore should have the penalty deducted from their fee if they over run.’ You cannot ‘take charge’ of a service anymore than you might ‘take charge’ of the funeral direction. FDs must be well aware that attempting to herd mourners is akin to herding kittens.

    Life is not perfect and for some, neither is the ritual of death. Perhaps the FDs might like to consider raising an invoice for loss of goodwill to their local bereavement services in the event that their ceremony starts late ?

  6. Thursday 20th November 2014 at 11:20 pm

    If all we used crematoria for was cremating, this problem wouldn’t exist.

    • Kathryn Edwards

      Friday 21st November 2014 at 1:59 pm

      Nice one, Kingfisher!

  7. Thursday 20th November 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I should have added that of course the 30-45 min slot suits the operational efficiencies of the large corporate funeral director. You know, the kind of FD’s who run a diary hub and spoke operation – they need and benefit most from those short time slots!

    The BIG FUNERAL CORP hearse doing a 10 am branch load-up, 10.30 house, 11 am crem needs to be away by 11.05 – to go on to its next branch to load up for job number two of the day. It may even then move on to job three.. Any delays or over-runs at the crem are disastrous! The knock-on effect is most keenly felt by the big boys with their packed diaries.

    We little people are rarely in that much of a hurry. Our families have all the time they need, its a funeral! What are ten extra minutes in the context of a last goodbye?

    • Thursday 20th November 2014 at 10:36 pm

      For the living, every second counts like crazy. For the dead guy, time stands still. It’s nuts.

  8. Thursday 20th November 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Great post Charles. I have never understood why we FD’s take on the role of crematorium or cemetery client. When a family fails to pay us – and they do – the disbursements, crem fee, Doctor’s, Minister or Celebrant fees always end up being paid by us, possibly just to avoid ‘making a fuss.’

    To add insult to injury, occasionally a non-paying client will have ‘bought’ a new grave for two and still have exclusive right to a second interment. Now, doesn’t THAT make you feel sorry for funeral directors?

    As ever, I think families need to be more involved and we FD’s could help facilitate this by encouraging contact with the proposed crematorium. This would help those who care, understand what is going to happen and introduce the concept of the 20 minute send-off.

    Only once or twice have I been ‘charged’ for over-running. As I did not cause the over-run, I didn’t pay. It’s the kind of thing I do think worth making a fuss about 🙂 Our relationships with local crematoria are complex. We try to be friends as we’re in constant contact, but frankly we also remember our job is to represent our clients needs, not make life easy for them. I think 45 mins is the absolute minimum and it’s becoming the norm. Unfortunately the 45 mins now seem to be the target for time trimming – some crems are now insisting the 45 mins allows only for a 30 minute service. We must fight on!

    • Thursday 20th November 2014 at 10:41 pm

      The admin cost for third parties, were they to invoice clients themselves, and pursue non-payers, would be enormous. FDs look after them extremely well. What would happen if they withdrew the service?

  9. Charles

    Thursday 20th November 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Tim, you say: “If the funeral director, as agent for his/her client, enters into a contract with the crematorium…” I would argue that a FD has no legal right to enter into a contract as agent of his/her and, in effect, buy a cremation on behalf of his/her client: that’s why the FD is not allowed to sign the application. The deal is done between the personal representative, the crematorium and the medical referee. The FD cannot subcontract a crematorium. By the same token, the client cannot hold a FD responsible for services performed by a crematorium.

    AD: I agree: Ts and Cs need to make it clear that this is a third-party fee. I’d go further and secure the agreement of clients to paying them on their behalf and also make them aware that they can write a cheque here and now if they wish, so that clients can see exactly how things work and understand that a funeral is made up of components supplied by independent service providers orchestrated by the FD.

    Mr XXX, I would argue that Mr Nasty can only bring an action against the applicant for cremation, because the applicant is the employer of the FD and of the celebrant. If either of these screw up, the applicant is to blame for employing incompetent or unfortunate service providers. If LK Cousin blithers on into the middle of next week, that is a matter between the two of them.

    Any fine a crematorium wishes to dish out must be sent to the applicant. No two ways about it.

    • Thursday 20th November 2014 at 9:44 pm

      Time for application forms to include explicit outlines of allotted times which I don’t think I have ever seen. That way the applicant (relative / Executor) agree to keep their ceremony within the agreed time.

    • Tim

      Friday 21st November 2014 at 11:33 am

      This is a really interesting subject. Again, not a lawyer but what if the funeral director has told the client that he/she will pay the disbursements and include them in the overall funeral invoice and then does so? Is this a verbal contract?
      Really good to see the response suggesting working together and putting the client in touch with the crematorium before the funeral.

  10. Mr XXX

    Thursday 20th November 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Can of worms, this…..

    So, we arrive at the ‘crem’ bang on time, to find that the previous slot, is overrunning, due to poor old Mrs Miggins’ (the departed) lesser known cousin rambling on at great length about how he lost his false teeth whilst cleaning out a tank during world war 2.

    In fact it overruns by some 20 minutes, once everyone has left the chapel, and the catafalque is clear.

    It doesn’t help that the hearse and bearers have to be somewhere else 15 minutes later, and the minister has another service at the ‘crem’ in the next town almost back-to-back. A normal Friday then.

    So often, in order to provide families with the service on the day and time that they want, most F/Ds have very little option but to run matters a wee bit close to the wind – time wise. Ministers / Celebrants also.

    Problem is, (to put it bluntly), that when the wheels drop off, time wise, the F/D is screwed. Poor chap’s doing his/her best to keep everyone happy, and cousin Fred Miggins has scuppered everyone’s day, and remains blissfully unaware of the fact.

    Switch to legal mode. Not everyone is quite as charitable these days as they used to be. Unaware of Fred Miggins’ ramblings, and it’s knock-on effects, Mr Nasty is somewhat hacked-off that his father’s funeral cortege arrived late. He’s not the least bit interested that it wasn’t the F/D’s fault, and that ultimately someone’s cousin Fred is to blame. Mr Nasty has seen that nice advert on the TV, and by heck, not only will he refuse to pay the FD’s bill, but the next phone call he makes will be to the claim company.

    Might he claim against the FD for being late? Might he claim against the crematorium for ultimately not having proper control of it’s diary time slots? Or, does he have some form of claim against the unfortunate minister or celebrant who is, effectively, charged with being the MC for the ‘event’.

    I might guess that the answer to all three could be a feeble YES.

    I’m off to check my T&C’s…

  11. Thursday 20th November 2014 at 3:14 pm

    No mention here that the celebrant has been paid to take charge of the ceremony time and therefore should have the penalty deducted from their fee if they over run.

    Double times – fine – but getting two times back to back can be hard.

    Where a cremation is booked without a funeral director, such a charge would required to be sent to the applicant.

    Are we talking here just about the ceremony running over – or the transfer time when a large crowd take longer to exit the chapel – even though ceremony is concluded on time?

    Presumably the crematorium can verify beyond doubt the time the ceremony started and finished if they are setting a financial penalty for over running.

    • A Celeb

      Thursday 20th November 2014 at 8:24 pm

      I’m not saying it’s never my fault if we over-run but not everything is in the celebrant’s control because we don’t usually see the family until after the visit to the funeral director. Many’s the time I have told a family that we have 30 minutes to be met by disbelief – they were told they had 45 minutes and had already planned for that.
      For most crems ceremony time includes getting everyone in and out. So I could do a 20 minute ceremony start to finish but with 200 people to get in and out I would run over with a 30 minute slot. Sometimes an arranger can predict (or is told) that we can expect a large attendance but it’s not always possible. If the curtains aren’t closed, expect a further delay. I have politely requested that people follow me out of the chapel only to be met by icy glares. I once told someone (friend not family) that their eulogy was too long – he told me where to go. We ran over. Then there are arrangers who tell families they can have four pieces of music – fine in the days of two hymns and organ music in and out, but four modern songs (NOT to be faded) could easily take 20 minutes. As Mr XXX said – a can of worms has been opened! Thanks Charles!

    • Girl on the Hill

      Thursday 20th November 2014 at 11:14 pm

      As I understand it the ceremony is not over till the last mourner has left the building. That has to be included in our timings.

  12. A.D.

    Thursday 20th November 2014 at 1:46 pm

    We have regularly had this debate “in-house” regarding third party costs.Who is liable for these costs in the event of non – payment?
    The crematorium naturally will chase the FD as they will have completed the paperwork and booked the time of the funeral. As pointed out previously, the FD does not sign the application form as the applicant but acts only as a facilitator. Surely, if you clearly state on your estimate, invoice and T’s & C’s that these are third party costs, the liability, including fines, should be with the client/family of the deceased?

    • Tim

      Thursday 20th November 2014 at 3:27 pm

      I’m certainly not a lawyer but would ask where contracts lie? If the funeral director, as agent for his/her client, enters into a contract with the crematorium and pays fees on behalf of the client, the crematorium might claim any unpaid fee from the funeral director as a contract debt. If the funeral director enters into a contract with his/her client, as is likely, any debt owed by the client would be chased by the funeral director as a contract debt in the courts. So, what is the contractual position and obligation of each party??
      In the above please substitute client for customer if you prefer.

  13. Charles

    Thursday 20th November 2014 at 9:52 am

    Bereavement Services at a crematorium not a million miles from me conducted a consultation earlier in the year. One of the findings was:

    “There is a divergence of views between Bereavement Services staff who are unsure about whether or not families are provided with the all the options related to cremation. The funeral directors’ input and questionnaire responses indicate that families are informed about the options. Some people attending the crematorium open day said they were unaware of some of the options and this would be beneficial for organisations working with people who are at the stage of wanting to plan their funeral.”

    At a guess, one of those options is the ‘double slot’ or extra time. It’s certainly not rocket science to identify a funeral needing extra time – a young person, a popular local character, ‘there’ll be at least 200 people’. But it’s appalling to hear how widespread the failure to identify this need is. Or is that a failure to acknowledge its importance?

  14. A Celeb

    Thursday 20th November 2014 at 9:28 am

    By sending the over-run bill to the undertaker, rather than the grieving family, the crematorium managers remove themselves from any potential backlash. Even when undertakers take great pains to tell their clients about ‘fines’ for running over, if the crematorium billed directly families could say, ‘no-one told us we only had twenty minutes.’ Some crems (most? only a few?) do not allow anyone other than a funeral director to book a cremation.
    Also, is there a reluctance by undertakers to tell the family they need to book a double slot (or extended time)? On the occasions I have advised the funeral arranger that we need a double slot or we’ll run over, they either reluctantly book extra time or they tell me to ‘make it work’.

  15. Thursday 20th November 2014 at 8:41 am

    Entirely proper Charles, and very interesting. I entirely support the idea that if crematoria saw the possessor of the body as the client, it might change their view of what they do – make it less purely functional and occasional. In a way, big it up. Perhaps then , more of them would offer services based on their actual and potential longer-term role. They could become more of a focus for the families and friends of those they have cremated. As with some crematoria in Canada and the USA, I believe, they could offer more community functionality. Commemorative events. Refreshments. An environment where people really wanted to hold a funeral service, a place of beauty and meaning, a place….

    Enough. Calm down Gloria. I should drink less coffee in the mornings.

    • Thursday 20th November 2014 at 10:34 pm

      In a nutshell, GM, an active service culture. Yes, all for it.

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