Recommended Funeral Directors
Heart and Soul Funerals
Address: 7 High Street, Totnes TQ9 5NN
Heart & Soul Funerals is the new name for Green Fuse Funerals.
Funeral Directors: Simon Smith and Jane Morrell were jointly awarded Good Funeral Guide’s Funeral Director of the Year 2012. They are two people who campaign tirelessly for better funerals. In addition to being funeral directors, they also train celebrants and modern funeral directors; authors of We Need To Talk About the Funeral, a beautifully illustrated book which opens your eyes to everything you can do to make a funeral memorable and meaningful. For both of them, it was personal experience of bereavement that brought them to it. Jane started the business to work with rites of passage, but their community drew them more and more into funerals and they realised they needed to do the whole thing in order to give families the experience they wanted to give them. "And now it’s a way of life! We’ve never done anything so constantly challenging and rewarding."
Simon holds the Foundation Degree in Funeral Services from Bath University, the highest qualification in the funeral sector. They both have trained in Psychotherapy and use skills in listening, non-judgement and understanding of bereavement.
Simon and Jane believe that a funeral can be whatever the family want it to be, something moving and memorable, to cherish, and this is the basis of their work. They will deliver whatever type of funeral the family want, whether contemporary, highly individual or quite traditional, religious, secular or something between. Although many people are looking for a more personal Funeral ceremony, without the services of a priest, they have seen that the bereaved still value and appreciate a funeral that includes a sense of sacred or spiritual ritual to mark the end of a life. They believe beauty and ritual are to create a meaningful experience for the family and ceremony for the person who has died.
They will encourage your creative input and your participation because they are huge believers in the healing powers involvement. They are empathic and they are also intelligent (a quality in short supply in the world of funerals). They will work with you collaboratively to create a richly unique ceremony. What do they wear? "We have everything from black suits style to smart but more colourful and ask the families what they want us to wear. The top hat comes out occasionally.” They hire any sort of hearse you like: "we’ve used a range of hearses including a lovely classic Mercedes, brand new Jag, horse and flatbed cart, motorcycle, VW Camper, a variety of MPVs, the family’s own vehicle, procession on foot. We’ll get whatever vehicle and coffin the family want."
They offer an integrated service that puts the ceremony at the centre of all discussions. They differ from most other funeral directors in this important respect: they are the celebrants at 70% of the funerals they undertake. They have an interesting and inviting funeral centre on the High Street in Totnes and a beautiful and peaceful funeral home by the River Dart with a light and spacious room for ceremonies and wakes, where you can come to talk in the kitchen or around the wood burner; visit and hold vigils; help care for the body; and participate in discussions about funerals and bereavement.
They'll never do more than one funeral in a day. They'll offer you all the choices there are out there. They'll encourage your participation wherever you want, care of the body, the preparation of the funeral and the ceremony itself. They'll lend you their book and a great compendium of words and poetry. They are absolutely transparent about price. They charge their fees, and do not mark up any of the products and services they buy in, coffins, cars, flowers etc. "We offer information, approachability and clear information on pricing and ownership on an unprecedented level."
Prices here. Your call will be answered by Jane, Simon, Hannah or Massimo. You will be looked after by the same person throughout wherever possible. Yes to a home visit - that's what they normally do. Very happy indeed to work with home funeralists and give telephone advice (they went to California to research this – well someone had to!). Yes to same sex person to lay out and dress your dead person. No embalming unless absolutely necessary or chosen. Direct cremation £1995 inclusive of third-party expenses, terms here: Direct Cremation terms and conditions. They also offer direct burial. Their simplest funeral costs £2150 all-in on these terms: Simplest Funeral. Unattended cremation the day after the service saves you around £400. Good variety of celebrants on their books. Superb, informative website.
Says Jane: "I would like to think we’re in that growing number of people around the country who are leading the change of the funeral industry towards the concept of real customer service and choice. I think the changes will continue to be huge." They're probably right.