Charles Cowling

Green, eco, alternative funeral directors


Overheard at the Joy of Death convention: “I wish all these conventional funeral directors weren’t here, I think this event should only be for progressives.” My heart sank. We don’t need another postcode gang in Funeralworld. It’s beginning to feel like Peckham.

Name-calling, in-fighting, backstabbing. Somebody ought to do something about it.

And scapegoating. There are those who are wondering who exactly it was who set ITV onto the scent of Funeral Partners and, specifically, Gillman’s. Fingers have been pointed at the ‘greens’.

We have itched to feature one of these treacherous, alternative green undertakers who unaccountably know better than investigative journalists where to look for plague and pestilence in the industry.

Every time we receive a report of a sighting we set out like eager twitchers to pin down the exotic renegade and put the searing questions:  “How do you know so much? What’s your beef?”

When we get there we find a decent, modest person who meets bereaved people where they are and accompanies them to where they want to go. If anything distinguishes them it is not their militancy but their emotional intelligence. Most anti-climactic of all, they do lots of ‘traditional’ funerals — but don’t think of them that way. Try as you may, the only label you can pin on them is ‘good’

So the little slideshow at the top is a figment of our imagination. Sorry about that. Best we could do.

As to this evening’s documentary (ITV1, 10.35), if you’re wondering who the stool pigeons are, don’t. Put yourself in the researchers’ shoes. You want to get an undercover guy into a little independent? “Sorry mate, no jobs here.”

So you target the businesses with staff turnover. 




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Dave Lucas
Dave Lucas
9 years ago

Now Charles I accept your point about researchers not being able to get jobs as small independents, but there has been some finger pointing and egging on, including details on this site. I can recall a particular blog comment in which certain hubs were named as targets, purely because of their size. How many times has it been said that the big boys offer a poor service and don’t care and its factory funeral directing etc and horror or horror they have these things called hubs. We all know its s load of baloney. Just because a firm is owned… Read more »

Jenny Uzzell
9 years ago

Not the point at all, I know, but I’m loving the photos. Rethinking the wardrobe options! 🙂

Paul Hensby
9 years ago

I was only there for the awards ceremony, well most of it. I thought everyone seemed very matey, happy, chatty, joined by desire to improve the farewell experience in one way or another. Ok, so we were there also hoping for our small roles in this greater good to be recognised, and with the recognition some increased publicity. If there was one place less like Peckham it was a gathering of white people drinking prosseco in an eco-friendly hotel garden in Bournemouth. Is this the same Joy of Death event that so many people said was a great success, not… Read more »