There are six Rosedale funeral homes. Headquartered in Diss, they straddle the Norfolk-Suffolk border. This is a gentle, conservative part of the world. If you’ve not been for thirty years or so, you’ll find it exactly as it was.
Rosedale is headed up by Anne-Beckett-Allen. She was brought up in the business and spent some years working for a group. Her husband, Simon, is a funeral outsider with a genius for creating beautiful spaces. He has converted and furnished all the funeral homes in a style you might term contemporary antique. They exude understated class.
We were delighted to be invited to accredit the funeral homes, and spent two very enjoyable days doing so. They all pass with flying colours; we recommend them without reservation. If John Lewis did funerals, they’d probably do them like this. You get the same level of service from incredibly nice, natural, bright people who love what they do. There’s none of the heavy-handed customer-service role-play you get in so many other British businesses.
So, all in all, a class act all round. Brilliant. We like and admire them hugely.
What do they do that’s different? That’s a question that misses the point. The way to phrase it is: What do they do particularly well?
One thing they do particularly well is look after people who have died with great care and tenderness. And this has led them to doing away with the mouth suture. Instead, they support the jaw in a gentler way using the device above and left. Clients are entirely happy about it and, as you can see in the photo below, when it’s time to fit mine it’ll hardly show at all.
Rosedale’s staff say it achieves a very natural expression. That’s got to be a good thing, because the suture is difficult to get right, often producing a parrot mouth (you should have seen my Mum).
The dead don’t mind the suture, of course. But, as Tom Lynch says, the dead do matter — and so do their families. It is difficult to defend any mortuary practice which might appal the living. The mouth suture takes some explaining and, as a funeral outsider myself, I still find it shocking.