Disingenuous? Really?

Fran Hall 2 Comments
Fran Hall


Predictably, the Good Funeral Guide’s recent decision to take a public stance on our misgivings about the wisdom of UK hospices engaging in the Hospice Funerals franchise opportunity has not been welcomed by the parties involved in this venture.

We have been described as ‘disingenuous’, ‘concerned with protecting the commercial interests of those who fear increased competition in the funeral market’ and people have been encouraged to ‘question our motives’.

We thought it might be worth stating our position very clearly for the public record.


The Good Funeral Guide was founded to represent the interests of funeral consumers. Neither its CEO nor any of its directors has a financial stake in any undertaking business.


Like any consumer organisation, the GFG can only be of value to consumers if it is a sustainable business. Like any consumer organisation, we must source revenue principally from one or more of three sources: i) subscribers (consumers), ii) funeral directors, iii) advertisers. Because we want our site to be open to all at the point of need we do not charge consumers. Because we do not want to clutter our site with distracting, garish ads, we do not accept advertising. Instead, we invite funeral directors to submit to our stringent accreditation process, charge them for the work involved and, on top of that, charge them a small subscription of £150 pa for our review of their services to appear on our website. The rationale for this is clear: funeral directors benefit from increased business once they have been recommended by the GFG; they can afford to pay.


In submitting to our accreditation process, funeral directors understand that the GFG is feisty, fearless and outspoken in its advocacy of the bereaved in a way which may occasionally make them uncomfortable. It is precisely our free-spirited integrity that makes our endorsement of their services a) valuable and b) worth paying for. They know that we have refused to accredit funeral directors who have failed to meet GFG standards; we are hard to please. Above all, they understand that we always put the interests of funeral consumers first. So they know that if hospices were to extend their care of their patients by caring for them in death in a way which we considered to be beneficial to people who have died and those who mourn them, the GFG would support them. As indeed we would.


Unlike a great many (uninformed) commentators on the funerals business, the Good Funeral Guide does not take a view that the business of undertaking is systemically predatory and exploitative. We know that while there are a great many unsatisfactorily run businesses, there are also that some are exemplary and admirable. That we sing the praises of the latter is to the benefit of consumers. This does not make the Good Funeral Guide a mouthpiece for those businesses. That we have invited our listed funeral directors to endorse our opposition to the Hospice Funerals concept is because we consider their views to be of weight and merit.


To reiterate: in the matter of the Hospice Funerals enterprise, we call it as we see it. It is our judgement that the business model is intrinsically defective: Why? Because Hospice Funerals will not be competitive on cost, personal service, transparency or choice. Hospice Funerals will not improve the lot of funeral consumers. Hospices should not be spending volunteer-raised money on an untried, speculative enterprise. Britain’s best funeral directors happen to agree with us.


  1. Fran Hall

    Good to read that.

    Now please can you look at all the current public information on ecoLation by ecoLegacy and speak out honestly on that too. You are not breaking the law by speaking the truth and quoting public documents. There are many planning objections to their recent application in Sevenoaks District. So you can do the general public and future bereaved a favour by speaking out the truth so the country is prepared for any more of their sci-fi type applications. It will also do the funeral trade a favour as appearing to flirt with this idea as the next best thing since sliced bread does no one any favours now or in the future.

    According to their website, and those of some of the various trade bodies, they have spoken at a lot of funeral trade bodies in 2016 and 2017 in England and Europe. This makes them look, to the casual observer, officially “on the map”. Their own website, ecoLegacy.com, makes it look as though they have already taken orders and manufactured “ecoLation units” and that the “real thing” is running commercially in Dublin. The happy dappy computer simulation of the ecoLation process makes it look as though it’s ever so easy to freeze a body, fragment it, dry it out and end up with some wonderful product that every bereaved person who is conscious about not polluting our planet more than necessary would be delighted to have returned to them rather than a natural burial or a gas efficient cremation from a modern cremator with mercury filters etc.

    The free to view public documents that anyone can easily find on the web entirely contradict this view. They can all be looked up in the planning sections of the named council websites and all relevant documents clicked on and read. A basic science education, maybe GCSE standard, goes a long way to helping one realise that maybe the processes described in different ways in different places are not yet developed “for real” and that the idea, which sounds lovely if you don’t think about it, is most likely not at all possible or practical or desirable and cannot be carried out in the various ways it is outlined.

    Here goes:

    Patents applied for in 2013 but not granted – they even include a suggestion that the frozen body is broken up by shock waves from hydrogen explosions – or from exploding gases synthesised from pyrolysing a different human.

    South Dublin County Council application for planning exemption: ED 16/ 0048 this is an application for planning exemption, in August 2016, for an R and D unit at their Dublin base to do testing on pieces of meat from the butcher. The decision was that they needed to apply for planning permission. They never did from that address. But the following month there’s a Cicero award winning speech from Tony Ennis at a trade conference in Oxford proclaiming that the technology is ready.

    Fingal County Council F17A/0244 application in May 2017 by the Glasnevin Trust (hosts of a recent ASCE conference where a break-out group went to the ecoLegacy Dublin base according to the website) for an ecolation Unit in the new Dardistown Crematorium near Dublin International Airport. This application will most likely soon lapse as the applicant has not yet supplied the further information about process etc requested by the Fingal planners and Irish planning law is different from the UK where it can be allowed to go on and on — it’s a good set of questions they have asked. I would love to add a few more of my own though including how do you erode a frozen human with water into small pieces (including the skull!) in a few minutes? This application states that the existing crematorium chimney will be used. And environmental impact study is submitted by the applicant which is some kind of computer model but no practical test studies of any sort are cross-referred to.

    Sevenoaks County Council 17/02109/OUT – July 2017 – an application by Steve Smith of ecoLegacy to build a chapel and cafe on green belt land currently used as a golf driving range (not owned by ecoLegacy), on the edge of a golf course, with a basement underneath it which will hold an “ecoLation Unit”. The process here is promised not to need a chimney and to have zero emissions. They keep on being given more time by the planning authority to provide some more information. Anyone can comment on a planning application. The opportunity is still there.

    Maybe there are ecoLegacy investors reading this. I hope you find the public information useful.

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