How much do funerals really matter?

Fran Hall 4 Comments
Fran Hall

Team GFG are honoured to have been invited to be part of an advisory committee to support a pioneering new study that is being launched today to try and discover how much funerals really matter. And we are happy to help spread the word about it to encourage people to sign up as participants.Please share this information far and wide to reach as many people as possible.

The research is being carried out to identify which aspects of funerals people find helpful, and to see whether funerals have an impact on long term wellbeing. It is hoped that this knowledge will then be used to support people in the best way possible.

Sarah Jones, from Full Circle Funerals in Guiseley, West Yorkshire is the inspiration behind the project.

In her role as a funeral professional, she realised that although there is a common assumption that a ‘Good Funeral’ is helpful for bereaved individuals and communities, debate remains about what constitutes a ‘Good Funeral’ and how funeral directors can best support the families they work with.

In addition, after carrying out an in-depth literature review, Sarah noted that while authors and industry experts proport that funerals, funeral attendance and the presence of rituals are helpful in supporting better bereavement outcomes, and while it is suggested that if individuals feel more in control and are more involved in planning or participating in the funeral, then this is beneficial; most of the published literature consistent of anecdotes, reflections and expert opinion – and no prospective cohort study has been carried out to date.

There seemed to be a gap. And Sarah set about filling it.

She has designed a comprehensive project with advice from Dr. Julie Rugg, Senior Research Fellow at the University of York, who sits on the advisory panel along with Reverend Ruth Dowson, from Leeds Beckett University, who combines her academic interest in events management with theological perspectives, Julie Dunk, Chief Executive of ICCM, the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management and Terry Tennens, Chief Executive of SAIF, the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors.

It’s a stellar line up, and everyone involved can see the enormous potential merit in the proposed study. The preparation and planning is all done, the design and method have been agreed, and the procedure and timetable signed off. Now we simply need to find participants.

So, if you would like to take part, what’s involved?

Firstly, you need to be over the age of 18, and to have attended the funeral of a close relative. You need to feel willing and able to discuss your experience without this causing you any undue stress or anxiety.

If this description fits and you feel that you would like to participate, you will be asked to answer some questions with the researchers, either on the phone or face to face (depending on what you prefer and where you live). This can take place either at your home or at Full Circle Funerals in Guiseley. The interview is likely to take between one and two hours. It is likely that most participants will be asked to complete a further questionnaire after six months and approximately one year, either by e-mail or by phone, and all answers will be anonymised and handled in confidence. Ethical and legal practice will be followed at all times.

Full details can be found on the participant information sheet here.

If you would like to help with this important work, please contact Sarah on 01943 262626 or

The webpage about the research project can be found here.

Please pass on details of this study to anyone you think might be interested in taking part.

Thank you!


    1. Fran Hall

      Hi Catie

      I’ve replied to your e-mail – any queries are best addressed to Sarah as she’s the person who will be co-ordinating the logistics.


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