Fran Hall

 

We’ve been pondering on an important subject.

In 21st century Britain, many of us may not have seen or spent time with the body of someone who has died. We may not have witnessed the profound absence of person in the familiar features of a corpse, nor experienced the thoughts and emotions of being in the presence of a dead person.

Death has become increasingly separated from our busy lives, most frequently occurring in hospitals or hospices, rather than at home surrounded by a family keeping vigil.

Most dying people are thus set apart from the rest of us, and once death has occurred, their bodies are usually collected by a funeral director, who keeps them in their custody until the date of the funeral. Our dead no longer stay among us. 

Spending time with our dead has become something that needs to be arranged by appointment, usually in the unfamiliar surroundings of a ‘chapel of rest’ at an undertaker’s premises.

In addition, in recent years, the incidence of ‘no funeral’ funerals has risen, with a large increase in the number of direct cremations. Often this means that the body of the person is not encountered again at all, not even in a closed coffin.

We’ve decided that we would like to learn about this separation between the living and the dead. We think there’s something significant happening and, as far as we know, nobody is examining it.

If you could let us know about your own experience, this will help us begin to compile a picture of where our relationship with our dead is in 2018. 

We have compiled a short, anonymous survey that takes just a few minutes to complete – the link to it is here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/OurDead

We’ll publish the findings here on the GFG website.

Depending on what we discover, the results even encourage more scholarly academic types to instigate some formal research into the changing shape of connection with our dead.

Thank you in advance

Team GFG

Fran Hall

 

 

 

We were pleased to receive an e-mail recently advising us that the National Association of Funeral Directors has appointed an interim CEO, some four months since the role became vacant.

It’s been quite a while without a steady hand at the NAFD tiller, and taking on the tasks that would normally be the responsibility of the CEO must have been immensely demanding on the current president, Alison Crake, her vice presidents and the officer team. We’re sure that they are all very pleased to have the esteemed Graham Lymn come on board to step into the empty CEO shoes, albeit temporarily.

As part of his role, Mr. Lymn will be assisting the Officer team with recruitment of a permanent incumbent and providing an extensive handover, enabling the new recruit to quickly understand the unique challenges of the funeral industry.’

We presume that this won’t take up all of Mr. Lymn’s time over the next six to nine months, so, from an interested outside observer’s point of view, we’d like to offer some suggestions of other areas that we think would be really productive for him to focus on, to help make the ‘Voice of the Profession’ relevant in today’s rapidly changing world of funerals.

 

  • The All Party Parliamentary Group for Funerals and Bereavement. Open this up to others, not just the NAFD and their paid secretariat, Brevia. In an age when there are so many challenges facing bereaved people and the funeral profession, it is completely wrong that the only group in Parliament discussing these subjects is controlled and dominated by a single organisation, representing the interests of funeral directors. There needs to be collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure bereaved people are better served.

 

  • The NAFD Code of Practice. Develop a code of practice that truly benefits clients of NAFD members. Areas to cover? A clear stance on price comparison websites, and a definition of a ‘simple funeral’ that all members should be required to offer as a start.

 

  • The NAFD complaints procedure: Give teeth to this for clients who have been poorly served by members. How many companies have had their membership suspended or revoked after serious complaints? If this sanction is not ever applied, then the complaints procedure is pretty pointless.

 

  • Show leadership. Stop sitting on the fence on big issues, whether relating to transparency of ownership, new entrants to the sector (e.g. local authorities and hospices), direct cremation specialists or funeral poverty. Also, members having prices available online – the NAFD stated hope for 70% of NAFD members to have some or all their prices online by 2019 is pitiful, it should be 100%, this year.

 

  • Introduce external expertise on its executive committee to help it develop a conversation with the wider public and understand the world beyond the narrow focus of practicing funeral directors.

 

  • Develop a new vision for the Social Fund Funeral Payment. Repeated statements calling for an increase in the payment may ease the association’s conscience but do nothing to help people struggling to pay for a funeral. A new solution is needed. The NAFD is well-placed to lead on this.

 

  • Look at membership fees. Expecting a self-employed celebrant to pay the same full fees for supplier membership (currently £455 p.a.) as coffin manufacturing companies and large groups of private cemeteries is completely unrealistic. To build a broad supporter base, engaging individuals from all areas involved with provision of funerals, a tiered system of membership fee is long overdue. Alongside this, monitoring the unauthorised use of the NAFD supplier logo by individual members of organisations (who haven’t paid for the membership themselves) would also be welcomed.

 

  • Introduce an assistance fund. A levy on NAFD membership and income from other events such as NFE could pay into an assistance fund for families struggling to meet the cost of paying for a funeral. (This could be administered by a new member of staff, whose salary could be found by ending the payment to Brevia for running the APPG secretariat and opening attendance to other organisations who could contribute towards the funding of the APPG.)

 

  • Create a robust framework that would safeguard the association and its staff and members from falling victim to personal agendas and vested interests. For example, putting a limit on terms for voluntary officers to prevent trenchant points of view dominating the association’s conversations with external parties.

 

 

 

Fran Hall

 

 

According to Twitter, the website and an e-mail bulletin sent out yesterday, the Good Funeral Awards will be taking place this year in Bournemouth in September.

We think it worth noting that the Good Funeral Guide is no longer involved with these events and will not be attending. 

We ended our involvement with the awards as joint organisers last year, having been very much part of the awards since they began in 2012.

The decision was taken for various reasons, but in essence, we feel that the time for competing against one other in funeralworld has come to an end and that progressive, intelligent people working together and collaborating in best practice is the way forward.

Across the UK, good people serving bereaved families face the relentless pressure of large corporates seeking ever larger ‘market share’, the growing issue of unregulated funeral planning, negative media coverage of the funeral industry, the race to the bottom in pricing, ‘ ‘disruptive’ online ‘experts’ adding their two penn’orth to information in the public domain – and the ongoing stress of working daily directly with death and the aftermath. 

We feel that all who are trying to improve the way we do funerals in the UK are stronger together, supporting each other and sharing fellowship, rather than competing against each other, and allowing themselves to be set apart by judgements of who is the best in each field.

We also feel that the role of the GFG is done when it comes to awards within the funeral industry.

We want to concentrate on what we think essential. Reaching out from inside the funeral bubble of talking to each other about each other and actually talking to the people who matter most. The public.

The role of the Good Funeral Guide is, and always has been, to support, empower and represent the interests of dying and bereaved people, and we will continue to do our best to do so in the future, rather than getting sidetracked with event planning.

 

Fran Hall

Dying Matters, the former NCPC coalition, now under the wings of Hospice UK, sent out an e-mail bulletin this week with an update on this year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week, presumably to most of their 32,000 members.

Top feature in the bulletin was the large Co-op logo and blurb shown above.

The neat hook of offering those hoping to extend their Dying Matters activities throughout the year omits to mention that you can’t apply for a grant from the Co-op’s Local Community Fund if your organisation is run for private profit, nor to pay for general running costs or that successful applicants will receive a share of the funding starting in May 2019, which won’t be much help with your activities this year.

Pop in to see your local Co-op funeral arranger and find out more, and ask about their Start the Conversation campaign, the website for which helpfully leads you to information about Co-operative Funeralcare’s Funeral Plan.

Nice one Co-op marketing team. 

The GFG has long standing views on Co-operative Funeralcare – select it as a category in the search bar on the right and you’ll find 112 other posts, few of them flattering.

We aren’t keen at all on the carefully crafted illusion that your local Co-operative Funeralcare funeral home is part of a virtuous, publicly minded organisation providing working people with a good quality funeral at a fair price.

The TV and radio campaigns to convince Joe Public of this must be costing millions, so we’re mystified why they can’t chuck a few bob at their website and get all their prices online, nor why their much touted Simple Funeral costs £1,995 for their services alone and the day and time is arranged to suit them not you.

Hat tip to Holly Clarke, member of the Good Funeral Guild who brought this to our attention. We missed our copy of the e-mail bulletin, but found it in the spam folder.

 

 

 

Fran Hall

 

At GFG Towers we do like a good book, and recently we have indulged our book buying habit rather a lot – a pile of our recent acquisitions is shown above, all thoroughly well worth a read for anyone with an interest in dying and death. 

Last week, our attention was drawn to another recently published book, written by a celebrant, entitled ‘HOW TO HAVE THE FUNERAL SERVICE YOU WANT..? ‘And How A Celebrant Can Help’. Sounds interesting, we thought. And according to a couple of fulsome 5 star reviews on Amazon, it’s just the ticket.

But it’s not great. It’s not even good. How can we put this without sounding rude? It’s dreadful.

One of the first duties of a celebrant charged with the responsibility of writing a funeral ceremony for a bereaved family has to be accuracy – of content, spelling, grammar and syntax. So it is surely not unreasonable to expect that a book written by a celebrant about celebrancy should be a shining example of the beautiful use of language.

This one isn’t.

We’d love to show some examples of Ms Mewton’s work, of ‘grief’ and ‘funeral’ being spelled wrongly, for instance (pages 5 and 50) or of the frequency of unnecessary capital letters throughout sentences, the direct excerpts taken from the Death Cafe website and the frequent references to the opportunity to purchase her helpful Funeral Ceremony Wishes Planner, (also variously referred to as ‘Funeral Ceremony Wishes plan’, ‘Funeral Ceremony Wishes Plan’, ‘Funeral Ceremony Life Plan’ and ‘my visiting Funeral Ceremony Wishes planning service’) – but there is a stern warning at the front of the book prohibiting reproduction of any part of the publication. And we’re not keen on being sued.

We did, however, notice a fairly corruscating 1 star review of the book on Amazon which ends: ‘If I were a celebrant (or a Celebrant, as the author bestows the word a capital ‘C’ throughout the book, perhaps to emphasise how Very Important the role is) I would urgently be seeking a new job description. And if I were someone seeking guidance and advice ‘to help me have the funeral service I want’, I’d feel cheated.’

We found this review helpful. And told Amazon so.

 

 

 

Fran Hall

Guest post

Ed’s note – the writer of this blog post is known to us, however their identity is being withheld for reasons that are obvious.

‘The subject of bullying is in the media a lot these days, especially bullying within the work place. Most fair and just people think that any kind of bullying is abhorrent, although it’s a phenomenon that has been around since the beginning of time. 

Work place bullying, whether obvious or more subtle, is something that many of us have had to suffer and deal with. A lot of managers, company owners and bosses etc. are approachable and empathetic to the victims, and these situations can be dealt with: but what if the bullying and intimidation is not within a structure or institution like this?

What if it is happening to a person who is working for themselves and trying to develop and build a business, and the bullying and intimidation is from competitors within the same business?  The victim has then to deal with situation themselves, which, along with the stress of developing the business, building a new client base, forging relationships within the community, can cause a great deal of upset stress and anxiety.

I have been living this scenario for a few years since starting my business. It’s taken a lot of hard work, perseverance and determination. I am now becoming fairly well known locally, and feel I’m making a difference to the families I work with. It’s been a hard but very rewarding time for me, I love my job with a passion but any problems I have had to deal with along the way have been exacerbated by bigger, more established funeral directors, interfering with and trying to close my business.

Some of my competitors have a very unhealthy obsession with my business, my personal life and the people I work with/employ. I have had to deal with phone calls from different people, some of which have been vicious and threatening. I have been asked questions regarding almost every facet of my business; these calls are by supposed customers enquiring about using my services. I have been reported to various authorities, and they have been informed of many totally unfounded and fictitious wrong doings within my work practices. I have been followed to find out about my vehicle, and I have been ignored at places we all as funeral directors use, ie the local crematorium, the hospital mortuary, not by the staff of these establishments, but by fellow funeral directors and their employees.

I’ve been dismissed both verbally and by people turning their backs to me when I try and pass the time of day, being professional and courteous (we all have to work within the same places). I have had letters sent to these places and a barrage of phone calls with people giving false names and using throw away mobiles, questioning why I am afforded the same facilities and utilities as the other funeral directors. These are only a small selection of the bully boy tactics and intimidation I have had to endure by the bigger, more established funeral directors, sometimes on a daily basis. I have been in touch with the police, who investigated to the point where I was informed that an arrest would be made. Then the case was suddenly and mysteriously dropped and I was advised that there was no further action.

Obviously this decision by the police was another very stressful and upsetting blow, to a point where I almost decided not to continue with my business, as who was going to help and protect me in this situation if the police are not? I am a strong person and I am very much able to fend for myself, but the relentless – and it is relentless – barrage of calls and underhand tactics from these, and I can only call them ‘mafia’, almost broke me.

Fortunately as I said, I am strong, and after a lot of soul searching and deep thought I decided that the only way to deal with these people is to carry on regardless of everything.  So, for want of a better phrase, I put on my ‘brave face’, suppressed my fear and anxiety and continued with my business.  

After having the independent inspection from The Good Funeral Guide, with the results of this I felt vindicated and was hopeful that the campaign would end. Although it went quiet for a while, there are still episodes of bullying and letter writing. Recently a funeral director forcefully questioned and intimidated a celebrant who was working with me on that particular day, querying what the actual connection is with my business, in other words are they affiliated to me in some way, with an underlying veiled threat – appalling and unacceptable behaviour.

It seems that some of the other funeral directors feel threatened by a small independent like me, and certain ones will stop at nothing to try and put me out of business. Whether it is misunderstanding, a need for patriarchy, or just plain greed that drives this ongoing campaign, I don’t know, but amongst it all I am lucky to have a great team around me, and  I won’t bow down to the pressure. I will continue to be there for my families and offer the alternative, cost effective service as I always have. 

I decided to break my silence on this as it occurred to me that maybe someone else is currently, or has in the past experienced something similar?  I hope mine is a one-off case and that no-one else has had to put up with the bullying I have, as it’s a very lonely place to be, but I doubt it. Unfortunately, where there is money involved, there will be unscrupulous greedy people who think they are entitled and no-one will get in their way.

I’m interested if anyone else has experienced anything similar to mine? If so how did you deal with it?’

Fran Hall

 

These are turbulent times in the world of funerals, and we were delighted to hear last week of another innovative idea – a funeral director prepared to offer EXACTLY the same coffins that your friendly high street (corporate) undertaker has in their range, at a realistic price!

Gone are the breathtaking markups that you might find in the same friendly high street (corporate) undertakers, here are the coffins that you can find in pretty much every FD’s range, fully compliant with stringent requirements being applied by many crematoria, transparently priced and available for rapid delivery within England, Wales and Scotland.

What we love about this is that anyone making funeral arrangements can challenge the price being charged by their friendly high street (corporate) undertaker, simply by asking them why, for example, the EXACT SAME coffin can be purchased from Coffinbooker.com for half the price quoted in the glossy coffin brochure in front of them.

Until now, coffins supplied by the main suppliers to the funeral trade have not been available directly to the public. Good undertakers will charge a reasonable handling charge on top of the trade price they pay for these coffins, others have seen an opportunity to whack the price up by many hundreds – and in some cases thousands – of pounds. The unsuspecting bereaved person sitting in the arranging room rarely has any idea of the mark up applied. Now, with one fell swoop, the realistic prices of around a hundred styles of coffins can be clearly seem by anyone caring to take a look.

Coffinbooker.com is the brainchild of Colin Liddell, long time friend and supporter of the Good Funeral Guide and one of our recommended funeral directors. Here he is in his own words:

‘ Selling coffins direct to the public. This is not a new concept. My grandfather supplied coffins in the 1930s to families before the advent of funeral directors and the umbrella approach adopted to take all of the aspects – bad and good – beyond the control of the family.

My name is Colin Liddell; I am hardly an outsider to the funeral industry having served the bereaved in one way or another my entire working life. I hold funeral directing qualifications (you may be interested to learn that many funeral directors do not, as the industry is unregulated). This is my first stab at a blog, so I do hope you enjoy reading about my journey. 

In 2003, I hosted the first ever public coffin exhibition in Belsay Hall, in rural Northumberland. It began a conversation which is still being held today. At the time the theme was transparency and choice. The conversation has now evolved to empowerment and addressing funeral poverty.

In 2018, there is now a shift towards direct cremations, death cafés, home funerals, soul midwives, the Good Funeral Guide, choice and value and these ideas are beginning to gain traction.

In supply terms, many major coffin companies have to address economies of scale and to deal with the public directly is not an option for them. This gives rise to a situation where many excellent – and would be first choice coffins –  become out of reach for the average family due to, in some cases price mark-ups of many hundreds of pounds. 

In my daily life I am a funeral director and have made a point of not inflating coffin prices as I have confidence in my service and care and charge for that instead. The logical extension of this has become coffinbooker.com.

The distinction is that I am in a position to offer trade and industry standard coffins, with the latest and best environmental credentials direct to the public. Not shoddy ersatz items which in some cases are not even fit for purpose.

Mine is not a new or unique idea, but my USP is that where available I only sell FSC or FFMA approved coffins or caskets, this I believe makes me unique. I am supplying the kind of coffins and caskets undertakers use – and trust their reputations on. There is much innovation in the industry and hopefully as I see things I like, I shall add to the 100 or so different types or styles on offer. 

I have launched the venture with no expectations other than to provide choice and change. It will stand or fall by the courage of the people following the ample guidance on respected internet sources – The Good Funeral Guide naturally being the most informative – regarding families looking after their loved-ones themselves.

My new venture is simple. To deliver the best that is out there and a fraction of current retail price with a complete choice at a one stop shop. You don’t buy a coffin everyday – why buy an everyday coffin? Let’s keep the conversation going.

Thanks for the opportunity,

Colin

 

 

 

Fran Hall

 

We’re not experts in stocks and shares here at GFG Towers, not by a long way, but even to us the sight of lots of top executives in a company selling their shares in the months before issuing profit warnings and presiding over a slump of around 50% in share value looks a little – well, undignified.

Quoted in yesterday’s Times, CEO Mike McCollum said of his share dealings that ‘it was the first time he had sold part of his “core” shareholding since Dignity had floated in 2004 and the move had been to diversify his savings.’

How lucky Mr McCollum obtained a share price of over £24.00 for each one of his 271,332 shares – a quick tally up shows that by offloading his shares in the company he runs, he’d have picked up £5,864,774.83.

What foresight was shown by the man in charge of the company that charges bereaved people among the highest prices for a funeral.

 Just imagine if he’d held on to them until now, and tried to diversify today, with the shares priced at a miserly £.9.53 each earlier this morning after the stock markets took fright last Friday.

It’s good to know that the people at the top know what they’re doing.

 

 

 

Fran Hall

 

It’s here!

Today’s the day that the first Hospice Funerals branch in the UK opens for business.

The people of Taunton have been watching the refurbishment of the former charity shop over the last few weeks, as the grey paint (not dark and forbidding) was applied to the exterior and the shiny new furnishings arrived. 

Over the grey frosting on the windows, and below the statement (mysteriously missing the possessive apostrophe) Hospice Funerals Vision, the following legend proudly declares to the world in one long sentence, using the word ‘hospice’ four times and ‘exemplary’ twice just to hammer home the point: ‘To provide all hospice communities the choice and experience of exemplary hospice funeral services that uniquely reflect the dedication, warmth and reputation of the hospice movement – an extension of exemplary hospice care – caring, transparent and personal.’

Phew. Try reading that without drawing breath. Particularly if you’re sitting in traffic alongside the new funeral business and the lights are about to change.

Anyway, on the day of the official opening of St. Margaret’s Hospice Funerals’ first branch, we thought we’d offer those considering copying this trailblazing franchisor and opening their own Hospice Funerals franchise partnership the results of the survey that we have been running for the last month.

Trustees of hospices thinking of following St. Margaret’s’ lead might be particularly interested in the responses to Q4.

In total, 719 people from across the UK responded. This is rather more than the 245 people from an unnamed North of England town where St. Margaret’s and their partners, Memoria Ltd, carried out market research prior to launching – and apparently received an astounding 82% approval of their Hospice Funerals scheme!

Our findings were somewhat different to their results. Although we obviously don’t know exactly what question they asked.

Here are our five simple questions.

Q1: ‘Before today, had you heard about St. Margaret’s Hospice partnering with Memoria Ltd to set up Hospice Funerals LLP offering other hospices the opportunity to set up funeral director businesses?’

293 people said yes they had.

423 people said no.

Q2: ‘Do you think there is a need for hospices to offer funeral services to their patients and the wider community?’

209 people said yes.

498 people said no.

(370 people offered their reasons in comments. We’ll add a few of these below to give a flavour of the things said.)

Q3: ‘Were you aware of the proposed £100,000 set up cost and £10,000 per annum franchise fee involved with each Hospice Funerals funeral director business?’

94 people said they were aware.

621 said they weren’t.

Q4: ‘Would you want your donation or fund-raising for your local hospice to be used to help set up and fund a hospice funeral business?’

65 people said yes

74 people said they wouldn’t mind how their money was used

573 people said no.

(102 people added comment to this question too.)

Q5: Are you (please tick all that apply):

A member of the public – 516 people

A staff member of a hospice – 12 people

A volunteer in a hospice – 17 people

A fund raiser for a hospice – 26 people

A donor of money or goods to a hospice – 91 people

A funeral director – 91 people

A staff member or volunteer in another organisation that has links to a hospice – 36 people.

Here are some representative examples of comments in response to Q2. (A complete list of all 370 comments received is available on request.)

“I think this could provide good continuity for families but only if it was done sensitively and not for profit”

“Offering funeral services to patients and the wider community is beyond the scope of health and hospice care, and a potential conflict of interest – i.e. hospice benefits financially from the death of patients. Alternatively, hospices could play a role to support the dying person and their family and carers, and the broader community, with education regarding ceremony and body disposal options, without recommending specific providers; the local community will be better served by each hospice providing information about or links to local, independent, support services and providers.”

“Firstly, I think there are enough Funeral Directors in the UK anyway. Secondly, I feel there is a conflict of interest if the “charity sector” is partnering with a profit making organisation.”

“It should be the patients and their relatives’ decision. At such a difficult time, it would be easy to use the linked funeral provider without it necessarily being the right decision. The whole idea makes me feel very uncomfortable.”

“Ethically the hospice should stand back and let the family chose the funeral director of choice not feel obliged to pay a linked company. All rather distasteful.”

“I feel that families may feel pressured into using these services in gratitude and grief.”

“Their job is to do the right thing on the right side of dying. It’s a conflict of interests to venture into the dead side of dying.”

“There are enough caring independent funeral directors. We don’t need another “big faceless player” on the scene.”

“Hospices provide a different service and conflating that with a funeral service appears to be predatory with grieving families as the victims.”

“There is no need for a linked funeral director, since hospices will all fall within the ‘natural’ catchment areas of a range of existing companies. There could be an argument for resourcing hospice chaplaincy better (Christian and other faiths) so that families are able to have a minister that they already know, and who cared for their loved one spiritually in life, take their funeral.”

“I don’t know a lot about this, but it seems like a helpful service for them to provide.”

“I believe these services should be kept seperate for ethical reasons, the preservation of the notion of hospice care, and for the mental well-being of those in care (I.e. the avoidance of a conveyor belt feeling, as though the living person is perceived as being a resource of value when dead).”

“There is a danger of this option being used by big corporate funeral firms for their own profits while all the time making out they are helping hospices with their funds.”

“I had never considered the idea before, and I suppose it might be the last stop on the continuum of care, but I don’t like the idea. It seems very creepy  to have one’s health care team circling like vultures waiting to make money off a funeral.”

“It is a saturated market. There isn’t a need.There should be a demarcation between health and business. The hospice has in essence a captive audience, I honestly think it is an abuse of their privileged position.”

And in response to Q4 – again, a representative sample of the range of comments received from 102 people, with the full list available on request:

“I am happy to help care for patients and to help hospices raise the money needed for their existence. They are an invaluable service. I would not want my money to be helped to support a conglomerate whose directors are set to take funds away from the Hospice.”

“I would NOT be happy to help fund a franchise which would control the business in the style of conventional  funeral provision.  I would be more than happy to contribute towards a not-for-profit co-operative service provided for & by the community.”

“Simply; because it stinks.”

I think most people would be shocked to hear that their charitable donations raised in loving memory of relatives they have lost would be used to invest in risky private ventures.”

“I would rather the hospices supported their patients by giving them and their families options to consider.  The alternative almost feels like a one stop shop.”

“Hospices need every penny to care for patients and that is why people donate. Using donations to pay for a franchise buy in would be a dishonourable use of funds.”

“I donate to ensure the best care is given at this most difficult time.. The client and family should be able to choose from a range of funeral directors of their choice. I would be very angry and would stop donating if the money was used in any way other than helping people to have the best quality of life until they die.”

“I am assuming that a funeral business would need to make money therefore I would prefer any donations I make would help people at a most difficult time. Perhaps an advice centre within the Hospice would be useful, letting people know what choices are available.”

“This is a ridiculously slanted question. Don’t bother to pretend this is research when it’s clearly a piece of push polling. Unethical.”

Now, we’ve been described as many things in the past, but unethical we ain’t.

We just wanted to know what people actually thought.

Now we’re going to watch and see how this new funeral business with the best branding in town gets on, in an area where bereaved people of the ‘hospice community’ already have a choice of twelve other funeral directors. Many of them are already providing a ‘caring, transparent and personal service’.

We’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fran Hall

It’s always sad to hear that an independently owned funeral business has been sold to one of the big three corporate chains.

It’s even more so when the company concerned is one that has been on the Good Funeral Guide ‘Recommended’ list for years.

So when we were told by a third party this weekend that one of the longstanding listed GFG Recommended funeral directors is now under new ownership, we were very sorry indeed.

Undoubtedly, the decision to sell the company he created and built up to four branches in North London was a very difficult one for Mark Catchpole and his wife Julie, and we wish them both well for the future now that the deal has been signed.

Being recommended by the Good Funeral Guide is a privilege earned through a stringent accreditation process. Our criteria are strict. The sale to Funeral Partners means that we are no longer able to recommend Harrison Funeral Home as one of the funeral directors approved by the Good Funeral Guide.

 We have never, nor will ever encourage bereaved people to seek help from a company owned by Dignity, Co-operative Funeralcare or Funeral Partners.

‘Inter mutanda constantia’