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Funeral experts by experience

Every now and then the GFG gets an invitation that it can’t turn down.

Being invited to be involved in a research project exploring what matters to people when it comes to funerals was just such an invitation. We were delighted to help in a very small way, and it has been a privilege to be part of the research project advisory committee.

Today, the findings of this extraordinarily important research are published.

We will be proud to be sitting alongside Dr. Julie Rugg and Dr. Sarah Jones when their findings are presented to the ICCM conference this afternoon.

Read the full report here

Are you a funeral celebrant?


The GFG is delighted to have been invited to join representatives of various organisations on a working group to look at the role of funeral celebrants. 

We’ve called this working group the Funeral Celebrancy Council and last week the FCC spoke to hundreds of celebrants at the second National Celebrant Convention about the work we’ve been doing so far.

More information about the FCC is below, but for now, we’d like to ask for your help if you are a celebrant who carries out funeral ceremonies.

One of the aims of the FCC is to obtain some realistic statistics. There is very little data about funeral celebrancy, so we are running a survey to try and gather accurate information.

The link can be found here – and it takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

You don’t need to give your name or identify yourself in any way, but your input will help us build a picture of what is happening out there in funeralworld.

Thanks very much in advance!



About the Funeral Celebrancy Council


The FCC is a working group of representatives from all the established relevant organisations in existence, at the time the council was formed, who took up the offer to take part. It’s called a council because we had to call it something. 
At present, the council is still in the early stages of identifying what is required to ensure funerals meet the requirements of the bereaved and the funeral industry as a whole, and we want to hear from as many people as possible. Feedback at the national convention from those working in funeral celebrancy was particularly useful.
The members of the council are as follows:

The Association of Independent Celebrants

The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants 
Civil Ceremonies 
Humanists UK 
The Institute of Civil Funerals 
Mountain Celebrations 
Green Fuse 
The National Association of Funeral Directors 
The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors 
The Good Funeral Guide,
along with an independent celebrant representing those who choose not to be affiliated to any organisation
Several constructive and productive meetings have taken place in 2018, and as a result a document is in development, setting out common standards that all members of the FCC agree all funeral celebrants should aspire to. 
This document, the Accord, is not a contract and no one will sign anything. Working to the Accord will be completely voluntary, but we hope celebrants will look on it as something positive we can all aim for. It is intended to be complimentary to what anyone may already be doing as part of their own organisation’s requirements.
Consultation on this document is ongoing, and the final version is likely to be published in early 2019.




How much do funerals really matter?



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!