Heart & Soul Funerals is the new name for Green Fuse Funerals.
Funeral Directors: Simon Smith and Jane Morrell were jointly awarded Good Funeral Guide’s Funeral Director of the Year 2012. They are two people who campaign tirelessly for better funerals. In addition to being funeral directors, they also train celebrants and modern funeral directors; authors of We Need To Talk About the Funeral, a beautifully illustrated book which opens your eyes to everything you can do to make a funeral memorable and meaningful. For both of them, it was personal experience of bereavement that brought them to it. Jane started the business to work with rites of passage, but their community drew them more and more into funerals and they realised they needed to do the whole thing in order to give families the experience they wanted to give them. “And now it’s a way of life! We’ve never done anything so constantly challenging and rewarding.”
Simon holds the Foundation Degree in Funeral Services from Bath University, the highest qualification in the funeral sector. They both have trained in Psychotherapy and use skills in listening, non-judgement and understanding of bereavement.
Simon and Jane believe that a funeral can be whatever the family want it to be, something moving and memorable, to cherish, and this is the basis of their work. They will deliver whatever type of funeral the family want, whether contemporary, highly individual or quite traditional, religious, secular or something between. Although many people are looking for a more personal Funeral ceremony, without the services of a priest, they have seen that the bereaved still value and appreciate a funeral that includes a sense of sacred or spiritual ritual to mark the end of a life. They believe beauty and ritual are to create a meaningful experience for the family and ceremony for the person who has died.
They will encourage your creative input and your participation because they are huge believers in the healing powers involvement. They are empathic and they are also intelligent (a quality in short supply in the world of funerals). They will work with you collaboratively to create a richly unique ceremony. What do they wear? “We have everything from black suits style to smart but more colourful and ask the families what they want us to wear. The top hat comes out occasionally.” They hire any sort of hearse you like: “we’ve used a range of hearses including a lovely classic Mercedes, brand new Jag, horse and flatbed cart, motorcycle, VW Camper, a variety of MPVs, the family’s own vehicle, procession on foot. We’ll get whatever vehicle and coffin the family want.”
They offer an integrated service that puts the ceremony at the centre of all discussions. They differ from most other funeral directors in this important respect: they are the celebrants at 70% of the funerals they undertake. They have an interesting and inviting funeral centre on the High Street in Totnes and a beautiful and peaceful funeral home by the River Dart with a light and spacious room for ceremonies and wakes, where you can come to talk in the kitchen or around the wood burner; visit and hold vigils; help care for the body; and participate in discussions about funerals and bereavement.
They’ll never do more than one funeral in a day. They’ll offer you all the choices there are out there. They’ll encourage your participation wherever you want, care of the body, the preparation of the funeral and the ceremony itself. They’ll lend you their book and a great compendium of words and poetry. They are absolutely transparent about price. They charge their fees, and do not mark up any of the products and services they buy in, coffins, cars, flowers etc. “We offer information, approachability and clear information on pricing and ownership on an unprecedented level.”
Says Jane: “I would like to think we’re in that growing number of people around the country who are leading the change of the funeral industry towards the concept of real customer service and choice. I think the changes will continue to be huge.” They’re probably right.
Any decisions you take on engaging the services of a funeral director should be based on your views and research. You should not rely solely upon the views and opinions offered by us.
Monday 23rd June 2014 at 5:49 pm
Am I able to use your services to plan a cremation well in advance, or must I wait until the person dies? I have been looking at pre-paid funeral plans: they seem to be a good idea inasmuch as a load will be taken off my family at a difficult time. As you will know, there many suppliers who ask you to tell them what you want, but they do not actually listen to your requirements and then offer advice. You need to know pretty well what you want before they can help.
I have recently come from York to live in Ivybridge.and would welcome an opportunity to meet you. Please email or telephone 01752 690735
Monday 23rd June 2014 at 8:48 pm
I suggest that you should contact Green Fuse direct, since not every recommended F/D on here will keep in touch with this blog
Tuesday 8th July 2014 at 8:59 pm
I enjoyed meeting you David and help you to get this sorted out. It is never too early to plan. With best wishes. Simon
Monday 22nd February 2010 at 5:33 pm
“Back in 2006 you helped me and my husband arrange the funeral for my son. I was just looking through the photo album that you compiled for us during his funeral and feeling so proud of the send off that we managed to create for him with the help of yourselves. We were so grateful of your help and support during such a hazy and difficult time enabling us to give the end of his life such a special celebration. My fog of grief is slowly lifting now and I just wanted to thank you for supporting us in achieving our goal. I love to look back over the photos you gave us. It was such a beautiful, perfect day for our little boy.” JD in 2009
Monday 22nd February 2010 at 5:32 pm
“I wanted to write to give my personal thanks for the support in arranging D’s funeral. Many people have commented that it was a beautiful service, and very ‘him’. Your help in arranging it, and making the process personal and calm, was an immense help through the tough early days. All I wanted was that we make arrangements that fitted with D’s wishes, and that the service reflected and honoured his life. This can be difficult when events are so sudden. Your care and expertise made this possible. Thank you.” JH
Monday 22nd February 2010 at 5:31 pm
“I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful way you supported us to make the arrangements for my Mother’s funeral so very easy. Your compassion and understanding, the extras you provided like the beautiful cloths and your lovely style and approach towards consciousness around death were invaluable.” Hannah Jones
Monday 22nd February 2010 at 5:30 pm
“Once again – thank you! I have received nothing but good reports and congratulations on the way Michael’s funeral was presented. Everything was just as he would have wanted.” GS
Monday 22nd February 2010 at 5:30 pm
“On behalf of our whole family I want to tell you how grateful we are for the very generous help, wise counsel and support you gave in the difficult days following Joan’s death. Saturday’s farewell and celebration of her life will remain with everyone for a very long time. It couldn’t have been done better.” David Craddock
Monday 22nd February 2010 at 5:20 pm
“Thank you. During the hours and days after our Mother’s death your sensitive, non-judgemental and calm presence cleared the path for us to make the numerous decisions that faced us and served to minimise our stress, freeing us to arrange the farewell in the way that we feel she would have liked.” Rod Nelson & Clare Ballar
Monday 15th February 2010 at 5:03 pm
“green fuse are not just trying to re-brand undertaking as a profession, they are responding to a new reflective individualism; people quietly thinking through what is the right relationship for us to have with the dead and what relationship we may wish to have with the living once we are dead ourselves.” Tim Gardam, Principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford, presenter of Beyond this Life, BBC Radio 4 October 2009.