Please see below a guide to the usual procedures involved after someones death.
ON THE DAY OF THE FUNERAL...
If you have not been to a funeral before, or perhaps not for a long time, you may have concerns about protocol and procedure; this is something you need not worry over. Below is a general outline of the proceedings. The main thing is for the service to be carried out to your wishes and we can change and adapt to your needs.
If the funeral is leaving from an area were the parking of our limousines at the house may cause problems, we can provide ‘no waiting cones’ that we will put out earlier in the day or the evening before.
The Funeral Director or Conductor will on arrival at the house speak to the main mourner or closest relative of the deceased; they will enquire if everyone has arrived, check if any flowers have to be placed in the hearse, or any other requests taken care of.
At the appropriate time they will suggest we leave for the place where the service is to be held. It is our tradition for the Funeral Director to walk a few metres in front of the hearse as a mark of respect.
On arrival at the place of the service, after checking the Crematorium or Church and Minister are ready and any music is prepared, the Funeral Director will indicate to you when to follow the coffin into the church or Crematorium chapel and will show you where you are to be seated, usually the main mourner is sat closest to the coffin.
In the case of a cremation the curtains are usually closed at the conclusion of the service, but they can be left open if you prefer.
The coffin remains in place until everyone has left the chapel then a short time later the cremation will take place.
If the deceased had a military background we can drape the coffin in a Union Flag, or if there was an interest in sport the Cross of St George could be used and we also have a maroon and gold braided cover if required.
In the case of a burial after the service in the church or chapel the coffin will be taken to the grave. We place the coffin in the hearse unless the grave is close by. The coffin is carried to the grave and once everyone is gathered round, the coffin is lowered into the ground. The service at the graveside is quite short, perhaps five to ten minutes, you will have time to see any flowers that may have been sent. Our staff will place them nearby and you have an opportunity to speak to anyone before we leave.
You will then be taken back to where the funeral started out from, or we can take you to wherever refreshments have been arranged.
We can provide (at no charge) a sign board at the exit of the crematorium or cemetery chapel, giving information on where you are going back to afterwards.
A service usually takes about 25 minutes, depending on the content: Hymns, perhaps one or two, some have no singing at all but music special to the family is played as we go in and out. Sometimes another piece is played in the middle. When the service is concluded the Funeral Director will ask you to follow out of the chapel.
Some families prefer a service that is non-religious; if this reflects what you feel would be appropriate we have officiants who will take the service at the crematorium or cemetery chapel.
A Roman Catholic Mass can be 45 – 50 minutes in church. No funeral is or should be the same as another, it is personal to you and what you think your loved one would be satisfied with.
Our staff would normally carry the coffin on their shoulders, as is our normal and traditional practice, sometimes friends and family may wish to do this, and we usually have four coffin bearers.
IS THERE A DRESS CODE?
Traditionally black is always appropriate, a simple dress for the ladies, a suit and black tie for the gentlemen. You should be comfortable as befits the occasion. There are no hard and fast rules, things are becoming more relaxed. Casual wear is worn in various forms and some feel more comfortable in dark colours and less black.
It should be borne in mind that in the case of burial suitable footwear should be chosen, especially in wet weather. Our limousines have a supply of umbrellas should the weather become inclement.
Sometimes a request is made by the family for the colours of a favourite sports team to be worn, or perhaps that a certain colour is requested favoured by the deceased. Our staff have been asked to wear ties in a particular colour; we do our best to accommodate this.
Our own staff are dressed in charcoal grey suits with black ties and the drivers wear Chauffeur’s caps and our Funeral Directors wear either a morning coat, or frock coat with pinstriped trousers. In colder weather raincoats are worn.
WILL I HAVE TIME TO SEE EVERYONE?
Sometimes mourners attending the service go in the chapel before the family arrives, for large funerals this is encouraged so only the close family follows the coffin. This allows the service to start on time.
There is an opportunity after the service to see those who attended, or you may be inviting everyone back to a venue for refreshments, this may be at home or at a Public House or Hotel.
If there are to be donations collected at; for example the crematorium, we provide a locked box for this purpose. A member of the family or a person nominated by you would need to witness the donations being transferred to an envelope for you to send them on to the charity requested. A signature for the donations would be needed from the witness. We don’t attempt to count the money, so this only takes a few minutes.
We are ready when you wish to leave, you will not be rushed in any way, then we can take you home or to any other venue.
IF YOU HAVE A CREMATION... WHAT ABOUT THE ASHES?
Sometimes with a cremation, families can find it quite a difficult decision to decide what to do about the ashes.
We will explain all the options to you, but with many things on your mind when we first see you, and perhaps with other family members to consider, you may not want to rush things just then.
This is quite common, so you are not alone; if after we make the arrangements you cannot make up your mind, do not worry about it and don’t feel there is any pressure on you. We can get the funeral over first; we will collect the ashes for you and take them back to our office for safekeeping.
Then we will contact you a few days later to see how you are coping and to see if you have made a decision.
If not we will keep them with us for two months, if you still are not ready to collect them or have some form of memorial, we can still hold them, but we do make a storage charge of £12.00 per month.
Here is a selection of the urns, caskets and vases available; the cremated remains or Ashes as they are usually called, are given to us from the crematorium in the polycontainer it is included in the cremation fees. This is adequate if you are intending to scatter the ashes somewhere. Otherwise we can transfer them to your chosen urn or casket.
I MAY WANT A SERVICE SHEET...
We can produce Order Of Service Sheets of excellent quality.
We will help set up a proof of what you require and suggest what you may like to include, even if you are having a non-religious service, there are many things such as a photograph or short summary of the life lived perhaps.
Details of the music that will be played; it can provoke thought and provide a fitting tribute.
This can be a memento for those attending to take away with them, and hold on to the memory of your loved one.
We charge a set up fee of £50.00 and then from £1.40 to £3.30 a copy depending on quantity and card quality.
Contact Julia or Sally on 01482 352199 or