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Planning a funeral service during the Coronavirus pandemic

At present, there aren’t any restrictions on the type of funeral you can choose and both burials and cremations are still permitted, though services can only take place at the graveside or in a crematorium and no longer in a place of worship.

Current government restrictions might mean that you can’t have a funeral that looks like you imagined it, but it doesn’t mean you have to settle for something functional. We will still provide a dignified and meaningful funeral now and a memorial or commemorative service later to celebrate your loved one’s life.

In line with Government guidance, attendees should be limited to those who are not in any of the high-risk categories and are not self-isolating.

Alongside the Funeral Director, Chapel Attendant and funeral staff, only the following should attend:

  • Members of the person’s household
  • Close family members
  • Close friends where family are not in attendance
  • A celebrant of choice, should the bereaved request this

Whilst the number of people who can attend the funeral at the moment is restricted, it can still be a day of remembrance and reflection and not just for those that are there.Your Funeral Director will be able to guide you through the options available to you. 

 

Current funeral services and limitations

There are some restrictions applied in line with Government advice and in order to ensure we keep you, your family, and our staff safe during the Coronavirus pandemic. We will still organise a service for you. The coffin will be transported to the cemetery or crematorium in our hearse, and perhaps we can drive a route that will pass certain households where dear friends may be able stand outside as we drive by. 

Although not available everywhere, there may be the possibility to play video or audio messages and for readings to be played during the funeral service. There are a small number of locations that offer live streaming, and digital recordings of the service taken for viewing later. If the venue you have chosen performs these services, we will let you know

Cemetery and crematorium grounds

The majority of cemetery and crematorium memorial grounds are now open to the public to visit graves and remembrance gardens. Social distancing guidelines should always be respected ensuring that you remain at least 2 meters apart from other visitors and staff.

Before visiting a cemetery or crematorium, please check to ensure it has reopened for visits and any opening hours that may apply.

Hearses

Our hearses will still transport your loved one from our funeral home to the cemetery or crematorium.

Limousines

We are no longer able to offer limousines as part of the funeral service in order that we can maintain social distancing measures, and therefore you will need to travel to the service in your own transport.

We will, however, provide as many additional limousines from our luxury fleet as required to chauffeur mourners in comfort for a service held when current restrictions are lifted at a later date.

Procession

We are still able to provide processions to honour your loved one’s memory by driving past some of their favourite places on the way to the service.

You may consider asking friends and family who aren’t able to attend the service to stand outside their doors as our hearse and family cars drive past, so that they can pay their respects to your loved one and respectfully mark the occasion.

Pallbearers

Reluctantly, we are not able to permit pallbearers to shoulder your loved one’s coffin or casket. Instead, one of our professional and experienced funeral directors will deliver the coffin into the service on a wheeled bier (a small trolley).

Personalising the funeral service

Whilst regulations limit attendance, there are still many things we can help you arrange to personalise your loved one’s service and celebrate their life.

Celebrants and Ministers

Celebrants and Ministers are still permitted to lead and guide the service. They will observe social distancing measures and stay two metres away from attendees.

Order of service stationery

At present, you are still able to give order of service stationery to fellow mourners, as long as they are not shared amongst people who aren’t part of the same household. You may wish to consider sending copies to those who can’t attend or providing email versions. Your appointed Dignity Funeral Director will be able to help you arrange this.

Readings

You are still able to have religious or non-religious readings at the funeral of your loved one. This can be agreed with your celebrant, minister or funeral director before the day of the funeral and can be read in the crematorium for cremation services and at the graveside for burial services.

Funeral music

At a crematorium you can still have your choice of funeral music as normal. You can play a selection of your loved one’s favourite songs during the service. Although not available everywhere, there may be the possibility to play video or audio messages and for readings to be played during the funeral service. There are a small number of locations that offer live streaming, and digital recordings of the service taken for viewing later. If the venue you have chosen performs these services, we will let you know

Flowers

Your Funeral Director can help you arrange modest floral displays, where there is access to local florist services. Sometimes, this might not be possible, where local businesses are closed. We understand that family and friends may want to send flowers as a mark of love and respect, but you may wish to consider asking them for a donation to a chosen charity instead. We can arrange this service for you via a Dignity Funeral Notice, which will provide the appropriate links.

Obituaries

Your Funeral Director can arrange for an obituary to be published in your local newspaper, where it is still being delivered. You can also choose to commemorate your loved one’s life online by using a Dignity Funeral Notice. A Funeral Notice is a dedicated web page where information and photos are shared and friends and family can leave messages of condolence.

Donations

If you would like to collect charitable donations on behalf of your loved one, the safest way to do this is online via a Dignity Funeral Notice, which will also enable people to leave messages of condolence for you to read. Our Funeral Notice service is provided free of charge and your Funeral Director will be able to guide you through how to do this.

If a congregational collection is an absolute necessity, we will supply a Dignity disposable donation box available on exit at venue and hand to you unopened immediately. We are not able to bring donated monies back to our premises.

Arranging the date of the funeral

Funerals are usually held 1-3 weeks after the passing. This may happen in a shorter space of time where religious requirements exist, or a longer period of time where a coroner is involved. We are currently delivering funerals within these typical timescales.

You may decide that an intimate service now and a larger, commemorative service at a later date, when restrictions are lifted, is the right choice for your loved one and your family. You may decide to arrange a virtual memorial service on the day of the funeral for those who can’t attend.

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