Category Archives: Funeral Ideas

Top Funeral Music Some Ideas To Consider

Top Funeral Music – What is Top of The Pops?

What is top funeral music these days? Pop music has become the soundtrack to peoples’ lives – and now deaths.  Over 66% of today’s funerals are accompanied by pop music says research by The Co-operative Funeralcare, the UK’s biggest chain of funeral directors.

Just one in twenty five asked for classical music.

Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” remains top of the funeral pops, the longest running number 1 by holding on to the number one spot for 7 years. Only in 2002 did Bette Midler edge ahead briefly with “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

The research shows a steady decline in singing or even playing hymns at funerals: seven years ago, hymns were over forty per cent of all funeral music but this year they have fallen below thirty per cent.

Top of the Hymns was “Abide With Me.”

The favourite classical piece was “Nimrod” by Elgar.

Most funerals featured sombre or emotive music, but a more humorous approach is becoming popular with Eric Idle’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” at number 13 in the pop funeral charts.  It’s even more popular regionally, reaching number six in the South East and the North East, and number nine in London.

The  Ying Tong Song by Spike Milligan, whose engraved headstone famously reads “I Told You I Was Ill,” featured at several funerals.

Less conventional requests included Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and the clock from Channel Four’s Countdown marking the seconds as the curtains closed at the crematorium.  Variety is not just the spice of life it seems wehn it comes to top funeral music.

Lorinda Robinson, Head of Marketing, The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “Hymns were once the mainstay of a funeral service but pop music plays such an important part in people’s lives that it now acts as the theme tune to their passing. Modern funerals are very much about personal choice, and this is often reflected in the choice of music.

“Song lyrics now provide the poignant words to remember a loved one’s life, either to acknowledge how much they were loved and will be missed or as a reminder of their favourite hobby, pastime or humour.”

Key findings:

• My Way becomes the UK’s longest running number one song – as requested at 15 per cent of funerals – while six of Sinatra’s hits feature in the charts, making him the most popular artist of all.
• A quarter of funeral homes have had to refuse to play a piece of music on the grounds of taste, usually because clergy conducting the ceremony feel the choice is inappropriate. An example is John Lennon’s Imagine which features the line ‘Imagine there’s no heaven.”
• Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings continues a slow slide down the charts from number one in 2002, to number two in 2005 and 2009 but down to number three in 2012.
• Adele’s worldwide chart success sees her enter the funeral music charts at number 22 with Someone Like You while there is no place for Take That in the top 30.
• A third of funeral homes have received unusual or quirky requests, including the theme tune to Countdown.
• Over half (53%) of funeral homes have been asked for live music, ranging from pipers and choirs to steel bands and rock groups. This is up from 39 per cent in 2009.

Top ten contemporary songs
1. My Way – Frank Sinatra
2. Time To Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli
3. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
4. Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy
5. Angels – Robbie Williams
6. You Raise Me Up – Westlife
7. You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & the Pacemakers
8. We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn
9. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
10. Unforgettable – Nat King Cole

I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton have dropped out of the top ten since 2009, replaced by We’ll Meet Again.

Top ten hymns
1. Abide with Me
2. The Lord is my Shepherd
3. All Things Bright and Beautiful
4. The Old Rugged Cross
5. How Great Thou Art
6. Amazing Grace
7. Jerusalem
8. Morning Has Broken
9. The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended
10. Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

The Lord is My Shepherd has been replaced by Abide With Me at the top of the charts.

Top ten pieces of classical music
1. Nimrod – Elgar
2. Canon in D – Pachelbel
3. Ave Maria – Schubert
4. Nessun Dorma – Puccini
5. Pie Jesu – Faure
6. The Four Seasons – Vivaldi
7. Adagio – Albinoni/Bizet
8. Air on a G String – Bach
9. Largo – Handel
10. Clare de Lune – Debussy

Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring (Bach) and Going Home from Dvorak’s New World Symphony have been replaced in the top ten by Clare de Lune and Adagio.

The most popular TV theme tunes were:
Match of the Day
Pot Black
One Foot in the Grave
Last of the Summer Wine
Dr Who
The X Files
Red Dwarf
Top Gear
Six Feet Under
The Muppets Theme Tune – It’s Time to Face the Music

More top funeral music.

Top Funeral Music

Eaten By Mushrooms – NOT a Dr Who Story

Being eaten by mushrooms is not everyones idea of fun.   But when it is part of an environmentally friendly burial, you may begin to see the point of the Infinity Burial Suit which is being trialled in the US and is already going into production there.  This is there story (in US English!):

What is the Infinity Burial Suit?

Infinity Burial Suit

How does it work? The Infinity Burial Suit is a handcrafted garment that is worn by the deceased. The suit is completely biodegradable. It has a built in bio mix ­made up of two different types of mushrooms and other microorganisms that together do three things;

  1. aid in decomposition.
  2. Work to neutralize toxins found in the body.
  3. Transfer nutrients to plant life.

The end result of being buried in the Infinity Burial Suit is that bodies are transformed into vital nutrients that enrich the earth and foster new life.

How do the mushrooms work?

We are using two different types of mushrooms ­ edible and mycorrhizal. Edible mushrooms are scientifically proven decomposers. These mushrooms break down material by emitting enzymes. The mycorrhizal mushrooms deliver nutrients to plant roots.

Mushrooms break down toxins in two ways ­ with organic toxins, the mushrooms break down bonds and thus neutralize the toxins. In other cases, the mushrooms bind the toxins through a process called chelation and in turn make the toxins innocuous.

These various processes only provide positive benefits that save energy and resources, improve the soil, and enrich plant life.

What toxins are found in the human body?

The Centers for Disease Control in the US says we have 219 toxic chemicals in our body. These include tobacco residues, dry cleaning chemicals, pesticides, fungicides, flame­retardants, heavy metals, preservatives, etc. The CDC reports that the chemical Bisphenol­A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen and plastic hardener which causes reproductive and neurological damage, is found in 93% of adults age 6 and older.

Do the levels of toxins in humans ​really ​matter?

By being buried in the Infinity Burial Suit, you are helping the environment, which we believe is a valid cause, not matter how small the contribution.

If the mushrooms break down the toxins found in human bodies, do they become toxic? What if someone eats them?

By a process called mycoremediation, the mycelium actually can break down many organic toxins and even make many heavy metal toxins inert as well. Mycelium does not always fruit (making the mushrooms you see and buy) ­ that is dependent on soil conditions, temperature, and moisture; however, they are still working underground.

We plan on doing extensive research on all facets of the process. But as for the edibility that is still an active area of research. Some researchers are still conjecturing about this. But we hope to know more soon!

Are you introducing non ­native mushrooms into the ecosystem?

No, the strains of mushrooms that are used in the Suit are found all over the world.

Will the mushrooms eat me while I am alive?

(Remember this was written for a US audience who may not realise that you don’t put a burial suit on until you are about to be buried ;-).

Trying the mushroom shroud on for size

No. The mushrooms we are working with are edible mushrooms, which prefer wood­based substrates. These mushrooms are selected for their capacity to digest dead human tissue. They are not being genetically altered and will not morph into a flesh­eating disease. Consider the following…at any given moment, there are a million fungal spores, bacteria, and even viruses in the air, on every surface, and even in your own body competing for nutrients. Your body, when alive, has a natural defense mechanism (your immune system!) to fight off these microorganisms. Your body, when dead, no longer has an active immune system and will therefore become food for any organism.

How will Coeio test if it works?

Our products are based off of well researched basic science studies. There have been a number of studies that have proven that mushrooms aid decomposition, remediate toxins and speed delivery of nutrient to plants. We are applying this science to burials and testing our patent­ pending application. Validation and transparency are really important values to the company, so testing is central to us.

I don’t plan to die anytime soon, but I want to use the Suit when the time comes.

How long will it last?

You do not have to be at need to order an Infinity Burial Suit. We are expecting our early adopters to take possession of the Suit, which will be packaged for long, stable shelf life with a guarantee.

Has anyone used it yet? Our first human adopter is Dennis White. He is terminally ill and has an Infinity Burial Suit. Coeio made a film about Dennis, titled “Suiting Dennis.” It is available to watch on our site. We hope you enjoy watching it!

Is it legal to use the Infinity Burial Suit?

Yes, it is completely legal to use. Where the confusion comes in is that some funeral homes and cemeteries require a traditional casket to be buried. While they make it sound like a legal requirement, it actually has more to do with their own commercial goals. This trend is changing however. In recent years, interests in green funerals have been on the rise, and a growing number of green funeral homes and burial grounds have emerged. If you are interested in these, simply Google green burial or check out the directory at the Green Burial Council.

Do I have to be buried in a special place when I use the suit?

A range of options are open to you, including traditional cemeteries, specially designated green cemeteries, green burial conservation lands, or even on private land. Providers are different, so we recommend contacting them to discuss your wishes and make arrangements. We find that green cemeteries and conservation burial lands are the easiest to work with and most aligned with our customers’ values.

To find one simply Google green burial locations or check out the directory at the Green Burial Council. For burials on private land, please be aware that laws are highly varied by municipality. Be sure to thoroughly research the options in your area.

Can you put the Suit into a coffin, or does it have to go straight into the ground?

It is fine to use the Suit in addition to a biodegradable container. It is also fine to bury the Suit straight into the ground.

How deep do I need to be buried? Will the mycelium work at those depths?

We suggest that the suit be buried at a depth of 4ft, not 6ft, for the mycelium. In natural or green cemeteries, 4ft is the common burial depth. Burial laws vary state by state, but legally most states require 18 inches of a soil buffer between body/container and the ground.

When can I get a Suit?

We plan to have the suits available for purchase later in 2016. How much does it cost? We are still working through production costs, but our target price for the suit is $1500.

Are you making a shroud?

Yes, in addition to the suit, Coeio plans to design a Infinity Burial Shroud.

We have asked them to keep us informed, some environmentalists might want to watch this space!



Low Cost Cremation Plans – The Way Forward?

Low Cost Cremation Plans – are they the way forward?

Leading bereavement expert says MPs’ Report On The State of Funeral Provision Is inaccurate. As British Funeral Culture Is Changing Rapidly. We at the Prepaid Funeral Review feel that there is some truth in that.  However, in the vast majority of cases, there will be significant emotional problems for at least some of those left behind. But that is just our view.  We have no problem organising great value low cost cremation plans for people who really understand them. Our concern is over the meaning of the word “direct” and the lack of understanding.

Direct Cremation and Low cost cremation: the answer to funeral poverty?

Following the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Select Committee’s damning report into the state of funeral provision for the poorer elements of society, a leading UK funeral expert believes the solutions to the problems already exist.

Maybe there is already a solution.    Simple out of normal hours cremation, and direct cremation plans where the deceased is cremated at a low cost crematorium. That crematorium may be hundreds of miles away.  Most do not allow the family to attend even if they could. There is a market for that, and some high profile celebrities like David Bowie have drawn greater attention to this as an option.

The Select Committee findings criticised the “opaque and outdated” state support arrangements for those unable to afford the cost of a funeral. Also the rigid definitions around whom the Government deems to have been “close” to the deceased. And fair game to be lumbered with the cost. Howard Hodgson, an innovative funeral director, agrees, pointing out that the provisions have not been reviewed for 13 years. However, he goes on to criticise its’ dated assessment of the market.  He says that there is no need for the intervention of the competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority.

Low cost cremation plans – why are they now acceptable to some?

Hodgson says the report fails to recognise that the market has changed dramatically to meet increased demand for low cost direct cremation.  Hodgson says there are two main drivers for this change:

  1. Financial considerations: fewer people are willing or able to afford funeral from normal cash reserves. Funeral poverty affects a significant proportion of the population.  Unless, of course, they have taken our advice and invested in a prepaid funeral plan!
  2. Less religious concerns for many of the population.

Reacting to the Select Committee’s report, Howard Hodgson said;

At Memoria it has become evident to us that there is an increasing desire by a growing section of the general public for a low cost direct cremation service. We do not believe that this will totally replace the traditional funeral but we do have significant evidence that it is increasing its market share at an impressive rate, signifying a distinct cultural change in the way people are approaching funerals.

Therefore, we believe that there is not only a moral need to supply this legitimate demand, but that such provision can also reduce the cost of a funeral by around 70%.  This must be good news for both the less well off and the public purse.

Just to ignore this trend is not in the interest of either the funeral industry or the Government. Indeed, no costly Government intervention is necessary because the market has found a solution to the problem as it usually does in a free enterprise economy.

We are now seeing a groundbreaking change as the baby boomers start to end their days. This generation changed the fashion of life and now it is changing the fashion of death. This is good news for families who want to select low cost direct cremation and yet does not impact at all on those who don’t.” 

Low Cost Cremation – Good, Bad, Indifferent?

Stephen Pett of the Prepaid Funeral Review said “Any financial preparation for a funeral has to be good for those left behind.  Direct Cremation Plans are increasingly an acceptable form of planning, but only in the right family context.  Why not contact us for advice?”

Clueless Funeral Arrangers: How Not To Mess Up A Funeral

Clueless Funeral Arrangers

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Most family members or friends who end up with the job as funeral arrangers are clueless.  Not because they are daft or inexperienced (though they probably will be inexperienced!)  It will be because they don’t have a clue what the deceased actually wanted to happen.  Four in ten don’t even know if they wanted to be buried or cremated.   As to the type of ceremony (or none) or who should be invited – not the faintest idea.  That means they fall easy prey to less scrupulous target driven undertakers who guilt trip the funeral arranger into buying needlessly expensive coffins, flowers, memorials .  A £3,500 funeral fee could easily be doubled – and leave the family in needless debt. A few hundred pounds on a posher coffin, limos for the family, a coach and horses and that could add £2,000 to the bill in minutes.

Over one 20% of people funeral arrangers were totally clueless about the deceased persons wishes! Just one in a hundred were confident they knew exactly what the deceased wanted. That uncertainty leaves room for stress, worry, guilt and family arguments as to the rights and wrongs of every part of the arrangements.

The average funeral in early 2016 cost £3,897.  That was an increase rise of over £203 in a single year. Since Sun Life started tracking funeral prices in 2004 costs have more than doubled. (Except for those families who had invested in a sound prepaid funeral plan of course.)  On top of the basic cost of the funeral, the average cost of extras including flowers and the wake is very nearly another £2,000.

So what should you make sure that your family funeral arranger will know when the time comes?

1. What sort of funeral do you want?
What songs you would like played.   Whom you would like invited.   You may not care about a lot of things like coffins or flowers or donations.  But you may.  And one of the great advantages of prepaid funerals is that they give you the opportunity to consider what is important to you. At the same time you are reducing the burden on the final funeral arranger.  Even if you don’t care, a firm decision makes things easier for those left behind.  You can always update your wishes as the years go by and things change, but what you won’t know is when they will be needed, so advance planning is clearly rather important!   Whether you want a sound but economical funeral or a more elaborate one, make the choice early. And pay for it of you can.

2. Consider the cost.
Some of your decisions will have no bearing on cost, but if you want a large crowd and a horse-drawn hearse, they will be expensive. It’s worth talking to us about a the cost, so you can see how much your ideal funeral will cost. If this comes in as far more expensive than you had expected, then you can compromise. Or start off with a basic prepaid funeral plan and add to it later, rather than let the burden fall on your family.

3. How you will pay for it.
Insurance companies would have you take a stab in the dark and buy a fixed cash value policy, which may be worth half as much in 7 years and just a sixth of the value in 20 years.  Funeral cost inflation has been consistently high.  Not only that but with many policies you will lose
every penny if a couple of payments are missed.  And that is very likely to happen when you are older and finances are stretched.  Worse still you may end up paying in more than you get out.  Or with the “guarantee” that you will never pay out less than you have paid in. So in effect, you have lent them your money interest free for thirty years!

4. Talk to your family.
Once you have thought through your wishes, and what you can afford.   Then you can tell your family about your ideal funeral. It won’t always be an easy conversation, but it is an important one, and they will be the funeral organisers at the end of the day.  Good funeral plans are flexible though!

Funeral Plan Enquiry

Funeral arrangers – use our enquiry form to the right.

Planning your funeral  in advance

Planning your funeral.

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Planning a funeral can be hard when a loved one has died. Often you have nothing to show what they would have liked, just the conflicting views of family and friends. At a highly emotional time, that can be a recipe for disaster in even the happiest of families.

It has to be better to plan your own funeral.   Prepaying is a big part of that, but setting out more detailed wishes can pour oil on troubled waters. At the very least, it makes it easier for those arranging the funeral – if anyone disagrees, they have the perfect answer – you made it clear that was what you wanted.   End of argument!

Some of the decisions in planning your own funeral.

  • Which funeral plan?  

Many plans have hidden charges if you make changes, or there may be problems if the undertaker is taken over or goes out of business. Many firms make a substantial charge if you decide to move out of the immediate area of the original undertaker, perhaps to be near your children, or to find a decent care home.

  •  Burial or cremation?

Burial plots are rapidly running out in many areas, and often only reused ones are available.   It may not be possible to buy a burial plot where you wish to be at all. If it is possible, you will probably need to book and pay for it now, with just the other costs surrounding the actual burial process to be paid at the time.

In some areas, Natural Burial Grounds are becoming more widely available, and that is another alternative, as is burying your ashes rather than all of you.

Most people these days are cremated and have service at the crematorium rather than in a church or whatever your religious preference is. As long as your feelings are clear, of course. Some people want a memorial service in the church, before going on to the crematorium. This costs more as two undertakers or more will be working for longer, and the hearse will cover more miles too.

  • Coffins.

WIll you have a basic standard coffin or more expensive eco-friendly or wooden? Take a look at some of the more unusual ones.  Is it for burial or cremation?

  • Memorial

Is there to be a headstone or some other semi-permanent memorial? These are not included in normal funeral plans.

  • Music.

Do you want to leave the choice of music to others, or to arrange for your favourite pieces of music or hymns to be played as part of your Funeral Plan?  Which music means a lot to you?

  •  Newspaper notices.

Notices in local or sometimes national or trade newspaper are an important way to let people know about the funeral arrangements. Again, these are not including in standard funeral plans.

  • Transport.

Do you may want to decide, for example on:

– An alternative form of transport such as a horse drawn hearse or motorcycle hearse.

– Limousines for the funeral (most can carry six people). None? One, two or even more?

– Where the funeral procession will leave from and whether it will take a special route. That takes us back to where the service will be help.   Some people want to be taken past their favourite spots one last time.

  • Flowers

are not generally included in funeral plans, but you can include your choice of flowers, and just include an allowance for the cost. Some people don’t want flowers but:

  • Donations:

you can request that donations are made to a charity or other organisation.

  • Funeral Stationery,

You may want to choose a design, reading or wording for an order of service booklet for your funeral.

  • The Wake:

there is no reason why you can’t include an amount to cover the cost of the catering, venue and (if so inclined) drinks.

  • Summary

Planning your own funeral is a really thoughtful thing to do for those left behind,