Weston-super-Mare, Now Is The Place To Die!

When Nigel and I first started our business only 18 months ago, we did it with the mindset of changing the attitude within the funeral business; wanting to make sure that those in need of the services of a funeral director knew the standard of service they should expect and receive, with ourselves providing an extremely high standard of care, dignity and service without the extreme price tag.

Our overall aim was to shake up the funeral industry, make other funeral directors stand up, pay attention and work harder for the money they were charging, and/or reduce the cost of their funeral services.

We are thrilled to say that this week we have officially achieved our goal in re-shaping the attitudes of others within the business. At least two other funeral directors in Weston-super-Mare have obviously felt the pressure, and finally decided to slash the cost of their services by an average of 50%!

This is massive, not only for the town of Weston-super-Mare, who are now continuing to move further away from the fears of ‘Funeral Poverty’, but also for the industry as a whole.

All this said, a funeral service isn’t just about the money, and we still strongly recommend that when exploring your funeral options, you contact at least three different funeral directors to get to know them a little, and find out more about the services provided within each price you are quoted. Be fully aware of any service restrictions that you may be forced to abide by, for example, can ‘you’ chose a date and time for the funeral? ...do you have unrestricted access to visit your loved one in the chapel of rest, on a day and at a time that suits you?.... Are the quotes and services a true ‘Like for Like’?  

We are incredibly thankful to the other Funeral Homes for taking the plunge into now offering their funeral services at a fair cost and hope that their move will inspire other firms to reduce some of the unreasonably high cost that they are currently charging, or at least openly advertise their costs and give bereaved families a chance to make clearer, well informed decisions.

Claire x

1st Anniversary

Today we celebrate our first successful year in business.

We have achieved a fantastic year and the business has well exceeded all of our expectations.

We know that we could never have achieved this success without the support of our family and friends as well as the families we have helped throughout the year.

These families have placed enormous trust in us during their most difficult, painful and darkest times, and have allowed us the honour of helping them through a part of that time.

They have then shared their experience with others; telling those they know and talk to, that we have done well by them and the loved one that they have lost.

For this we are forever grateful!

As of yet, we do not have a company logo and so we have decided to mark our first anniversary by inviting all of our friends, family and supporters; as well as those families that we have helped, to help us in creating our logo.

We have had a tree drawn up, and we will have the fingerprints of those who have supported us within our community to form the leaves.

Once the tree is complete, the finished piece will be scanned and shrunk down to create the logo with the original taking pride of place on our family room wall.

We wanted a logo that symbolised strength in numbers, community, love and support, so this seemed like the perfect way to create it.

We’re really excited to see the progress and the finished piece!!

We both feel so very blessed and incredibly thankful for the year that we have had. 

We’ve had some pretty tough times along the way, but these times have been completely outdone by the gratitude we’ve received and the daily satisfaction that comes from truly helping, guiding and loving those in their darkest time.

We could never have achieved the success of our first year without the support and trust of others but we both know, most of all, we could never have succeeded without each other!

We both love what we do and have never felt fulfilled doing anything else… Here is where we’re meant to be!

Thank you for an amazing year and here’s to many more!

With Love 

Nigel and Claire

Guest Blog

Phil Griggs - Civil Celebrant

A couple of years ago I attended a couple of funerals, one for a family member and one for a close friend. One was in a church and the other was a humanist ceremony. Although both were excellent in their own way, I left feeling that I personally hadn’t been fully included. I was aware that if I felt that way then there must be many others who were experiencing corresponding feelings.

It happened that I attended a celebrant-led funeral of an ex-colleague in Surrey a few months later, and became aware that there are many ways that we can celebrate and remember the lives of those we love who have died, within a ceremony that is inclusive and relevant to all.

I have a had a long career in facilitation to diverse groups of people and was looking for a worthwhile and meaningful job that I could do whilst still having time during the week to experience the Somerset countryside and all that this lovely county has to offer. And so I began a comprehensive few months of distance learning that culminated in a residential training week with Civil Celebrants Ltd. I passed the examination and was awarded a diploma in Civil Celebrancy.
 
And so here I am a year or so later having led many funerals in our three local crematoriums, in private venues, chapels of rest and at the graveside. It has been a privilege to have talked and worked with grieving families.

I am self-employed and am engaged by and work with funeral directors on that basis whom I have found to be dedicated and caring professionals.

Celebrants offer a real alternative to a fully religious or humanist service, whilst still including all the elements of a traditional ceremony. Celebrants will help you create either a non-religious funeral, or one that incorporates religious or spiritual content from whatever religion or tradition that you choose - including prayers, psalms and, yes of course, music of your choice whether that be the Rolling Stones, J.S.Bach or your favourite hymns.
 

Louis Dennison - Funeral

Tuesday 5th July 2016 – 12.45pm, Weston Crematorium.

Owing to the number of people expected to attend the funeral of Louis and the large number of people unable to attend, the funeral will be live streamed on Facebook.

This will give those who have attended but we’re unable to access the chapel the opportunity to watch from your own device outside as well as allow those who couldn’t attend the service to be a part of the day.

Please ‘Like’ our Facebook page facebook.com/NigelGrovesFunerals/ to receive the notification ‘Nigel Groves Funeral Director is now Live at The Funeral of Louis Dennison’.

If anyone has any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to message us.

Best Regards

Nigel & Claire

The Somme

I’ve spent the last few days wracking my brain, trying desperately to write something poignant to commemorate the significance of today.

On this day in 1916, 19,240 British soldiers lost their lives in what was the first day of The Battle on The Somme.

19,240! At 19,960 that is almost the entire population of Worle who sacrificed their lives on only one day of this four-month battle!

Today’s comparison is that 454 British Forces Personnel and MOD Civilians have died in the last 14 years whilst serving in Afghanistan.

In my professional capacity I have been witness to some of the devastation caused by our fallen over the last 14 years, but my attempts at trying to imagine such devastation caused on only the first day of The Somme causes me to crumble completely!

There are no words to quantify the significance of the loss of today. So I resign myself to a simple ‘Thank you’.

Thank you to the men who gave their lives not only on this day but on any day that was fought for Britain and for us.

Thank you to the Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Wives, Sons and Daughters of these men. Your loss has bought our freedom.

Thank you to the children who never knew their fathers. Your fathers will forever be known as Hero’s.

On this day, we commemorate the lost lives of the British.

I’d like to also pay tribute to all life lost in war. Ally, enemy and all civilian. No one life has greater value than another. With each death there is pain and devastation.

Claire

Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme began on 1 July 1916. At 7.30a.m., on a 14-mile front running north of the River Somme in France, 60,000 British soldiers climbed out of their trenches and began to move across No Man’s Land. Within 1 hour, over half of these men were dead or wounded.

These soldiers thought that the German defences had been destroyed by the previous 8 days of British artillery bombardment. In fact, many of the shells had failed to explode and the German barbed wire, trenches, machine-guns and artillery were still waiting for them.

On the first day, 100,000 British soldiers joined the battle. By the end of the day, there were 58,000 casualties, including over 19,000 dead. It was the worst day in the history of the British Army and still remains the greatest loss in a single day for Britain.

The battle did, however, achieve its purpose. The French Army was being destroyed at Verdun, so the British attacked the Somme, forcing the Germans to divert resources and men from Verdun in its defence. The Somme tore the heart out of the German Army and, without this diversion, the French would have been defeated and the war lost.

The battle ended on 18 November 1916, because the rain turned the battlefield into an impassable sea of mud. The British and French had gained 12 kilometres of ground and suffered over 400,000 and 200,000 casualties respectively. The Germans sustained 500,000 casualties. Of the 15,000 soldiers of the DLI who had fought on the Somme, over half had been wounded, killed, or reported missing.

Burn Out or Fade Away

Cremation v Burial
With approx. 80% of deaths in the UK ending in cremation, it is clear that this is the more favoured option when it comes to the final earthly journey of our dearly departed.
 
Some do however find themselves stumbling over the decision between burial or cremation.
 
Generally, a struggle to make a decision is borne out of a lack of knowledge and information.
 
It is difficult to list the ‘pros and cons’0 of burial verses cremation as a ‘pro’ for one person may be a ‘con’ for another, so her is a list of important points to consider.
 
Burial
Burial is the final act of committal. The deceased is placed into their final resting place.
 
You are left with a specific place to visit – the comfort of knowing that they are there. A grave to tend and maintain. A head stone.
 
There is little restriction on what can be placed into the coffin with the deceased. E.g. – If they had always said they wanted to go with a favourite bottle of beer, this wish can be carried out.
 
Cost – In Weston-super-Mare, at present it costs £921.00* to purchase a burial plot and then £850.00* for the interment fee. There will also be a cost of £100* for the use of the chapel. The cost of a headstone will be from approx. £1000.00* and may require future maintenance.
 
Please note – I have been told by clients on many occasions that they had been told by funeral directors that they must have a solid wood coffin for a burial. This is not true! There are very few restrictions with regards to the vessel that can be used for burial.
 
Cremation
Cremation is not the final act of committal. Once the cremation has taken place, there are still remains (Ashes) to be taken care of. This will mean that although there has been a sense of finality on the day of the funeral, there may be a need to revisit.
 
Cremated remains can offer a sense of freedom with regards to committal options.
 
They can be scattered privately at a favourite place, scattered at the crematorium in their garden of rest, buried in a grave with a memorial stone, scattered at sea, made into jewellery or contained within a pendant, put into fireworks, kept at home or I have placed cremated remains into the coffin of a spouse for a joint burial.
 
There is an unlimited amount of time that can be taken to decide how best to depose of cremated remains.
 
As with burial, you can choose to bury the cremated remains which allows there to be a grave which can bring you the comfort of knowing that they are there, and will give you somewhere to visit.
 
Cremated remains can be divided which can allow for numerous choices.
 
There are restrictions of what can be placed with the deceased into a cremation coffin. No glass or ceramic is permitted, no plastics, nothing that contains a battery, only natural fibres.
 
Cost – In Weston-super-Mare at present it will cost £872.00* for a cremation service. This includes the use of the chapel. The cost to purchase a grave within the cemetery for the ashes to be buried is approx. £1200.00*.
 
For some in-depth information about cremation, please see out blog ‘Behind The Curtain’. Follow the link below –
 
http://www.nigelgrovesfunerals.com/new-blog/2016/1/19/behind-the-curtain
 
*Costs correct as of June 2016

Funeral Price Freeze

Each year many Funeral Directors and Funeral Service providers will take the decision to increase the cost of their services. 

While we all have a right to make a living and with a few of us even lucky enough to receive a pay rise that matches the annual inflation and cost of living, the amount that many Funeral Service providers choose to annually increase their costs by can be as much as 8%.

We have chosen not to increase our cost, but instead to re-asses our pricing structure.

This has broadened the service that we are able to provide whilst making sure that the charges made are appropriate for the service we are providing.

We have also simplified our pricing structure by creating three different packages which have each been developed to suit many, however there will always remain a fourth ‘Bespoke’ option.

We can now offer a service from as little as £749.00 (£1453.00 inclusive of external charges).

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Throughout the month of April, our charity window will be proudly hosting
The Ian Ritchie Foundation in support of Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited condition caused by a faulty gene, is a life-shortening and complex disease, for which there is no cure. Secretory glands are responsible for producing the body’s mucus and sweat, but in a CF sufferer, these glands are unable to function correctly. Instead of producing the slippery and watery mucus required to line and moisten the body’s organs, thus avoiding them drying out or becoming infected; these glands, as a result of CF, produce thick and sticky mucus. This thick and sticky mucus then builds up in and around the organs, clogging the lungs in particular, encouraging the growth of bacteria and causing chronic respiratory tract infections, as well as repeated lung infections and obstruction of the airways, progressively limiting the ability to breathe.


The thick and sticky CF mucus also sits heavily in the ducts of the pancreas, preventing digestive enzymes from travelling to the small intestine, where the body would ordinarily absorb its vital nutrients from. These enzymes, for a CF sufferer, must instead be taken orally in the form of capsules, with all foods and drinks consumed, providing some support for their digestive system. As a result of these digestion difficulties, CF commonly causes vitamin deficiency and malnutrition, leading to bone related conditions such as Osteopenia (decreased protein and mineral content in bone tissue) and Osteoporosis (brittle and fragile bones); as well as commonly causing the severe pain and discomfort of excessive intestinal acid reflux and bowel obstructions.
CF causes very salty and increased levels of sweat, and is also usually accompanied by many other debilitating and life-limiting symptoms, including the development of CF-related diabetes, infertility in CF males, tiredness and regular headaches, as well as adrenal insufficiency.


Management of CF involves a life-long and increasingly aggressive combination of oral, nebulised and intravenous antibiotic treatment for chronic and increasing infections, which throughout the life of a CF sufferer, cause extensive and permanent damage to the lungs; until eventually, and inevitably, a lung transplant is required. Regular physiotherapy helps to loosen and clear the mucus build-up, for which exercise is also encouraged, where the body will allow. Currently, each week in the UK, 5 babies are born with CF. In the 1980’s, most CF sufferers failed to reach adulthood; but improvement in care and treatments continues to increase the life-expectancy of people with this condition, which sadly still remains at around just 35 years old.
 
About Us
 
The Ian Ritchie Foundation was formed in 2015 by Ian’s closest family and friends, following his life-long and difficult battle against CF, which he sadly lost at the age of just 25. We work on Ian’s behalf to continue helping families in the CF fight that we didn’t win; whilst also keeping his beautiful memory alive.
 
We are a registered charity (1165534) based in Weston-super-Mare; set up to support, promote and protect the wellbeing of those suffering with Cystic Fibrosis, and their families, across the Southwest of England. We achieve this through the provision of financial assistance, medical equipment, practical support and advice, as well as raising public awareness in all areas relating to Cystic Fibrosis.
 

Ian’s Story
 
Ian Ritchie was a determined and inspirational young man, born with Cystic Fibrosis. He lived in Weston-super-Mare and attended local schools; first St. Marks Primary, and in later years, Priory. He fought a life-long battle against the condition, until at just 25 years old, his aggressive treatment was no longer effective, and with his body not responding to medicine, Ian underwent his last hope of a better quality of life; a double lung transplant.
The transplant journey for Ian and his family was a painfully difficult one, and sadly, following 5 months in Critical Care, doctors concluded he could not be saved. Fulfilling Ian’s final wish, his devastated family arranged for Ian to be returned home, so he could spend his remaining hours in the place he was most comfortable, surrounded by those who loved him dearly. Ian lost his fight in the ambulance, with his mum by his side, 40 minutes from reaching home.

The Work that we do

We recently purchased a £2000 portable spirometer (lung function machine) for the CF team at Bristol Royal Infirmary. This allows lung function tests to be carried out in CF patients’ homes; something which could not previously be done, helping to relieve not only some of the discomfort of hospital visits for CF patients, but also some of the financial strain that regular trips to and from hospital can impose.
We are also very pleased to have purchased exercise bikes for the physiotherapy team caring for Cystic Fibrosis patients at Bristol Royal Infirmary. Physio and exercise both play a primary role in the management of CF, but the risk of spreading life-threatening CF-related infections when in hospital, often means those with the condition cannot interact with one another, leaving them confined to their hospital rooms, with exercise opportunities somewhat limited. The bikes we have purchased can be moved between their rooms; improving access to in-hospital exercise equipment, whilst reducing the infection spreading risks.

Events

We host a variety of local community events, which help us not only to raise the funds required for meeting our objectives, but also to meet with CF patients and their families, making them aware of our work, and to raise awareness amongst the general public of the devastating effects of living with CF; as a patient, as a parent, and as a close relative or friend of a child or young adult with the life-limiting condition. So far, with our hard work and commitment to helping Cystic Fibrosis families, along with the overwhelming support of the general public, we have managed to raise in excess of £15,000.

A huge supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, one of Ian’s greatest loves was football. As a boy, despite his gruelling and relentless daily regime of Cystic Fibrosis treatments, he loved to play the game his heart belonged to.

The journey from our home town of Weston-super-Mare to Wolverhampton’s Molineux Stadium is 135 miles long, and was one Ian made regularly with his Dad, to watch their mighty Wolves play.

In Ian’s loving memory, to raise funds for The Ian Ritchie Foundation, Ian’s sister and his 14-year-old nephew cycled all 135 miles of this very journey, from Weston’s Grand Pier to the football ground Ian held so very close to his heart. Priory School head teacher Neville Coles also supported, riding part of the way alongside them.
 
Wolverhampton Wanderers FC kindly donated match tickets for this fundraising event, allowing Jen and James to watch Wolves take on Blackburn at the finish line.
Here you can see some of the highs and lows of their difficult but determined ride, which saw them set off on April 7th and reach Molineux 2 and a half days later. A more painful challenge than they ever imagined, but Ian taught everyone who loved him just how important it is to fight on until the end; and that’s exactly what they did.

Thanks to so many generous sponsors, Jen and James have so far raised over £1,500 for their cycle ride, with donations still coming in! THANK YOU!

The Ian Ritchie Foundation

Visit our website

www.theianritchiefoundation.org

Three Simple Steps to Choosing a Funeral Director

Choosing a funeral director can seem like a daunting task, but with this simple advice and questioning, you may be in a position to fully understand any funeral director’s methods and practices within a very short space of time which will then enable you to make an informed decision.

1.       Cost
Cost is an ever increasing issue within the funeral service.
It is important to remember that you do have the time to ‘shop around’.
Obtain at least 3 estimates from three different funeral directors. Just within one town, each of the funeral director’s costs can fluctuate by as much as £3000.
 
When gathering estimates, it is a good idea to use the opportunity to visit the funeral home. This will mean that you can request a written estimate as well as their ‘Price Card’. This is the list of all the services for which they make a charge. An estimate can often be misleading as some funeral directors will make additional charges for some of their services E.g. – Collection/delivery of cremated remains, administration of charitable donations. I have even seen additional changes made for coffin handles and pillows. These charges can be added on later, leaving you with a final invoice that far resembles the initial estimate.
 
2.       Visit the funeral home and meet the funeral director
By visiting the funeral home and asking some specific questions you can very quickly get a clear picture of how you and your deceased loved one will be cared for.
 
On being greeted onto the premises, ask the member of staff who they are and what their role is.
If they are not the funeral director, then ask where the funeral director is.
 
The reason for these questions is that some funeral companies operate multiple funeral homes. This type of operation is not specific to the corporate companies either. Some ‘Family Run, Independent’ funeral directors will also operate in this way.
This technically isn’t an issue. The issue is the way in which they use their staff.
There may be only one funeral director for two or three funeral homes, with a funeral service arranger at each of the funeral homes. They will ensure the running of the funeral home and make the funeral arrangements. This person can often too be a Funeral Operative; the person employed to look after the vehicles and bear the coffin on the day of the funeral. This member of staff will often have no funeral arrangement experience but is simply being used to keep the funeral home open.
 
My recommendation here is to be looking for a funeral director who values the care and service that they are providing enough, to be making all the arrangements themselves – I.e., The person who brings the deceased person into their care from the place of death, should ideally be the funeral director, the person who sits with the grieving family to make arrangements and then actions the arrangements and choices, should be the funeral director and the person who is there on the day, taking control of the arrangements that they have made and guiding the family and all in attendance though the service should be the funeral director.
 
The funeral profession should not be the place for nameless faces and faceless names. People who are suffering at their worst deserve continuity in personal care and attention.
 
Whilst still visiting the funeral home, ask to be shown around the premises.
Ask to be shown the place or the facility where the deceased rest. Now, I’m not saying that you have to go and see it. It is in fact the response that you get which will be enlightening.
 
If you are refused, ask for what reason.
You may be told one of the following –
·         It’s staff only – No public are permitted in there
·         The facilities are not on these premises
If you are told the first, then you should be asking yourself what they are trying to hide (other than resting deceased). It is usually possible for anyone to see the facilities without the deceased being exposed as they are often kept in a separate area.
 
If you are told the latter then it is for you to decide whether or not this is acceptable, but ask yourself if you believe they would have told you had you not asked?
 
As I have said, if you are granted permission then you don’t actually need to see the facilities. Being given the opportunity is enough to know that the funeral director is open and honest with nothing to hide.
If you do choose to view the facilities, expect to have to wait 10-15 minutes or even to have to come back by appointment. A funeral director’s first concern should always be that of the respect and dignity of the deceased in their care and it is important that they are given some time to uphold this.
 
3.       Telephone the funeral director ‘out of hours’
Once again this can be quite insightful as to how you and your family will be taken care of.
 
Funeral Directors operate a 24/7 business. This is owing to the fact that death can occur at any time so we need to be available not only to attend to a deceased person but also to a grieving family.
 
Some funeral homes are owned by corporate companies with the two main ones being Dignity and The Co-operative Funeral Care. It can be difficult to distinguish which of the funeral homes are owned by these companies so if you’d like to find out which is which you can do so by calling them between 5pm and 9am.
The corporate companies use a call centre to take their calls outside of office hours.
You can differentiate further between the two corporate companies. If you ask to be put through to the ‘Duty Funeral Director’ Dignity will put you though, the Co-op will have them call you back as they don’t operate this facility.
The ‘Duty Funeral Director’ is the funeral director who is responsible for several funeral homes during the out of hours’ period. If you’re funeral director or funeral arranger is not the ‘Duty Funeral Director’ at that time, you will not be able to make contact with them until the office is open.
The call centres used by the corporate companies are a wonderful thing for the staff who work for them.
 
An independent or family funeral director will have their phones answered by a member of staff.
Once again though, this may not always be the funeral director and can often be the funeral arranger or the funeral operative; people who can’t always answer your queries.
 
My advice again is to look for some continuity in the people you are dealing with and the level of care and service you’re expecting to receive.
 
I completely understand that to many who are grieving, carrying out this advice can seem like a lot, as well as being quite daunting. For this reason, I suggest either doing these things before you are in need of the services of a funeral director or ask a close friend or relative to do this on your behalf.
Each funeral director will operate differently depending on the size of the company, the management and the ownership. Please, take some time to make sure you are happy with the way in which your chosen funeral director operates. It really can make all the difference to the level of service that you’ll receive as well as the cost that you pay for that service.
 
Be Blessed x

Just a shell…??!

Can we please stop referring to the bodies of our dead as ‘Just a Shell’?

The very first thing that drew me to the funeral profession was the idea of working with the deceased… the body… the dead…
I wanted to be an embalmer. I wanted to care for the dead as though they were living; treating them as though they were ‘there’; with the same level of respect and dignity; merely doing for them, that which they were now unable to do for themselves.
 
I didn’t ever go on to be an embalmer, however, part of my decision in this was the realisation that the embalming process is rarely necessary and that I was able to deliver this level of care without actually carrying out the invasive procedure of embalming.
 
I am proud to say that I am just as passionate about the care of the deceased as I was 12 years ago and still treat each as though they were actually in the room.
 
For this reason, (and not this alone) I’ve never believed the phrase ‘It’s just a shell.’
 
The times I’ve heard people say ‘it’s just a shell’ are usually during moments of guilt, justification or to belittle one’s own responses to the deceased.
 
The widow in the chapel of rest visiting her husband, feeling teary and overwhelmed having just spent 20 minutes talking to him. ‘Oh, I’m so silly. I know he’s not there. It’s just a shell.’
 
I’ve had previous members of staff quote this to me upon my expression of dissatisfaction at their conduct whilst in the mortuary. ‘Come on, it’s just a shell’.
 
But it’s not, is it?
 
This human body is a miracle. From conception to birth; from life to death.
This body grew and has thrived, was held and held others, survived! Loved, reproduced, picked up tired little legs and kissed better grazed knees, nursed elderly parents, carried the coffins of deceased parents. This human body was a physical, tactile entity.
 
When someone’s gone, it’s not their soul or spirit that you miss. It’s nuzzling into their neck, holding tightly to their hand… The hugs, the kisses. Having them be there.
When you’ve not seen someone you love in a while, although we are usually able to stay in touch on the phone or via facetime/skype, we still miss them and when we do finally see them in the flesh, our instinctive response is to embrace. To physically touch one another. To kiss and to hug. To love and express joy. All this and you only spoke on the phone an hour ago??
 
How would you greet your deceased if they were able to come back? In just this way, were it not for the fact that ‘it’s just a shell’.
 
To call a body ‘just a shell’ cheapens any physical presence that person had.
That physical body will be so missed. Actually leaving behind a physical space; a void where it once stood. No ‘shell’ or hollow entity could ever accomplish that.
 
On some level, society too doesn’t believe it. If we truly believed that the body were only a shell, would we be paying our dead so much reverence and respect.
 
So, if you ever catch yourself thinking it, stop for a moment. Remember the true value of that ‘shell’ and ask yourself if you really believe the description you are using.
 
You don’t love them any less now that their time here is up.
 
Blessings
Claire x

Meet us Here...

Just as we allow our own families the privilege of an open door into our lives, so too is the door always open for anyone who is in need of our help.
 
Nigel and Claire Groves are a husband and wife team who between them have achieved over 20 years of experience within the funeral service.

Having both spent the last decade working within the management structure of a corporate funeral service provider, and feeling the pressure of the increasingly high cost that the company were pioneering through the sector, they decided it was time they returned to their roots of providing a high standard, dignified and caring service to the local community while doing their utmost to raise awareness of rising funeral cost and keep their own costs as low as possible.

‘As head of a family run, truly local independent funeral director, I no longer have to abide by corporate pressure to increase profits, while cutting costs, and all to the detriment of the families being served. We do not answer to the corporate shareholders; we answer only to you. We know that our success will come from serving you well, building relationships of trust so you will return to us in the future. Our attention is firmly focused on the needs of our friends and neighbours within our community.

I am proud that you can take comfort from knowing that the name over the door is exactly who you will have at your side every step of the way. We are not managed or run by staff assigned from outside of our community. We have a long term commitment to our community. This is where we work, where we live, where our children go to school. When you need us, we will be here for you.’ Nigel

‘I am passionate about providing an exceptional service to those in exceptional circumstances and felt that I was not personally providing this whilst working beneath the restraints of a large corporate company. Being a part of a family owned business gives me the time and freedom to focus more fully on ensuring our clients are met with clarity and equality. The world of death is largely unknown by the majority of us and I am only too happy to share my knowledge and advice. I want to de-shroud the funeral business by giving people all the advice and information needed to make fully informed decisions. I am eager to promote a sense of ease and equality, as I encounter people in my line of work.  We are all individual, however, we all share three fundamental elements in life; We’re born, we live and we die. We all face the same fate and it is during that time that no one should be set apart.’

Claire

Nigel was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and grew up in Birmingham. After spending time travelling, he returned to the UK to find his parents in Brixham, Devon. Here he settled for some 20 years.
Claire, having been born and bred in Weston-super-Mare is a bit more of a home bird who has travelled somewhat, but has always come back home to Weston.
 
Between us we have four children. Maddie is 18, Lillie is 14, George is 8 and Charlie is 4 and with plans to expand our family further, it’s looking as though things won’t be getting any quieter any time soon.
 
Being a funeral director is more than a vocation, it’s a way of life. Being available to serve 24/7 can only mean that our way of life must accommodate those who we serve. Just as we allow our own families the privilege of an open door into our lives, so too is the door always open for anyone who is in need of our help.

How Much Does a Funeral Cost? Here, Let Me Tell You…

The cost of a funeral is fast becoming a more important factor to bereaved families as prices continue to rise at an exasperating rate.
The actual cost aside, the way in which the cost is calculated is not as simple as advertising funeral directors would have you believe.
 
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*******PLEASE BE AWARE THAT EVEN WITHIN ONE TOWN, THE DIFFERENCE IN COST FROM ONE FUNERAL DIRECTOR TO THE NEXT WILL FLUCTUATE MASSIVELY********
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NIGEL GROVES FUNERAL DIRECTOR CHARGES
 
Our Professional Service -£900.00
Our staff, premises, facilities, service and expertise will be available to you whenever you require, 24 hours a day. We will make all of the necessary arrangements on your behalf and to your specification. We will prepare, collect and distribute all the documentation and pay on your behalf all external payments necessary to allow the funeral to legally proceed at your chosen setting. We will remain available for any aftercare, advice, guidance or additional services as required.
 
Care of The Person Who Has Died - £150.00
We will bring the person who has died into our care at the soonest available instance. The person who has died will be treated with the utmost care, respect and dignity throughout and will rest within a specific area set aside within our funeral home to ensure and appropriate environment at all times.
We will wash, prepare and dress the person who has died in accordance with your wishes. We will dress them in their own clothes if provided or you may choose for us to provide something suitable. We will follow any instructions given regarding presentation including your wishes on hairstyles or makeup where appropriate. We will also take great care of any personal effects. You are very welcome at the funeral home to visit the person who has died. We ask that you make an appointment for a day or time to suit you.
 
Our Hearse - £200.00
We will provide our own traditional chauffeur driven hearse to convey the person who has died in accordance with your wishes. We will discuss with you any specific requirements regarding the procession route for the cortege. Alternative styles of hearse are available on request. Please ask for details.
 
Our Limousine - (each)£140.00
We can provide our own chauffeur driven limousines to convey the family and main mourners with dignity and safety. We will discuss with you any specific requirements regarding the cortege or the route and you may choose to follow the hearse in procession if you wish. During the funeral the limousine will wait for you and return you to a local destination of your choice.
 
The Coffin of Your Choice - From £400.00
The Cremated Remains Casket or Container of Your Choice - From £30.00
We have a range of traditional coffins and caskets for you to choose from. We will explain the options available to you and guide you through our range as well as a variety of alternative coffin types including picture coffins, willow and bamboo woven coffins and other materials.
 
Embalming - £120.00
We will ensure every available care is taken to delay the natural processes that occur after death. You will be advised on this and your consent is required.
 
Reception into Home or Church Prior to the day of the Funeral - £100.00
We will bring the coffin into your home or church to rest prior to the funeral in order that you may pay your respects and spend time with the person who has died in a way of your choosing.
 
Saturday/Sunday/Bank Holiday Funeral Surcharge -£170.00
Unfortunately, our local crematoria and cemetery do not accommodate a funeral service at the weekend. However, should you wish to have a funeral service in a church or private chapel at the weekend with a separate committal service during the week, this can be arranged for you.
 
Additional Mileage - POA
 
Home Visit to Make Funeral Arrangements - No Additional Charge
24 Hour Visitation to Our Chapel of Rest - No Additional Charge
Collection of The Cremated Remains - No Additional Charge
Delivery of Cremated Remains to Your Home - No Additional Charge
(Excluding Courier Service)
Short Term Care of Cremated Remains - No Additional Charge
(Maximum of Six Months)
Long Term Care of Cremated Remains - No Additional Charge
Horse Drawn/Motorcycle & Alternative Hearses - From £700.00
Administration of Charitable Donations - No Additional Charge
 
The Simple Funeral Option - £999.00Plus External Cost
Our Simple Funeral provides a dignified yet limited service. It does not give our client access to our full range of services however it still offers the same high standard of care and respect to the person who has died as well as their family.
 
This Simple Funeral Includes:

  • Bringing the person who has died into our care.
  • Care of the deceased person.
  • Making all the necessary funeral arrangements and administering all documentation.
  • Providing a traditional hearse and the necessary staff to convey the person who has died directly from our chapel of rest to the crematorium or cemetery.
  • Provision of a basic coffin. (No option to choose from our full range)
  • There will be a limited choice regarding the date and time of the funeral service.
  • 24 hour visitation to our chapel of rest (By appointment)

 
The Simple Funeral Does Not Include:

  • Limousines are not available and mourners will need to make their own way to the crematorium or cemetery.
  • There is no choice of coffin, only the Simple Coffin provided for the Simple Funeral.
  • There is a limited choice in date and time of the funeral. Typically, this means that a service at the cemetery or crematorium will take place before 10.30am and after 3.00pm Tuesday to Thursday.
  • We will not be able to collect or store the cremated remains for you.
  • We are not able to arrange the placing of newspaper notices for you.
  • Our range of additional services including floral tributes, service stationary and catering are not available.

 
We cannot pay on your behalf the ‘External Payments’. The funeral account is due at the point of
arrangement. The funeral will not be booked with the crematorium or cemetery until we are in
receipt of the ‘External Payments’ with the remainder of the account due no later than 48 hours
prior to the day of the funeral.
 

Coffin Range

The Dudley/The Whitby - £400.00

An Oak/Elm foil veneered coffin with flat lid and Hereford brass effect    handles. The interior is lined and trimmed in a white taffeta frill and pillow.

The York/The Durham - £595.00

A real Oak/Sapele veneered coffin with a flat lid and Kingston brass effect handles. The interior is lined and trimmed with a white taffeta frill and pillow.

The Oxford/The Berkeley - £850.00

A solid Oak/Mahogany (stained) coffin, suitable for burial, with a raised lid and Hereford brass handles. The interior is lined and trimmed with a white satin frill and pillow.

The Simple Willow - £795.00

A simple woven willow coffin with rope handles and a wooden name plate. The interior is lined and trimmed in natural cotton.

The Somerset Willow - £950.00

Made local by Somerset Willow, this is a handmade and superior quality Willow Coffin which offers a choice of coloured bands and handles. It comes with an engraved wooden nameplate. The interior is lined and trimmed in natural cotton.

We can supply an extensive range of coffins, so please ask. Price’s on application.

Third Party Costs

Weston Crematorium Fee – 9am appointment - £540.00
Weston Crematorium Standard Fee - £872.00

Sedgemoor Crematorium (Bridgwater) – 9am & 9.30am appointment - £535.00
Sedgemoor Crematorium Standard Fee - £675.00
 
Ebdon Road Cemetery (Weston Crematorium)
Grave Purchase from - £921.00
Interment fee for Burial from - £829.00
 
Church of England Ministers Fee (Plus Mileage) - £178.00
 
Church of England Church Fees (Approx. as differs)

  • To attend Cemetery/Crematorium Immediately after Church Service - £  25.00
  • Verger - £  30.00
  • Organist - £  50.00
  • Heating (October – April) - £  30.00
  • Celebrant/Officiant (Usually follow C of E Fees as Guidance) - £175.00
  • Doctors fee for Cremation Certificate - 2 @ £82.00 - £164.00

Floral Tribute – Eg – 3” Coffin Spray – from - £  70.00
Newspaper Notice – Eg – Weston Mercury – from - £  40.00
Telegraph – from - £250.00
Order of Service – Eg – Best quality – 30 Copies – from - £  50.00

External/Third Party Payments

These are the payments that we make on your behalf to external suppliers such as, the crematorium, cemetery, ministers and florist. We may ask that these charges are paid prior to the funeral taking place.

Payment Policy

We will accept payment for the funeral in full or in part at any time during the arrangement period prior to the funeral taking place, or if you choose to wait, you will receive an invoice within 7 days of the funeral, which is then due for settlement. Any part payments made in advance will be shown on this final invoice.  We accept payments by cash, cheque or credit/debit cards.

 

Funeral Costs Explained

A funeral cost/invoice is built upon two fundamental elements.
 
1. The Funeral Directors Cost.
This is the cost that the funeral director has chosen to charge for the services provided to you. This is where the profit is made.
 
This section should include some of the following –
 
·         Professional Fees
Staff, Premises and facilities, service, advice, expertise all available to the client.
Making the arrangements/putting arrangements into place. Preparation and distribution of the documentation required. Liaising with third party service providers and forwarding payment for these services.
 
·         Care of The Person Who Has Died
To bring the deceased person into the care of the funeral director, (the funeral director should offer a 24-hour service for this) and to take care of the deceased person up until the day of the funeral.
 
·         Provision of The Hearse and any Limousines required.
 
·         The Coffin of Choice

·         The Cremated Remains Casket of Choice
 
These are the main services that fall under this section. A funeral director may make additional charges for other things such as –
 
·         Additional Mileage
·         Home visit to make arrangement’s
·         Chapel of Rest Visits
·         Collection and Holding of Cremated Remains
·         Administration of Charitable Donations
·         Further delivery of floral tributes after the funeral Eg – Placed on a grave, taken to the hospice, delivered to a family member who could not attend.
·         Attendance of the funeral director for interment of cremated remains
 
 
2. The External/Third Party Cost (Often Called The ‘Disbursement’s’)
 
This is the cost for the third party services. The costs that you are charged by the funeral director should be the cost that the funeral director has been charged by the service provider. A funeral director will often ask for these costs to be paid upfront (before the funeral). This is owing to the fact that they often need to be paid to the third parties prior to the funeral but mainly because to the funeral director these are ‘out of pocket expenses’.
The funeral director has no control over these costs although he should be offering guidance on which services are necessary and how best to manage the cost.
 
The external cost can consist of the following –
 
·         The Crematorium Fee
·         Burial Fees
·         Drs Fee for Cremation
When a person dies, there is a Cause of Death Certificate’ issued by the doctor (where applicable). This is the certificate that is required to register the death and doesn’t cost anything to obtain. At the registry office, you’ll be issues with one Death Certificate. If you require additional copies they presently cost £4 each at the time of registration and £7 each thereafter.
The doctors’ fees for cremation is for a different certificate. To allow for the cremation the doctor who issues the death certificate must complete a cremation certificate. It is here that the doctor will document the circumstances surrounding the death and record a cause of death. The doctor will also carry out an external examination of the deceased person. Then, a second doctor from a different practice and who has never treated the deceased person while alive, will confirm the first doctors cause of death, speak to family/care providers and carry out an external examination. Each of these doctors will make a charge for this certificate.
 
I know that this is a lot of information for this one title, but it is important information.  I’ve faced many instances where a funeral director has not explained the certification to a client. This has often left the client concerned as to why they appear to be paying for two death certificates.
 

Minister/Vicar/Celebrant/Officiant Fee
The cost to have someone lead and deliver the funeral service.

  • Church Fees
  • Floral Tributes
  • Service Stationary/Orders of Service
  • Newspaper Notices
  • Reception/Wake

 
Funeral Cost Advertising
 
We advertise that we provide a simple, yet dignified funeral without detriment to the standard of service and care at the cost of £999.00.
This cost, the cost that the funeral director advertises is the cost only for the funeral director’s services and does not include the third party cost.
 
The reason for advertising in this way is that no matter which funeral director you use. the external cost will still be the same. The funeral director has no control over these cost. The client on the other hand does.
If we were to advertise our funeral cost to include the external cost, we’d be making some assumptions over a client’s choice of burial or cremation, as to which cemetery or crematorium they’d like to use, as well as the time of the service.
Eg – To take the 9am appointment at Weston Crematorium it will cost £332 less than any other time. You don’t have to use Weston Crematorium. There are three crematoria in Bristol, one just this side of Bridgwater and one in Taunton – All within reasonable traveling distance.
Church of England fee for a vicar is £178. A Humanist can cost as much as £250, where as a Methodist or Baptist vicar might charge only £100. The family may opt to deliver the service themselves which wouldn’t cost anything.

If the coroner is involved in ascertaining the cause of death, there are no doctors to pay.
There are too many differing factors as well as client choice to be able to advertise full cost in one small advert.
 
Some funeral directors can be misleading when they advertise that their costs start from £****
 
We advertise that our funeral service start from £999. To date, 45% of our clients have chosen the Simple Funeral Option and have paid £999 for our services. This proves that we’ve no hidden costs and that the Simple Funeral Option provides a dignified funeral with a high standard of care and service.
Some funeral directors will advertise a cost, but that cost will not cover all that is required to carry out the funeral.
Some things that may not be included –
 
·         Staffing. Namely bearers to carry the coffin
·         Chapel Visits
·         Home visits
·         24-hour care of the deceased – Bringing the deceased into the care of the funeral director out of hours
·         Administration of Charitable Donations
·         Additional mileage
·         Disposal of Clinical Waste
·         Additional cost of an outsized coffin (Although in some instances this cost is reasonable)
·         Coffin furniture (Handles, Nameplate, interior lining and shroud.)
·         Listing of mourners or floral tributes
·         Further Delivery of Floral Tributes
·         To collect and hold the cremated remains
 
Having these additional cost will gradually move the funeral cost further away from that which is advertised.
 
Few funeral directors will put their price lists out in the public domain. This is again, because there are likely to be hidden costs, because they are charging extortionate amounts for their service or because they don’t want their competitors knowing what their charges are. Keeping the cost secret does not stop competitors undercutting, it just makes things even harder for bereaved people who are trying to gather information.
 
The business of funeral service provision is very cloudy. There needs to be more transparency in this caring industry. While I understand that some people don’t want to know and like it that way, it is the responsibility of many funeral directors that the service has remained so obscure. There are many who would prefer their practices are kept hidden, some who are worried that people will realise that they don’t need to hire the services of a funeral director, there are some who assume that their clients don’t need to know/don’t want to know and then there are some who don’t actually know themselves – don’t have the expertise or experience.
 
We are passionate about our role in the community, the people we take care of and the standard at which we do this. I am proud of the industry within which I work and I’m proud of the knowledge and experience that I have and I don’t want to hide it away. Our knowledge, advice and expertise is something that EVERYONE should hear. On average, each of us will be responsible for arranging two funerals in our lifetime. It’s inevitable, and with funeral directors keeping their knowledge hidden well beneath their top hats, it is vital that our message is spread and that people know that we’re the funeral directors that will tell!
 
If you have any question or concerns regarding funeral cost, please do not hesitate to phone us on our 24-hour telephone number–01934 525042, alternatively, you email us at Directors@NigelGrovesFunerals.com or you are very welcome to pop into the office for a cup of tea and a chat.
 
Blessings +
 
Claire

A Mother Without a Child

The first mother’s day after my divorce, my sons father had done nothing to help his children in celebrating this day. They had made cards with our childminder that they quickly thrust upon me at some ungodly hour of the morning, and no sooner had I opened them, my eldest, George, through teary eyes said ‘but it’s not enough Mummy’.
 
Both me and 5-year-old George learned a valuable lesson that day as my immediate and instinctive response was ‘YOU are enough’.
 
Now, I’m not about to pretend that I’m one of those Mothers who would claim that when my children are with me ‘every day is Mother’s Day’ because it isn’t. There are days when they drive me to scream into my pillow, but then, when it comes to those moments when little Charlie wanders over completely unprovoked, puts his head on my knee and says to me ‘you’re beautiful Mummy’, THAT is enough.
 
I’d give up each and every one of my Mother’s Days, if it would somehow prevent one single mother without a child the torture and gut wrenching pain they feel on that day.
This is a mother who, should her child in hindsight be with her, would know the true feeling of
‘YOU are enough’.
 
A mother who has the battle scars of pregnancy; the stretch marks, marks with which she shares a sort of love/hate relationship. They’re proof of a life, proof of having born a child, proof of motherhood, proof of what has been lost, of who has been lost. Were they for nothing…?
 
Mother’s Day will have these mothers on high alert. As much as a new mother relishes her first ever Mother’s Day, in eager anticipation as though she were not a real Mother until the actual day to celebrate it arrives to acknowledge it; this mother hides from the Mother’s Day she never had. Feeling the opposite, a fraud and unworthy of the title only to file it away with the significant dates of birthdays, anniversaries, and the ‘death day’.
 
Mother’s Day can place a lot of onus on the people who no longer have a mother, and while it is important to use dates such as this as a significant memorial to our lost parents, it’s important to remember the flip side.
 
Please, if you know A Mother Without a Child, don’t ignore the fact that her child is no longer with her. Love her intently this week. Ask her if she’d like to talk about her child, to share photos, videos and memories. Ask her what you can do to make this week a little more bearable.
Because while you won’t be enough for her this mother’s day, helping her to bring that life alive again for that one day might just be enough to get her through it.
 
Please, don’t place too much importance on all the cards, flowers and chocolates. Squeeze your little ones tight and thank God that THEY are enough on Mother’s Day.
 
Blessings
Claire x

Charity Window

We are now offering local charities the opportunity of using our large window to display and promate themselves here in Worle High Street.
 
We are aware of the level of exposure that our window gets. This is owing not only to the fact that we are based on a busy hiigh street but also to the fact that we have granted permisiion to the local takaways to allow their patrons to park on our forecourt.
 
Although we try to make the most of our frontage with our décor changing with each of the season, we’d like to share the the window with others as we fell this it is a way to bless the local community.
 
This month we have a charity called Age2Age using the window to promote their In2Biking cause.

In2Biking are a charity that meets at Worle Community School to give disabled people the opportunity of riding a bicycle.
Ran by husband and wife team Martin and Lin, they build and supply addapted pushbikes to suit many who are physically disabled and unable to use a standard pushbike.
 
For more information on this charity, please visit the website www.age2age.org.
 
If you are involved in a local charity or good cause (eg are fund raising) and would like to book your slot to appear in our window, please call us on 01934 525042 or email us on directors@nigelgrovesfunerals.com.

Your funeral: thinking outside the box one last time


HTTP://WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM/COMMENTISFREE/2016/FEB/22/FUNERAL-OUTSIDE-BOX-UK-RESTRICTIONS

Rosie Inman-Cook

It was good to see the Italian family of coffee impresario Renato Bialetti housing his ashes in a totally appropriate coffee pot urn last week. The freedom to be creative and to add personal touches to funerals is something that the British are getting really good at too. In fact, our ability to organise alternative funerals is the envy of most of the world, as many other countries are strictly controlled by a combination of state law, church and industry. At the moment we are not restricted and are free to choose. Long may this continue.


Funerals are usually made up of two parts, the disposal – cremation or burial and the ceremony – with or without God. In modern times, it is becoming increasingly common to see some separation of the two. Like David Bowie and Lemmy, an unattended, prompt cremation or burial can take place followed by a considered memorial service or ceremony, possibly based around the disposal of the ashes at a later date. This gives family and friends time to be creative and arrange a get-together at a venue of their choice, getting away from what is considered by many to be the grim process of the crematoria conveyor-belt slot. These are called direct funerals and can save a lot of money.


Increasingly families in the UK are choosing to exercise other freedoms too. There is a growing home funeral movement where families are keeping their dead at home. After all this is what we used to do back in the day before the funeral industry sprang up. I spoke to one family last week who organised a burial within three days of their mum dying at home. They kept her cool, gently placed her in the coffin themselves and drove her to the cemetery. The daughter rang me subsequently to say how those two days had helped her come to terms with everything. How being in the presence of the body helped her to accept that “Elvis had left the building”, that it was a time rich and peaceful – a cathartic experience. “When my Dad died, they whisked him away in a plastic bag. It was so sudden and so shocking. This time, with Mum at home, it was lovely; gentle on us.” Families are increasingly booking cremations themselves too, although there is a bit more paperwork involved with this. Not all crematoria will play ball, as some are now owned by funeral directing companies.


The fact that you don’t have to use a funeral director comes as news to most people and in 17 years of talking families through the process I’ve never had anyone report regrets – quite the contrary. Obviously a direct-it-yourself funeral is not for everyone. What worries me is that often the public thinks that all funeral directors are much of a muchness. They are not. Families really need to know this and shop around. There are other choices that the public don’t always know they have. For example: you don’t have to have a coffin. There are now various beautiful and simple burial shrouds, some of which, with the addition of a charging board, are accepted by some crematoria. If you want a coffin, alternatives to the regular chipboard, veneered box are now mainstream and in all good undertakers’ catalogues. Many families choose to decorate the coffin, either in the days leading up to the funeral or as part of the ceremony. A plain cardboard coffin can be transformed into a message clad and flower festooned work of art. This can be especially helpful if there are bereaved young children who can become more accustomed to the coffin in the lead-up to the funeral.


You don’t have to transport the dead in a hearse. A lot of people hate the sight of the things and prefer the undertakers’ plain estate car. There are also alternatives for hire like a camper van hearse or a motorbike hearse. Some families want dad’s final journey to be in his work van. I have seen a coffin arrive at the cemetery in the back of a pickup surrounded by crates of beer, cheered on at the grave side. As long as the vehicle is safe and you do not expose a dead body on the public highway, you are not committing an offence.


Religious funerals are helpful and comforting for many. However, there are hundreds of funeral celebrants up and down the country who help fashion the most appropriate send-off for families who feel uncomfortable or inappropriately served by a religious farewell. These celebrants meet the family before the funeral and help pull together the most appropriate facts. They act like a master of ceremonies and offer support and ideas.


Choirs singing at the cemetery, grandchildren playing a recorder for granny, a band of pipers, fireworks, a champagne bar, butterfly releases – the possibilities are endless.
For some there is nothing. Maybe they outlived everyone or because they stipulated “no funeral, no fuss”. So whether it is simple or flamboyant, pretty much anything goes. My top tip: if your family refuses to talk about your demise, turn the tables on them. “so … if, God forbid, you go before me, what do you want?”

Age UK Condemned For Promoting Expensive Funerals To The Elderly

Here is an article that was published last week. Following the Age UK, E.On tariff report, funeral directors knew that it was only a matter of time before this too hit the headlines.
 
Age UK funeral plans are Dignity Funerals Ltd funeral plans. Dignity are the largest funeral service provider in the UK. This is owing to their Pre-need (Funeral Plan), Funeral and Crematoria Divisions. They are the most expensive funeral service provider in the UK.
 
Within Weston there is a Dignity Funeral Branch – Although many wouldn’t know as Dignity acquire independent, family businesses and keep the family name.
 
Weston Crematorium is also owned by Dignity, so by using the services of the Dignity funeral branch and the Dignity crematorium, one would be facing a double edged sword by way of cost.
 
Dignity have claimed in this article that there are more guarantees to an Age UK/Dignity Funeral Plan than any other. This is completely untrue.
 
At Nigel Groves Funeral Directors we use Golden Charter to administer out funeral plans. While they have a recommended cost for us to sell at, we have the freedom to use our own prices which in some cases can be up to £1000 less.
 
Golden Charter/Our funeral plans are no less guaranteed or secure than that of Dignity/Age UK.
 
This is yet another article that highlights once again the importance of taking the time to speak to and meet the funeral directors in your town.
 
If you want to purchase a funeral plan, I would only ever suggest that you buy it from a funeral director.
 
If you have purchased a Dignity or Age UK funeral plan within the last two years we’d be more than happy to look over it for you as there is a very high chance that by cancelling the plan and re-purchasing with us, you’d be walking away with up to £1000 in your pocket.
 
 
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/age-uk-condemned-for-promoting-expensive-funerals-to-the-elderly-a6863476.html
 
 
The charity-branded funeral plans are provided by Advance Planning, a subsidiary of Dignity, a FTSE 250 company
·         Jonathan Owen
·         Tuesday 9 February 2016
·         8 comments
 
Age UK has been criticised by campaigners for accepting millions of pounds to promote a particular funeral firm - which allegedly charges significantly more than some rivals.

The charity-branded funeral plans are provided by Advance Planning, a subsidiary of Dignity, a FTSE 250 company.

Last year 18,000 of the funeral plans were sold – with Age UK Enterprises receiving £9.4m in return. Dignity makes revenues of more than £30m a year from the funerals.

The Age UK funeral packages are among the most expensive on the market, with several other firms offering funeral plans for hundreds of pounds less.

The charity’s basic funeral plan costs £3,495 - more than £200 more expensive than the Co-operative Funeralcare’s basic package.

The price for Age UK’s ‘standard’ funeral is £3,845 – which is more than £300 more expensive than an equivalent plan offered by Golden Charter, according to an analysis by Which? in December 2015.

Rosie Inman-Cook, manager of the Natural Death Centre, a charity which advises people on how to arrange their own funerals, said Age UK should do more to tell people that cheaper options were available. “They could be getting far better value for money elsewhere and spend around a thousand pounds,” she said.

One funeral industry source described the costs of the Age UK funeral plans as “disproportionately high,” and added: “I do believe that as a charity they should be looking for a more proportionately priced product.”

Age Concern, which merged with Help the Aged to become Age UK in 2009, previously held a minority shareholding in Advance Planning.

Last night Dignity stood by its funeral products. A spokesman said: “The Age UK Funeral Plan has some of the strongest guarantees in the market with unrivalled service and transparent customer terms.  We believe the combination of price and quality makes the Age UK Funeral Plan the best value on the market.”

An Age UK spokesman said: “Not all funeral plans are the same so it’s best not to compare on price alone. The Age UK Funeral Plans have almost unique levels of cover including guaranteeing cremation costs - and ensure there are no hidden costs, to provide great value.

One funeral industry source described the costs of the Age UK funeral plans as “disproportionately high,” and added: “I do believe that as a charity they should be looking for a more proportionately priced product.”

Age Concern, which merged with Help the Aged to become Age UK in 2009, previously held a minority shareholding in Advance Planning.

Last night Dignity stood by its funeral products. A spokesman said: “The Age UK Funeral Plan has some of the strongest guarantees in the market with unrivalled service and transparent customer terms.  We believe the combination of price and quality makes the Age UK Funeral Plan the best value on the market.”

An Age UK spokesman said: “Not all funeral plans are the same so it’s best not to compare on price alone. The Age UK Funeral Plans have almost unique levels of cover including guaranteeing cremation costs - and ensure there are no hidden costs, to provide great value.

Society for Allied Independent Funeral Directors

This month’s article in the National SAIF insight magazine.

‘We want to show people that a respectful, dignified funeral and a high level of service needn’t cost the earth.’

That’s the ethos of Nigel Groves who, along with his wife Claire, has opened his first business at Weston-super-Mare.

Both Nigel and Claire previously worked with a large corporate funeral business, and it was a sense of getting back in touch with people and the community that prompted them to set up on their own in September 2015.

‘We both felt that we had been moving further and further away from what we loved to do – dealing with families and looking after the deceased. By becoming independent we felt we had more to offer.’

They’ve certainly been quick to develop new ideas. Among other things, they are emulating the foodbanks by providing £250 discount vouchers to people in need – these are distributed through ministers and community leaders.

In what Nigel believes to be a first in the UK, Nigel Groves Funerals provides an ‘at cost’ funeral for anyone who is 30 or under when they pass away. This complements their ‘no fee’ funeral they provide for children up to the age of 18.

That energy and innovation has helped the business exceed expectations in its first months, and there are ambitions to keep growing – the plan is to have a second branch within three years.

‘It was definitely a good decision to set up the business,’ said Nigel. ‘It was a big step, but giving people an excellent service at a reasonable cost is something we feel passionate about.’

 

Coping with Grief on Valentine's Day

It’s a pretty safe bet that Valentine’s Day is a favourite holiday of couples in love, almost in love, and those happily married. But for those grieving the death of a spouse, fiancé, lover or partner, coping with Cupid’s 24-hour visit can be emotionally taxing.

The abundance of advertisements for heart-shaped jewellery, chocolates and romantic dinners can bring one’s grief to the surface very quickly. The sadness, pain and loneliness that often follow a loved one’s death can feel unbearable amid the in-your-face retail campaigns pushing romance and couple-hood.

The Good Grief Centre for Bereavement Support, a non-profit organization which provides free services to individuals and families throughout Western Pennsylvania, offers these tips for surviving the holiday season while grieving:

Here are 12 practical tips for coping with grief on Valentine’s Day:

  • Give yourself permission to experience your grief. Acknowledge that this Valentine’s Day will not be the same without your significant other. Allow yourself to feel whatever may come up that day – sadness, longing for the person who died, joy for having been a part of that loving relationship. It’s all a part of good grieving.
  • Handle the holiday in whatever way feels right to you. Spend the day alone in quiet reflection, or surround yourself with family and friends—you decide. Continue your Valentine’s Day traditions: go out to dinner, buy those favourite chocolates, see a movie. Or, start new traditions for yourself. Like grieving itself, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to handle Valentine’s Day after the loss of your significant other.
  • Honour your significant other and the relationship. Death doesn’t mean an end to the love you shared, just an end to the way you can express it. Gather with those you feel close to and share aloud some of the special qualities of your loved one or your relationship. Or, establish some private rituals as a way to keep that special connectedness for years to come. Some examples:
  • Visit the cemetery and place a single rose – or something else that symbolizes your love – on your loved one’s grave. Talk aloud, relaying how you’ve been feeling since their death. It can be cathartic.
  • Start an annual Valentine’s Day journal. In your first entry, explain to your loved one why you need to do this. Write down everything you wish you had the chance to say before he or she died. Date each entry as a way of charting your healing over time.
  • Write a letter or a poem to your loved one. Go outside, tie the written piece to a helium balloon, and release it heavenward.
  • Light a memorial candle near a framed photo of your loved one. Just sit near it for a while. Reminisce. Cry some. Laugh some.
  • Honour your relationships with those who are still alive. Valentine’s Day is not exclusively for couples. It also provides an opportunity to let others know how special they are. Make time to look up from your pain and realize how many other people love and care for you. Find ways to tell them “I love you” or “You are special to me.” For example, send children’s valentines to adult family members and friends, writing personal notes on each. The cards will remind you both of a simpler, whimsical time in life.
  • Love yourself. Find a way to be appreciative of yourself and the love and effort you put into your relationship. Make a list of the five qualities your significant other loved best about you. Or make a list of positive, loving things your significant other would have said to you this Valentine’s Day and read them aloud to yourself. Buy yourself a present that you think he or she would give you, such as jewellery or a CD by your favourite artist; think about him or her each time you wear or use it.
  • Pamper yourself. Treat yourself with feel-good things. Send yourself flowers. Get a massage or spa treatment. Play your favourite music loudly. Dance wildly. Take a relaxing bubble bath, maybe throw in some flower petals. Wear your warm, fuzzy slippers all day. Watch TV with a big bowl of popcorn.
  • Share your early romance with your children. If you and your significant other had children, tell them stories about the romantic side of their deceased parent before they were born. Share old photos of when you both were young and madly in love. They’ll get a kick out of it, and you’ll get to stroll down memory lane with your loved ones.
  • Spend some cuddle time with an animal companion. If you don’t have one, visit a friend who does. The unconditional love will do wonders. If a live pet is not available, do the same with a big stuffed animal.
  • Do something heartfelt for someone else. Make a point of keeping your heart open on this day. Volunteer somewhere. Visit an elderly relative. Take cookies to work. Give blood.
  • Redefine the purpose of the holiday. Don’t think of it as a day for lovers, but as a day to openly express your love to those important in your life. Keep the day’s romance focus in perspective, too. Don’t let all the hoopla force you into thinking about starting a new love relationship. It’s not a decision to be made lightly. Only you will know when the time is right to open your heart again.
  • If you’re really hurting, plan ahead. If you’re not emotionally ready to deal with the day, plan activities for yourself that don’t have a hint of romance—play board games with a friend, organize a messy room, read a book, pay some bills.
  • Seek support if you feel overwhelmed. Your grief is your own, but you do not have to go through it alone or pretend you’re okay. Reach out and continue to build a support system. Talk with someone who understands and is willing to listen to you without judgment. That may include family members, friends, your faith community, professionals or a grief support centre.

Co-operative Funeralcare to reduce Funeral Costs by 7%

The Co-op is cutting the average cost of a funeral by 7%, or £140, it has announced.

The group's funerals business said the move will cut the price to below £2,000.

Richard Lancaster, managing director for Co-op Funeralcare said: "Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult and decisions about funeral arrangements can be especially hard in a time of grief, particularly when there are concerns about keeping within a tight budget.

"Our new Simple Funeral has been designed to better meet these needs, making it more affordable without in any way compromising on the quality of service or our industry-leading standards of care."

http://money.aol.co.uk/2016/02/07/coop-to-cut-average-cost-of-a-funeral-by-7/

This ‘cut price funeral’ is in fact the Co-op’s ‘Simple Funeral’ and the cost that has been quoted is for the Co-op services only.

http://www.co-operativefuneralcare.co.uk/arranging-a-funeral/types-of-funeral/the-simple-funeral/

Funeral invoices are split into two sets of costs. First you have the funeral director cost for the service they provide to you – The care of the deceased person, the arrangement making, the Hearse, the coffin… These services and products are the provision of the funeral director. There is then the cost of the disbursements or the external costs. These are things like the Crematorium, the minister and the doctors. They will also include the flowers, orders of service, and death notices. While it is the funeral director who will make the arrangements for the external services, with the cost of these service shown on the invoice of the funeral director, they will have added no charge for providing that service. What you are invoice is what the funeral director has paid.

This Co-op quote of £1995.00 does not include the cost of the disbursements. 

Here in Weston, the necessary disbursement costs can total as much as £1214. (Weston Crematorium - £872.00, Doctors Fee for cremation certificates - £164.00 and Ministers fee (a minister is optional) – From £178.00.

The cost for the Co-op’s ‘Simple Funeral’ - £3209.00.  Nice try! (Please excuse the sarcasm, but) to tell us that the cost of the funeral is reduced to less than £2000 is utterly misleading.

While it is impossible to give a total, all inc. national quote, it is possible to deliver a quote that is not completely misleading.

Our ‘Simple Funeral Option’ is charged at £999 for the funeral director’s cost, plus the £1214 external cost. 

The external cost can be reduced by opting to take the 9am appointment at the crematorium which is considerably less at £540.00 and by opting not to hire the services of a minister to lead the service. 

This article simply highlights the importance of taking your time when choosing your funeral director.

·         Visit and meet at least three in order that you can get a good gage of each.

·         Acquire written estimates. 

·         Make sure they are who they say they are. The name over the door is rarely an indication of ownership.  Corporate companies acquire family businesses and keep the name.

·         Ask questions and make sure you are happy and satisfied by the advice you’ve been given. 

·         Don’t allow yourself to feel pressured into making a decision. It could cost you financially which could in turn tarnish the memory of your loved one.

When it comes to the funeral service the old adage of‘you get what you pay for’ simply does not fit! If you pay more, you don’t get more and good service doesn’t have come at a cost. 

It is the corporate companies that are driving up the cost of funerals. The independent firms are not completely blameless in the rise in cost as they are rising at virtually the same rate but staying just below the corporate cost.

Appoint the service of an independent, family funeral director and the majority of the £999 paid will be used to provide the funeral with the rest going towards oh, things like, the food shop,  school shoes, drum lessons and family trips to the cinema.

Only a fraction of the £1995.00 paid to the Co-op for a simple funeral is actually required to carry out the funeral, with the majority spent on the likes of‘Head Office’ and all it consumes. And of course there is the nest of Mr Richard Lancaster to be feathered as well as the vast management team below him. Why is the former MD of Morrison’s and Poundland being paid to provide funerals?

No Funeral for David

A few weeks ago I shared an article about how David Bowie has been cremated without a funeral service and without any family or friends present. There is also to be no memorial service.

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/david-bowie-has-been-secretly-cremated-without-a-funeral-or-any-family-and-friends-present/ar-BBobrgJ?li=AAaeUIW&utm_content=buffer44a3e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Have his family truly honoured him by carrying out his wishes?

This option, to allow someone you love to leave without any acknowledgement sits a little uneasy with the vast majority of us.

There are essentially two purposes to a funeral.

1.       (Put rather crudely) To dispose of the body; the mortal remains.

2.       To help those who love the deceased to grieve, give them some form of closure and to help them to say ‘goodbye’.

Essentially, it would appear that a funeral serves a greater purpose for the living who remain than for the deceased person.

Quite often when faced with a family who are in dispute or feel bound by the wishes of the deceased, I will ask them ‘What do YOU want?’ Some get so caught up in the wishes of the deceased that they can end up arranging a funeral service that is completely detached from the way that they’d normally choose to grieve.

Quite recently it was reported that over the last 5 years 547 organ donors have been prevented from donation by their living relatives. 

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jan/15/nhs-moves-to-stop-bereaved-families-blocking-donation-of-relatives-organs

Now, in comparison to the number of successful donors the percentage is only slight, however this does mean that there have been 547 people that have chosen to donate their organs when they pass away, only to have their family decide at the time that they don’t want to carry out their wishes.

My comparison here is diverse in its circumstances but ultimately the same and for all intense and purposes, completely the wrong way around.

Both examples given are to benefit the living and with no real benefit to the deceased.

Even to ‘Honour’ the deceased, grant them respect and dignity are still benefits and actions for the living. Having carried out these acts will help the grieving to know they’ve done all that they could and the very best for the deceased. It will elevate and potential guilt and help them to grieve peacefully. The deceased person knows nothing of any honour, dignity or respect that they’ve been given. (That said, I will always treat any deceased person that is in my care as though they are there with me. As though they do know.)

For someone to say that they want to ‘go without a fuss’ sounds initially to be a pretty selfless individual.

Is it rather that they hold very little value of themselves and their lives, and underestimate the value they hold to those who love them? Was David actually telling his family not to bother, that he’s not worth the fuss? Because, if someone I love said that to me, I’d really struggle to carry out their wishes; wishes which appear to be born out of low self-esteem and low self-worth; a lack of own importance in the lives of others.

With all this in mind, is a funeral service not purely for the purpose of the living? 

Let’s think about what actually happens on the day of a funeral.

Aside from possible prayers, hymns and any other religious practices or observation of faith –

The coffin (the body of the deceased person) is usually present.

Often there is music chosen specifically by the family and friends. Music that is usually important to the deceased person and their family. Music that reminds those present of happy times together.

It is usual for the deceased person to be spoken about. A brief biography of their life, highlighting a few struggles but predominantly joyful times. And then there’s after the funeral service. Many will gather for a reception, a ‘Wake’ or a ‘Bunfight’. Some food and drink plus the opportunity to meet with old family and friends and continue in sharing stories and memories of the person who has died. People will come together for a funeral and nothing more. Family and friends will go years without seeing each only, coming together when one of theirs has died – making promises to make time for each other – Stating that ‘life is too short’. We all do it!  This shows clearly that our purpose for a funeral service is to unite. To bring together all those who may have just one thing in common, and bring that common element back to life again, if only just for one day. To laugh and share together, to break and cry together, to love and remember that one person who is like no other and on that very day is the most important person in the world.

 

Personally, I don’t want a fuss when I go. I’m not worth the expense and bother. But for those who I love and those who love me in return, if I can be responsible for bringing them all together for just one day and allow them to bond like that, to eat, to drink, to remember and have fun…  who am I to stand in the way of their day?

Because let’s face it, on the day of a funeral, it’s not just the life of the person in the box that we’re remembering, it’s also the lives of each and every person they’ve touched, inspired, encouraged, loved, lost and cherished. A little bit of them will live on in the life of each and every person in that room and beyond… and that alone should be celebrated!