We talk about the different options available for funeral services
Jo Loveridge, funeral director and owner of Albany Funerals
Does a funeral have to take place in a church or crematorium? It can do if you want it to, but more and more we are helping families to choose an alternative location that is right for them. We have held funerals outdoors, in hotels and pubs, and in village halls. These can be great choices if you want more space and time, or something aimed towards celebrating a life. For those who do not want a religious service, you can find many alternative venues. One funeral we provided last year was held on an outside decking area of a beautiful country pub. That was special for the lady who had died – a location that made a big difference for those who attended.
What makes a ‘good funeral’? There is such a thing as a ‘good funeral’ and celebration of someone’s life. When a funeral is personal, authentic and specific needs and requests are considered it can be a very helpful step in the difficult grieving process. We are passionate about giving people that. It is the reason we started Albany and why we work with families across the whole of Kent, arranging both traditional and modern funerals.
I believe families and individuals going through the hardest of times should have a funeral that is both personal and affordable.
Does there have to be a funeral? These days, people are taking complete control of their funerals more and more – and some do decide that they do not want a funeral at all. One of the services that we offer is a ‘Direct Cremation’, which means that there is no funeral at the crematorium, but the ashes are returned to the family in an urn or casket.
Families can then have their own get-together in a way that suits them and costs much less and could be held anywhere, as there is no coffin. Many people actually find it much easier to remember someone’s life without the presence of the coffin.
Neil Lincoln, manager of Bluebell Cemetery
Tell us about Bluebell Cemetery. We have 28 acres of beautiful grounds near Sevenoaks, which have been developed to accommodate both formal and woodland burials in peace and tranquillity. There is also the option for the placement of cremated remains within the memorial gardens.
The modern chapel is available to use for funeral and memorial services by all faiths and denominations. Burials in the cemetery can also be for any religion.
Do you have advice for those wishing for burial? It is strongly advised that if your wish is for burial arrangements are made to ensure it is possible. The grave will need to be purchased in advance, as many cemeteries are close to capacity. Purchasing a grave in advance of need also gives the person their choice of burial space, so those who are left behind do not have the worry of making the correct choice.
Tell us about your woodland burials… A natural, or woodland burial, is ideal for those wanting a more environmentally friendly means of burial, instead of a traditional grave with a formal headstone. Our woodland burials are available to everyone, irrespective of faith or religion. Only single depth graves will be dug within the woodland area, although it is possible to have up to four sets of ashes interred in each grave. Each grave is marked with a microchip so that it can be identified by future generations, along with an engraved granite boulder or a memorial plaque on an oak post. We encourage and welcome the use of environmentally friendly coffins and natural materials. Please contact Bluebell Cemetery for details of the coffins supplied by Vegan Coffins.
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