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The Latest Funeral Trends

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ONE in three Britons would snub religion for their loved one’s funeral as tastes turn towards celebrating lives with music and personalised services instead, new research shows.

For decades, a traditional send-off in the UK often followed a similar pattern with a religious celebrant, sombre music and Victorian trappings such as a hearse and flowers.

 But families are increasingly demanding more control. Twenty nine percent of people want a ‘happier’ funeral without a religious theme, while just one in five Brits say they would stick with the current status quo. 

 Howard Hodgson, CEO of leading funeral firm Affordable Funerals, said: “The days of the traditional Victorian funeral are numbered, with more and more people wanting to take greater control of their own or their loved one’s send-off.

 “We are continually reading how expensive funerals are – but they don’t have to be. That’s because you really don’t have to have a traditional funeral with a hearse and limousines if you don’t wish to. 

 “A celebration of life service gives you the opportunity to create a send-off that truly suits you and your loved ones, and it’s no surprise to me that more people are opting for them.

 “It gives you a service that is inexpensive but totally unique, with personal music, photographs and eulogies.

 “Arranging a funeral for a loved one can carry tremendous pressure to get it just right, but there is more choice than ever to find the perfect send-off down to the smallest of details.”

 A celebration of life service is an attended service at a crematorium of your choosing. 

 The coffin is already on the catafalque when you arrive and the ceremony includes personal choices of music, photographic display and eulogies. 

 Affordable Funerals teamed up with leading pollsters OnePoll to quiz 1,000 UK adults on which type of send-off they would prefer for their loved ones. The most popular answer, with 29 percent of respondents, was a celebration of life service with personalised photographs, eulogies and music but without religious content. A celebration of life service with a religious theme was next with 21 percent, while the traditional Victorian send-off was chosen by 20 percent. Direct cremations, where the body is cremated without a service, was fourth with 13 percent.

People aged 25 to 34 are most likely to opt for a non-religious celebration of life, with 34 percent of respondents, while those aged 65 and over are more likely to go for the traditional Victorian option with 21 percent.

 Mr Hodgson is passionate about giving customers as much control as they wish, with celebration of life ceremonies from just £1,850.

 This includes a service at a crematoria, music, a visual tribute and a eulogy, while additional extras are also available such as web streaming or a professional video of the occasion. 

 He outlined several traditional add-ons that make costs rise, such as a hearse and four bearers at £1,200, a viewing in a private chapel can be £400 and limousine hire can be as much as  £300.

 He says these are fairly priced additions but are not a legal or even an essential requirement unless you want them.

 Mr Hodgson added: “Until now, funerals have changed little in the last 150 years and have remained an occasion dominated by convention and religion – very much products of the Victorian age.

 “However, the relevance of this is now being mulled over by families who want to celebrate a loved one’s life in a personal fashion while also questioning the cost of a traditional funeral. 

 “We can offer all of those traditional services if required. But a celebration of life ceremony can allow you to focus on, and therefore only pay for, the service you want if you deem a traditional Victorian funeral too expensive and not appropriate.  

 “The important thing for a family is to do what they feel is right for them.”

 Affordable Funerals is the UK’s largest provider of celebration of life funerals and direct cremations, as well as a wide range of pre-arranged packages. It is part of the Memoria Group which also owns and manages 12 crematoria and memorial parks in locations throughout England and Wales.

 Mr Hodgson, a fourth generation funeral director, has been at the forefront of the industry for almost five decades. 

 Affordable Funerals has a range of burial and cremation options to suit any budget.