Arranging a funeral
This will usually be done by the nearest relative or the executor of the deceased’s estate. They will be responsible for the decisions that are to be made with regards to all of the arrangements, ensuring that any wishes expressed by the deceased are kept to wherever possible.
Our role is to advise you on all the options available and make sure that they carried out in accordance with your wishes and those of the person who has died. We can guide you through all the early decisions that need to happen from whether it will be a cremation or burial through to where it will take place. From the moment you contact us we will oversee each stage of the funeral, our courteous staff will provide the care, support and advice to make the process simple, clear and in accordance with your wishes.
You can arrange for our transfer service to call at your home at any time of the day or night. The vehicle most often chosen is a private ambulance with blackened windows to preserve the dignity of the deceased.
In our care
Once in our care, the deceased will remain within a special mortuary area until the family have arranged the funeral, chosen a coffin, and provided the clothing. When the family have made these decisions, the deceased will be dressed and laid in the coffin by trained members of staff. Visitations may then take place at our Chapel of Rest, suitable for all faiths. Restrictions on visitation lie solely with the family’s discretion.
Burial or Cremation
The choice of whether to have a burial or cremation is a very personal one and can depend on many factors and our knowledgeable staff will be able to offer advice on each aspect. From a practical point of view, cremation is the simpler and more economical option. The decision between burial and cremation may be made on religious or cultural grounds. Muslems, for example, choose burial for religious reasons. Hindus and Sikhs are cremated. For Jews, the decision is influenced by the form of Judaism observed – Orthodox Jews do not allow cremation. For most Christians, cremation is acceptable and common practice, although the Catholic Church has only endorsed this since 1965. There may be other simple, personal reasons such as family traditions that determine the choice.
It is important to check whether there is an existing family grave and special arrangements may have to be made if this is in another borough. We will advise you on a new grave, if required, as many churchyards are no longer open for new burials due to space. When arrangements for new graves are made, please bear in mind how many future interments will be required in the grave. We will check with the cemetery attendant on whether a lawn memorial or a full traditional curb set would be allowed on the chosen plot (Most council cemeteries will only allow a memorial headstone, churches have fairly strict rules on what is allowed).
• The Natural or 'Green' burial occurs in a burial ground managed on ecologically sound lines to minimise environmental damage. The use of biodegradable, non-rainforest coffins or simple shrouds ensure the existing environment is protected. Generally gravestones or permanent graveside memorials are not permitted.
• The cemetery is generally administered by the local district authority. There are some private cemeteries in this country. They exist to serve the local population and usually allow for all denominations within the grounds, but not necessarily in the same area or plot.
• There are a select few places around our coastline where burial at sea is allowed. Authority must be sought from government agencies.
Decisions on what to do with the ashes can be made at a later date. Most of the time they are either scattered at the crematorium, in a place that is special to the deceased or buried in an existing family grave. There are alternatives available and we will be happy to provide details for these. For more information please visit: www.portchestercrematorium.org
Type of Service
The type of service you have usually depends on the religious beliefs (if any) of the deceased. It is not necessary to have a formal service at the funeral. Some carefully chosen words to pay tribute to the person that has passed away and suitable music can be just as appropriate. Bear in mind the time that you will have for the service and make sure that the Minister has an opportunity to see any words that you have chosen, especially if someone, other than the Minister, will be reading them. Orders of Service can be arranged if required and again, the Minister prefers to see them beforehand.
The choice of coffin or casket ranges from the very traditional to the more environmentally friendly. If there is something that you have in mind, please let us know and we will do our utmost to accommodate your wishes.
We are sensitive to cultural differences in dealing with death and can provide services appropriate for a number of faiths. The wide variety of service options we offer reflects the multi-cultural nature of the UK population. Please contact us to discuss requirements or requests specific to your faith.
What happens on the day?
On the day of the funeral there are many ways to make the day a unique tribute to a special person, we are here to guide and advise you on how to make this happen. The following is a brief guide on what to expect on the day of the funeral.
The type of hearse and where it is to leave from is also a consideration, along with how many people are to be chauffeur driven to the service. Our staff can go through the transport with you and help you decide on which would be the most appropriate. Please complete the Limousine form for who is to travel in which limousine (if applicable) and hand it to the Funeral Director on the day. This will enable them to make sure that things run as smoothly as they can, right from the start.
Bearing the coffin
Please advise us of any family members or friends of the family that may wish to carry the coffin, otherwise bearers will be supplied. Our staff are always at the service, even if family or friends are carrying the coffin.
For some people the music is an important part to the service and many people now ask for specific pieces of music to be played. We can advise you on this and make the appropriate arrangements for you.
During the service you may wish to have one or more people give eulogies – this is when someone pays tribute to a person's life by saying a few words that will help remember that person. You can prepare a speech yourself for this, or you may prefer to read a favourite poem or passage. Please discuss with the minister or person leading the funeral service.
After the funeral you may wish to offer guests refreshments. You will need to decide who will provide the catering and where it will be provided. We can help make these arrangements for you; alternatively you may wish to make these arrangements yourself. You may prefer to offer refreshments at your home or at a location close to where the service has been held.
Flowers are usually arranged separately and most people know of a local florist but if not, we would be happy to recommend one to you. The florist would normally deliver these to the Funeral Directors on the morning of the funeral and they would be displayed around the coffin in the hearse. If however the family would prefer donations to a charity of their choice, we can arrange for these donations to be forwarded on after the funeral. On the occasion when someone would prefer to make a donation instead of a floral tribute but the family have no preferred charity, we would like to suggest one of the charities that we ourselves support, ‘Canine Partners’ and ‘Naomi House’. If a donation is made to one of these charities, we will add to the donation.
Before the funeral
A gown can be provided for the deceased but you may prefer them to be dressed in their own clothing. If this is the case, please supply us with these as soon as you can, as some people like to visit the deceased in our Chapel of Rest. This is a personal decision and not one to be made hastily, however some people find comfort in placing personal items and photographs alongside their loved one. Please make an appointment if you would like to visit. The attending staff are understanding in each decision you make during this emotional time and will fulfill your requests wherever possible.
On the day of the funeral
You can be assured that everything will be taken care of on the day of the funeral. Our experienced drivers will make sure that they proceed and arrive on time, in a dignified manner… our bearers will ensure that the deceased is gently placed where they are to rest… and our Funeral Director will be there to guide and assist you… every step of the way.
After the funeral
It is usual for a six month period to elapse before memorial masonry is placed on new graves and these vary considerably in style. Once a style is chosen, we will be able to inform you of how long the order will take to complete. We can advise on the length of time it will take to add words to an existing memorial stone or if a cremation has taken place, you will be informed when the ashes are available for collection.
If you need a gravestone, we can provide one. Our craftsmen work to meet any request and their precision and care are a testament to their dedication. Whether you want marble or granite, we can craft the perfect monument to your loved one.