How to organise a funeral during lockdown
PUBLISHED: 15:20 15 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:20 15 April 2020
Coronavirus may have changed the way you plan a funeral, but it doesn’t affect your family’s need to say goodbye or mean you need to compromise on your loved one’s service.
Simon Wakely of Northcott Brothers Funeral Directors answers your questions about planning a funeral during lockdown and how you can access the help you need at this time.
Q: How can I start making funeral arrangements when in lockdown?
Start by getting in touch with a funeral director, they can help you organise your thoughts and explain your next steps.
We’re using WhatsApp and Zoom to chat with relatives face to face. We’re also available on the phone 24 hours a day to answer any questions and talk through your options. We can send any information you need over email or we’re happy to post it through your door.
The registration process can now be done over the phone, the doctor’s cremation form process has been simplified and crematoriums have made allowances for paperwork to be filled out by a funeral director.
We’re quickly adapting the way we work to ensure your family receives the care and support they need during this time and to minimise the amount of personal contact needed to make funeral arrangements.
Q: How many people can attend the service?
Funerals are open to immediate family only, whether it’s a cremation or a burial.
A limited amount of people can attend the service. This is to ensure everyone can sit a minimum of two meters apart.
While we know this might not be the ceremony you had hoped for – there are still ways you can include everyone.
You can video the service and use a webcam to involve those that can’t be there.
You can have relatives record speeches ahead of time or send in photos and videos that you can share with them online and play during the ceremony. You could even have them suggest songs to play that remind them of a time they shared with your loved one.
Once the lockdown’s lifted, you could hold a service at the church or somewhere dear to your loved one, and gather with everyone to celebrate and remember their life.
You could time the celebration to coincide with the scattering of your loved one’s ashes in a special place close to your family’s heart.
Q: Can I delay the funeral?
We can delay the funeral if it’s what you want, and we’ll help you make all the arrangements you need to do this.
However, it’s hard to predict what the next few weeks could hold and there’s no way to tell when we may next be able to have a ‘normal’ funeral without limitations.
This is why we’re offering advice on alternative options - in the hope we can prevent you from needing to wait before you can say goodbye.
Q: Has coronavirus had any impact on funeral costs?
Not much has changed, though lockdown may make it harder to manage estates with solicitors and banks. As we don’t want this to be an added pressure, we’re allowing more time for you to make payments.
If you’re struggling to cover funeral costs, help is available. Call 0800 731 0469 for more information or go online at gov.uk/funeral-payments.
Q: How can I get in touch?
These are challenging times for everyone, especially if you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, but we’ll be here every step of the way to help you and your family through it.
Northcott Brothers who work with A.J.Wakely and Sons is a family-run business that has been providing an independent funeral director service to the local community for over 100 years. They provide a personal, sensitive and caring service for every family they work with.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.