Our first and most important piece of advice when it comes to organising a funeral is that there is no rush. Allow yourself time to come to terms with what has happened before you make any decisions. Here at Old Park Meadow we believe that you can celebrate a life that has been lived as well as mourn the life that has been lost. When a loved one dies, many things will need taking care of which may not immediately come to mind. We hope this guide will provide you with some practical advice about what to do and help you find the right places for expert guidance at this difficult time.
Telling Family and Friends
You may want to notify close family and friends immediately. Some people may wish to visit the person who has died one last time. You may decide to wait until the arrangements are in place for the funeral before you contact other family and friends.
There will be a lot to organise under difficult emotional circumstances. If you are happy for people to help, let them. Perhaps write a list of things such as making dinner, doing the shopping, walking the dog, driving, making sandwiches for the wake, listing the flowers, cards and donations received. When people offer to help, choose something from your list for them to do.
When a person dies you must register the death with the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths for the district where the death occurred. This needs to be done within five days of the death (or eight days in Scotland), unless the death has been referred to the coroner.
It is a good idea to find out what funds you have access to and how the funeral will be paid for, before you start planning the funeral. The deceased may have some specific wishes which will need to be checked, a funeral plan may be in place which may cover a proportion of the costs. If there is no reason not to, you can start thinking about and planning the funeral before you receive the death certificate. People can be notified of the date for their diaries. Do not feel pressured into making decisions, take your time because funerals can wait weeks if you would rather. There are no legal requirements to have the funeral within a certain number of days, but you may be guided by your beliefs.
Over 70% of people choose to have a cremation but it is a matter of personal preference and also sometimes what is easiest locally. There may be a lair certificate or deeds for a pre-paid burial plot for a burial ground or you may find this information may be with the family solicitor.
If someone dies in hospital, you will need to inform the hospital of your preference almost immediately in order for them to complete the correct certification. If you are unsure of the funeral directors you will be using, you can simply inform the hospital that you are yet to decide and will let them know once the decision has been made. If the hospital is short of space a funeral director can collect and store the deceased, but you are under no obligation to use this company for the funeral itself. The signature of two Doctors is required on an additional certificate if cremation is selected. The cost is in the region of £150. If you are using a funeral director, they can organise and pay for this, charging for this disbursement or fee to someone else, as part of your invoice, for their services. The crematorium will need this certificate 24 hours before the cremation. If you are using a funeral director then they can liaise with the hospital and crematorium on your behalf.
Choosing a Funeral Director
You may wish to organise the funeral yourself or choose a funeral director who will help you with the arrangements. The team at Old Park Meadow work closely with funeral directors, and together we can ensure you and your fellow mourners are able to say the final goodbye you feel is appropriate for your loved one. Click here for a list of local Funeral Directors.
It can sometimes help to take a close friend or relative along to take over a discussion should you become upset. You will still be there to communicate your wishes, but your friend or relative can be there to support you. Funeral directors can help you make a decision on many aspects of the funeral, such as the type of coffin or urn, if you want funeral transport to the crematorium before or after the service at Old Park Meadow or if it is a full burial, how long you think you might need with us.
Who Do You Want to Lead the Funeral?
At Old Park Meadow you can hold a Religious Funeral Ceremony, a Civil Funeral, with or without religious content and led by a Civil Funeral Celebrant, or a non-religious or Humanist Funeral, led by a Humanist Officiate. You might even decide to lead the funeral ceremony yourself; there is little legal requirement for this. In fact, there is little legality at all when planning a funeral. There are no preconceptions and you can be as formal or informal as you like, you are totally in control of deciding what you feel is most suitable.
We never want to make you feel rushed, pressured or slotted in; our aim is to offer the support and flexibility to enable you to choose a date and time that is best for you.
Often there is no need to make all of these decisions in one day unless there are special or religious considerations to take into account. Generally, you can take your time to ensure that you are satisfied with the final goodbye. Many families take time to reflect during the days of the arrangements and you can visit us as often as you need to discuss your plans or any questions or concerns you might have.
When you have chosen your funeral director and decided on Old Park Meadow, come and visit us to discuss your options. We are open 365 days a year and one of our friendly team is available to discuss options with you at the following times:
Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm
When you first visit us we will take you through all of your options. When you are ready and are happy with your decision, you can choose the burial location, for either a full burial or ashes interment and plan the outline of the service, should you choose to hold one with us. We will also explain to you what to expect on the day.
Making decisions on the structure of the day is a good place to start when planning a ceremony for a funeral or celebration of life. Try not to let others persuade you that you must do things a certain way. Perhaps talk to your loved ones’ family, friends and colleagues to find fitting contributions such as memories, highlights, favourite songs or music. Many people find themselves surprised by what they learn about their loved ones when planning a funeral, especially regarding their early life, working life, or experiences in a club or hobby.
Using a crematorium can mean that there will be tight timings to work within, often half an hour from arrival to departure. Given these restrictions, it can be a good idea for families to hold a longer service either before or after the cremation, to allow people to have the time they need to say goodbye. This service can, of course, be conducted at Old Park Meadow.
Please let us know once you know how long you would like to use our facilities for, to ensure we can cater fully for your requirements. Prices start from £125 per hour for additional hours after the initial service hire of two hours.
Please let us know in advance the order of service and eulogies, along with any special arrangements that you may need throughout the day. For example, maybe we could provide an electric buggy for any guests who have mobility issues.
If necessary we can supply you with materials to post or email to your guests, containing directions on how to find us, a map of Old Park Meadow and information about what to expect on the day.
The team at Old Park Meadow will liaise with you and your funeral director throughout to ensure that everything comes together on the day, allowing you to say goodbye without distractions.
Once all arrangements are in place, you can invite those you feel would like to attend and share the celebration of a life. These people may include, among others, family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues. This can be a good time to ask for any contributions those attending might like to make to the ceremony. It is, of course, your choice whether children will be invited to attend the service. However, natural burial grounds are not like cemeteries, and it doesn’t matter if children want to play and be themselves so long as you look out for their safety and bear in mind other mourners’ feelings.
Some families will specify special requests, such as no flowers, carrying a particular flower, wearing bright colours or notifying attendees of a charity with personal importance for any donations.
Old Park Meadow Memorial Options
There are many ways you may consider when remembering your loved ones, the choice is entirely up to you. Some people wish for their burial to be conducted with total simplicity, but for many, a memorial serves as a fitting tribute or final reminder of their life. We have a number of memorial options here at Old Park Meadow, including engraved grey slate tablets, which are totally maintenance free so will never fall into disrepair and can be placed in one of our memorial frames situated around the site. We also offer living memorials such as sponsoring a tree on our site, or one of our habitat boxes for local wildlife including birds, bats, butterflies, bees and ladybirds. You can also make an entry in our Book of Remembrance. Click here to contact us and talk to our staff to find out more about our memorial options.