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A different place

Many of the funerals we organise still take place in a church or other religious building and, if the deceased was affiliated with a certain religion, this may feel like the most appropriate choice. However, we often find that people who have no religion at all are sometimes drawn at this time to the ‘structure’ which a religious service offers. The services which are held in a crematorium chapel are often led by a minister or include hymns and prayers – even when the family isn’t particularly religious.

In a recent episode of the podcast Griefcast (25 January 2023), the host Cariad Lloyd was talking to the comedian Tom Allen, whose father died suddenly in 2021. He said he wasn’t religious but explained: “I found the church service very moving and I liked the way it felt the church held us a bit. I absolutely got it – all those funeral rites and structures that have been done like that for centuries.”

Cariad replied: “Especially if you’re not a church goer, when someone dies you go ‘this is useful this system, I see why this is here and it works’. It’s that sense of ritual and it does hold you. It gives you a structure to hang it all on, so you don’t have to think when you can’t think.”

That said – and many people don’t realise this – you can hold a funeral service anywhere you like, within reason, and we’ve supported families who have made use of a variety of different buildings locally for services. Recently, we have organised services at venues including Salomons in Southborough and the Crowborough Community Centre.

In theory, you could consider a variety of different venues – from museums, to wedding barns, village halls, hotels, pubs and sports facilities – but the decision depends on the size of the funeral and where you’d like it to be located. We read recently that after, 70 years following the football team Burton Albion, Ken Leech became the first person to have a funeral service held in his honour at the Pirelli Stadium – home of Burton Albion. While the Stadium regularly hosts wakes, this is the first funeral service to take place there. And, for that family, it was entirely appropriate.

While weddings can be held outside in summer months, it could be possible to hold a funeral service outside too – particularly if that person was a lover of nature.

The funeral of Lisa Marie Presley recently took place in her childhood home, Graceland, and you could also hold a funeral service at home – although you would probably need a fair amount of space, depending on how many people are likely to attend.

A quick search online uncovers the story of a musical lady who had her funeral in her own home, next to her grand piano, with her family playing it during the ceremony.

We are flexible here at Tester & Jones and are ready to discuss any ideas which reflect your loved ones wishes and the sort of person they were.

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