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How to arrange a funeral in lockdown

There is no question that we are in unprecedented times and it has been tough for all of us to cope with the new normal, but those of us who have lost a loved one in such difficult times have been left with questions. One of the most important questions is how will I lay my loved one to rest?

We spoke to Barbara Scrimshaw and Edd Frost of Edd Frost and Daughters Family Funeral Directors in Banbury who give some guidance on arranging a funeral during lockdown.

“Covid 19 still means caring funerals for your loved ones, but with even more care.

As funeral directors we have a moral obligation to fulfil families wishes for their loved ones, balanced with a care of duty for families and our own funeral staff.

When arranging a funeral currently, during these testing times, the fundamental options and choices still remain the same with regards to burial, cremation or natural burial. Due to required social distancing measures we are restricted to a maximum of ten mourners attending funeral services within the Banbury area in respect to the crematoria and town council requirements.  This naturally effects the large gatherings that families may well have hoped for at this moment in time, however many families are using the time following, to plan and to celebrate the life of loved ones in the coming months ahead, when life gets a little more settled and restrictions may be lifted.

Following a death, once you have informed your nominated funeral director of your loved one’s decision, the funeral director will contact the deceased’s GP to request the correct paperwork in the case of cremation. The GP will then forward the completed medical certificate to the local registrar’s office. This will enable the family to make an appointment online to register the death.

At the dedicated time of your appointment the registrar will call you and handle the registration over the telephone. You will be given two links, one for the Tell Us Once Service, to notify various government departments of the death and the second link, for you to obtain certified copies of the death certificates.  These are costed at £11 per copy. The death certificates are required by banks, building societies and other investments organisations in order to close or amend any accounts.

With regards to making funeral arrangements at this time the funeral director will make contact with the family by telephone, Facetime, or Zoom to avoid any unnecessary close contact. Any forms requiring signatures will be e-mailed through which can then be returned by scanning back or arrangements made to collect. If scanning is not possible, you can take a photograph and send the photos of the signatures in that format.

Families may still provide clothing for their loved ones to be dressed within and chapel visits are permitted for immediate family only, by appointment only and restricted to two people at a time. If the deceased has been tested positive with Covid 19, it is with regret that the deceased’s own clothing or chapel visits are not permitted.  This is in line with our governing body for safety to our staff members.

Funeral services can still be personal to a loved one, whether religious, or, non-religious with music of choice (recorded music only at present) readings, poems and tributes. Although hymn books have been withdrawn from crematoria at present, we are still providing order of service sheets for families.

 Currently local crematoria are providing a free of charge web-cast of all funeral services should families decide to accept this service.  This enables more than the ten mourners allowed to attend in person to be part of the funeral service and can log in from home.  

With there being no church services permitted at present, all burials are graveside services only. This option can still be an intimate occasion and should family choose to have music, we can personally provide and fulfil this request. The Minister is therefore still able to give the same spiritual comfort families need at such a difficult time.

Recently restrictions have been lifted with regards to floral tributes and it is encouraging to see beautiful uplifting tributes presented upon loved ones’ coffin once more.

By reading this we hope that it may make things a little clearer and to show that although certain services, such as limousines and family bearing their loved ones, may not be available currently, the majority of choice and options are still available for families to give that very personal and loving send-off they require and deserve.”

If you need further advice or assistance with arranging a funeral, please call Edd Frost and Daughters on 01295 404004 or email office@eddfrostanddaughters.co.uk

Once the funeral has been organised, if you then need advice or assistance in dealing with your loved ones’ financial affairs, please call us on 01295 661556 or email sarahhorton@brethertons.co.uk or emmastewart@brethertons.co.uk because even though or offices are closed, we are open and here to support you.