Beautiful funeral readings and poems for the non-religious

by Sarah Jones

Poems and readings can be incredibly comforting at times of loss and their words and meaning can make them a very special part of a funeral. There are lots of well-known readings and bible verses that are traditionally used at funerals. If you are looking for a non-religious alternative, however, there are some beautiful poems to choose from. Here are 7 of our favourites – we have many other suggestions so please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like more ideas.

  1. Not, How Did He Die, But How Did He Live?

By Summer Sandercox

 This short funeral verse is an uplifting poem about celebrating life and remembering someone who has made a positive impact on those around them.

Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of his birth.
Nor what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with words of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away?

Flower seperator
  1. Death (If I Should Go)

By Joyce Grenfell

Joyce Grenfell was a British actress and satirical writer who became well known for her wry humour. This poem is often used as a funeral verse because of its sense of fun and positivity.

If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice

But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must
Parting is Hell
But life goes on
So sing as well.

  1. Roads Go Ever On

By J. R. R. Tolkien

Life is often described as a journey and funerals are a time to reflect on this, making this passage from The Lord of the Rings a popular choice for funerals, particularly non-denominational or humanist ceremonies. In this beautiful reading, Bilbo acknowledges that his journey is complete.

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

Roads go ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

  1. Dear Lovely Death

by Langston Hughes

 We chose to include this poem because it introduces the idea of continuing bonds. You can read more about this on the Continuing Bonds section of our website. We have also written a blog What are Continuing Bonds which talks about how ,when someone dies, our relationship with them doesn’t end, but it changes.  This poem talks about the way things take on new significance after someone has died.

Dear lovely Death
That taketh all things under wing—
Never to kill—
Only to change
Into some other thing
This suffering flesh,
To make it either more or less,
But not again the same—
Dear lovely Death,
Change is thy other name.

  1. Funeral Blues

BY W H Auden

This tender poem by Yorkshire-born writer W H Auden was introduced to a new generation by John Hannah in the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral. It is full of emotion and can be incredibly moving when used as a funeral reading. Although the tone is far from uplifting, it can be helpful to some people to acknowledge the hugeness of their grief and this poem does that very well.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let airplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message “He is Dead”,
Put Crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday-rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk , my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

  1. She Is Gone (can also be read as He Is Gone)

By David Harkins

People often choose this gentle poem for the funeral of a mother. It was in fact read at the funeral of the Queen Mother. The words can be changed to make it suitable for a father’s funeral too. We think it’s a lovely verse to celebrate the life of anyone, not just a parent.

You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

  1. No Matter What

By Debi Gliori

Debi Gliori’s children’s book No Matter What deals with the big worries that little children often have. In the book, Small’s mother says reassuringly, “I’ll always love you, no matter what.” The excerpt below can be used as a tender reading for a funeral where young children may be present. It is also very comforting for all ages.

Small said, “But what about when we are dead and gone, will you love me then, does love go on?”

…Large (replied) “Look at the stars, how they shine and glow, some of the stars died a long time ago. Still they shine in the evening skies, for you see…love like starlight never dies…”

These are just a few of the many non-denominational readings that can be chosen for a funeral. Sometimes, the person who has died will have had a favourite book, author or poem and this could have significance. They may even have shared an idea when talking about their funeral wishes. If you are thinking about making and sharing your own funeral wishes, you can find more information on our Funeral Plans and Wishes page.

by Sarah Jones

Poems and readings can be incredibly comforting at times of loss and their words and meaning can make them a very special part of a funeral. There are lots of well-known readings and bible verses that are traditionally used at funerals. If you are looking for a non-religious alternative, however, there are some beautiful poems to choose from. Here are 7 of our favourites – we have many other suggestions so please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like more ideas.

Pebble memory jar
  1. Not, How Did He Die, But How Did He Live?

By Summer Sandercox

 This short funeral verse is an uplifting poem about celebrating life and remembering someone who has made a positive impact on those around them.

Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of his birth.
Nor what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with words of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away?

Flower seperator
  1. Roads Go Ever On

By J. R. R. Tolkien

Life is often described as a journey and funerals are a time to reflect on this, making this passage from The Lord of the Rings a popular choice for funerals, particularly non-denominational or humanist ceremonies. In this beautiful reading, Bilbo acknowledges that his journey is complete.

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

Roads go ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Openings

By Lucy Clay

Lucy Clay

Funeral directors are generally kind and compassionate people and want to give people the best possible support. However, like everyone they come with their own personal and professional experiences and some will be more confident in supporting people from the LGBTQ+ community than others.

What is different?

Many members of the LGBTQ+ community have experienced their romantic relationships being dismissed or misinterpreted. Often this is by individuals with no ill-intent, but sometimes some people struggle to see the whole picture.

Although misrepresentation is often not intended to cause offense, it can cause the feeling of not feeling acknowledged or respected. Extending this to funerals, I believe that the best way to ensure that our funeral needs are met, is to make sure that we do what we can to make sure that the right people lead the arrangements and that our wishes are known.

Who will make the funeral arrangements?

I know that some people worry about how they will be represented after they have died; those that are tasked with making funeral arrangements may not create an event that truly reflects their life and who was important to them (and in what capacity).

In theory, anyone can arrange and pay for a funeral.  However, it is usual for the executors named in a will to take responsibility for the funeral arrangements.  They may choose to delegate the responsibility to someone else and simply receive the funeral invoice, which can be paid from any assets in the estate.

If someone dies without a will (this is called “intestate”) then arrangements may fall to their next of kin, or anyone else who steps forward to make arrangements, and isn’t contested.

Funeral choices and wishes

Every funeral is unique, and it really is possible to create an event that truly reflects the beliefs, values, spirituality and personality of the person who has died.  Some people from the LGBTQ+ community may want the funeral to reflect their relationships and identity whereas others may choose for this aspect of their lives to be relatively private and understated.

The key is that the funeral choices reflect the person who has died and are helpful for their friends and family – and that they are not made by the funeral director.  If you know what you would like (or not like) for your funeral that we would strongly encourage you to write it down and let people close to you know.  This may be one or two simple wishes, or a more elaborate plan – any level of instruction is helpful and fulfilling those wishes is likely to be very consoling for the people who matter the most to you.

If you aren’t sure what you want, then I would encourage you to read “Funerals Your Way” – a funeral planning guide written by my colleague.  It is an easy read, which highlights your choices and prompts you to consider what you think works best for you.

Your funeral wishes can be included in a will, or as a separate document.  It is important to know that they are not legally binding however, in more cases than not, they are fulfilled by those responsible for making the funeral arrangements.

Some specifics about dressing and personal care

What we wear can be an important part of how we express ourselves.  Your funeral director should offer to dress you in your own clothes, so if there’s something specific that you’d like to wear, a particular style you’d like honouring (or one that you’d rather was avoided completely) it can be helpful to record these wishes. If someone is going to be cremated, then there are some restrictions about what they can wear (to minimise harmful emissions) but it is often possible to find an alternative in a natural material which will have the same effect.

Some people find it helpful and important to be involved in physically caring for someone after they have died.  This may include styling their hair, applying their make-up, or painting their nails in the manner they liked best. It can also include washing a person and performing other aspects of personal care for them. In most circumstances, your funeral director should facilitate this in the manner that works best for you. If it is important for you to be cared for by individuals of a particular gender, then this is usually possible.

Confidentiality

Funeral directors understand the importance of confidentiality and if they are a member of a trade association then they will be bound to their confidentiality standards.   They will aim to keep confidential information private and will not share any unnecessary information about gender, sexuality, personal and sexual relationships with colleagues, other professionals or anyone involved on the funeral arrangements.

My advice

  • Write a will and appoint an executor that you trust to respect your wishes
  • Talk to people close to you about what you want and why
  • Document your funeral wishes and leave them somewhere safe (and easy to find)
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By Paul Fogarty

When my Uncle Tom died, some years ago, I rang my cousin to offer sympathy and love, to share a few memories and to see if she and her sisters needed any help with the practical details. Coming from a family with an infamously sweet tooth, and knowing my cousin’s particular weakness for cake, I teased: “I’m a dab-hand at funeral cake, you know!” Her response was immediate and positive, and I found myself unexpectedly responsible for some memorial baking.

Like my uncle and cousin, I grew up with the idea that providing for someone is an everyday opportunity to show love. My Grandma loved baking, and we never went short of cake, pies, puddings or scones. She passed that love to her daughters and grandchildren. When my cousin came among us with a tray and asked, “Would you like some of the funeral cake that Paul’s made?” nobody batted an eyelid. It was the perfect expression of a family culture of providing and sharing, of finding joy in sweetness, even when the times are sad ones.

As a food writer, I have come across recipes and anecdotes about funeral cakes in several sources. Although I was surprised at first, the idea of a cake that marks the passing of someone loved and respected has come to make more and more sense to me. We mark so many important moments with food. After the excesses of Victorian mourning and the traumatic losses of the world wars, it was perhaps natural that we tried as a culture to minimise all expressions of grief and loss and to avoid reflecting on the reality of death at all. Recipes for funeral foods were lost, as we did away with anything that seemed to normalise contact with death. I have perceived a change, though, in the last thirty years or so. Alienated from traditional forms of mourning, people are looking again at how to mark the importance of lives lived well and love that remains.

For many Christian families, especially Catholics, it is common to celebrate funerals with the Eucharist. Buried within the layers of meaning and theology, the Eucharist is at heart a ritualised meal. The community gathers around a table to share bread and wine. Many other religious communities will be used to sharing food at home or around funeral services. In Wales and the English midlands, it was once common to employ the services of “sin-eaters,” who were given food over the body of the person who has died and were believed to consume their wrongdoing with that food, thus ensuring an effective transition to the afterlife. The origin of the practice is not well understood, although it only died out in the later years of the nineteenth century. It is believed to be the forerunner of Victorian and more modern funeral cakes.

The recipes I’ve come across in my research fall broadly into three categories, according to their function: to announce a death, to thank guests for coming, and to show care for the bereaved. The first of these were usually simple shortcakes. Bakers and confectioners across northern England baked batches of such cakes, often impressed with designs such as crosses or hearts. Each was individually wrapped in paper printed with biblical verses or reassuring poetry and sealed with wax. Often, they would be delivered door to door by the baker’s boy, who informed the recipient of the passing and the funeral arrangements. I have seen examples of wrappers from many northern mill- and mining towns, so we can reasonably conclude these biscuits were relatively inexpensive.

At the other end of the scale is the recipe for funeral cakes to be found in Julie Duff’s wonderful book, Cakes Regional & Traditional. These are delicate sponge fingers, flavoured with fresh lemon peel and dried fruit. That they were, according to Duff, “served with sherry or wine” indicates they were enjoyed at wealthier homes than the biscuits just mentioned. These were offered as refreshment to those who had come to the funeral – a touch of luxury to thank people for coming.

Readers with Irish connections will be familiar with waking, and the importance it has in Irish culture. As soon as it is known that a member of the community has passed on, friends, neighbours and family will start to arrive at the family home to comfort the bereaved, pay their respects and keep vigil around the body. Most will bring a plate of sandwiches, a cake or some scones: nobody would expect the bereaved to cater for such numbers immediately after a death. The third sort of funeral cake I’ve come across comes from this desire to look after the newly-bereaved. Often, they are loaf cakes, easily sliced up for many visitors. Tea loaves predominate, as they are quick to make, requiring no time to “mature,” and are made from the kind of staple ingredients most home bakers have readily at hand. Given that the funeral will usually take place within a couple of days of the death, tea loaves make economic sense. They keep better than sponge cakes, so any left after the wake will do for the funeral tea, too.

To return, then, to my uncle’s funeral and the absolute right-ness of making a cake to mark his passing. What made it so right was our family’s experience of taking pleasure in sweet foods. I wonder what foods make sense to you and your experience of loss. To make a cake for family on these occasions is both a service and an honour, and I find the process deeply involving. Although it is a simple and familiar thing to be doing, it takes on particular significance. The actions, the smells the recipes, can all be evocative of the life of the person we’ve lost. Food, be it a cake or something else that it appropriate, is a gift of ourself: we have put time and care into it, and we are providing both real and symbolic nourishment to those we care for. We are doing for our bereaved family and friends what the person who has died is no longer able to do.

When you are planning how to mark the passing of those who have been significant in your own life, you might want to consider what part food should play. Who has fed you, and how? What foods speak to you of the love you’ve known, the joyful memories and stand-out moments? What foods might express your love and care for those who are hurting? I hope my reflections might provide a helpful starting-point for your own journey.

Paul Fogarty lives in the north of England, where he loves to have people gather around his table, to share good times and good food. He learnt to cook in school: he learnt to eat in France. He has hosted a private dining club for the last 28 years and we would encourage you to read his wonderful blog

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By Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones

I became a funeral director because I believe that funerals are a very important opportunity for people to gain a growing acceptance of their loss, and to set the tone for a more positive bereavement.  Everyone we support has different needs that could potentially be met during the funeral arrangement process or by the funeral itself.  As a funeral director, I feel our contribution is to create a space for people to understand what would be helpful for them and to support people to create the event that is right for that unique individual and their family and friends.

In May 2018, I supported a lady to arrange her father’s funeral.  We met again in August 2018 because her mother had died, and she needed to plan her funeral.  In conversation, she mentioned that since May she had been involved in three other funerals in other parts of the country.  She told me that she had shared what she had learnt while arranging her father funeral and had been able to empower others as a result.  She also said that is was “like ripples on a pond” because the people who attended those funerals remarked how they identified with some of what they had seen and would hope to make similar choices when they were making funeral arrangements.

This conversation was the starting point for my book “Funerals Your Way – A Person Centred Approach to Planning a Funeral”, which I self-published in 2018.  I wrote this book to share with people what is possible and to provide a step-by-step decision-making framework to make the task of articulating funeral wishes, or planning a funeral, seem accessible and help people to feel more in control.  While articulating the choices and possibilities, I was very aware that I did not want the reader to feel that there was any expectation to personalise everything or participate, engage and reflect the individual if that is not right for them.  I hope that I have shared possibilities to create opportunities, not add more pressure to perform!

In the studio recording the audiobook

I hope that is helps people who would like to express their own funeral wishes or need to plan a funeral for someone who has already died.  Some people find it very important to articulate their wishes and the boxes at the end of every chapter are designed to help people to write down their thoughts as they evolve.  Some people who I have met are not able to speak to anyone close to them about their funeral and I hope that this book can help some of those people to still feel able to express their views but might not feel confident to approach a funeral director to do so.

I have also written it to be helpful for people who would like to feel more prepared because they know someone close to them is going to die soon.  Many people describe feeling out of control after someone has died and being able to gather information, understand the process and options can help to manage that.  Since the book was published in November 2018, I have received emails from people who have told me that the book made the process seem manageable, positive, and allowed them to see that the funeral could be a positive and helpful event, rather than someone that they simply “need to get through”.

I hope that is helps people who would like to express their own funeral wishes or need to plan a funeral for someone who has already died.  Some people find it very important to articulate their wishes and the boxes at the end of every chapter are designed to help people to write down their thoughts as they evolve.  Some people who I have met are not able to speak to anyone close to them about their funeral and I hope that this book can help some of those people to still feel able to express their views but might not feel confident to approach a funeral director to do so.

I have also written it to be helpful for people who would like to feel more prepared because they know someone close to them is going to die soon.  Many people describe feeling out of control after someone has died and being able to gather information, understand the process and options can help to manage that.  Since the book was published in November 2018, I have received emails from people who have told me that the book made the process seem manageable, positive, and allowed them to see that the funeral could be a positive and helpful event, rather than someone that they simply “need to get through”.

The first edition of Funerals Your Way on Kindle

In 2021, I wanted to update the book to include more information about green funerals, funerals in the digital age and to include what I had learnt from people about supporting wellbeing after bereavement. I have also included some changes suggested by people who were kind enough to give me their feedback after reading the first version.

I was very fortunate that a local publisher wanted to publish the second edition and it is now available from any bookshop in the world – which is wonderful because I am a strong believer in supporting local, independent businesses whenever possible.

There seems to be a growing awareness that it is helpful to discuss our funeral wishes with those close to us and it is something that people are increasingly being encouraged to do.  I believe that this is very difficult to do without a basic understanding of funerals, because without that you don’t have the shared language to communicate with.  “What would you like for your funeral?” is a very big and intimidating question.  However, “It would be helpful for me to know how you would like your beliefs to be reflected in your funeral?” or “Do you know that you can have a funeral service almost anywhere.  Do you have any thoughts about where you would like us to gather?”  are softer and more likely to result in a meaningful conversation.  People who have read the book have told me that they felt more confident to ask the important questions and subsequently the burden of “not knowing” has been lifted.

If you do ever decide to read “Funerals Your Way”, then please do get in touch to let me know whether you have found it helpful or whether you think it could be improved in any way.  All the book proceeds are donated to local charities and this year they are in support of The Swan Song Project – a wonderful Yorkshire based charity which write songs with people reaching the end of their lives, or after bereavement.

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By Sarah Jones

We are thrilled to announce that we have become the first UK funeral director to gain B Corp certification. The accreditation officially recognises us for our positive environmental and social impact and we join big names in the B Corp movement including Finisterre, Patagonia, Bol, Dash Water and The Body Shop – as well as many smaller companies too.

All B Corps have one thing in common – we put huge significance on meeting the highest possible standards of social, community and environmental impact.

 

What is a B Corp

The concept of B Corps was launched in the United States in 2006 and there are now over 3,500 certified B Corps across 74 countries.  There are more than 400 in the UK.

B Corp is short for ‘benefit corporation’ because businesses with B Corp status seek to be a force for good and use their role as a business to solve social and environmental challenges.

 

How do you become a B Corp?

B Corp accredited businesses have met very high social and environmental standards and have proven themselves to demonstrate both transparency and legal accountability.

Far from being a tick box exercise, B Corps need to demonstrate that they are taking meaningful action to make a difference. The process is not straightforward and isn’t for the faint-hearted. It will force you to look at every area of your business in detail.

The assessment process looks at five areas: workers, customers, environment, community and governance. Preparation took us many months as we looked at all our processes and really focused on how we do what we do, why we do it and what influence we have on others – whether those people are in our business, work alongside us in our industry and community or come to us for help to arrange a funeral and for ongoing bereavement support.

Once we had prepared everything and had made absolutely sure that we could confidently invite scrutiny from the B Corp assessors, we underwent independent evaluation which included interviews and submissions of evidence.

Yes, we are a B Corp now but this is an ongoing process and we will need to recertify in there years’ time. For that reason, we will continue to monitor ourselves, talk about how we can improve and look for opportunities to be a force for good.

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What it means to us

Becoming a B Corp is a huge achievement for a business of our size and shows just how hard we are working to ensure we have a positive impact on the people we support, the community, our team and the world in which we live and work.

We are particularly proud to be the first UK funeral business to become accredited and this has only been possible thanks to the enthusiasm and sheer inspiration of our lovely team.

The accreditation process is rigorous and has seen us being assessed on a whole range of measures such as how we create benefit for our employees and the communities where we work, how we respect the environment and our positive impact on the bereaved people we support.”

 

What it means to our clients

People generally are becoming much more aware of the ethics of the businesses they choose to use or visit. As a funeral director, we are looking after people at a very sensitive time in their lives and the personal nature of what we do means that those who are bereaved often want to be supported by people who share their values.

As an accredited B Corp, people know that the way we interact with them and the wider world matters to us. It matters so much to us that we have taken great lengths to challenge ourselves to be the best we possible can be.

We go out of our way to listen and to offer individualised support. If the environment is important to the person who died or those arranging the funeral, we have lots of ideas and low carbon options for green funerals. Whatever their priorities are, we go out of our way to help.

 

What next?

Becoming a B Corp has been a fascinating and exciting journey which has taught us so much about ourselves, our impact on others and our potential to become a force for good. We are constantly learning and will continue to review how we work, follow best practice and talk about what we can do better.

We are hugely committed to sharing what we have learnt with others who are on a similar journey and would welcome other businesses to contact us to talk about what we did and how we made it through the certification process.”

 

To receive our newsletters and information about new blogs – please sign up here.

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By Sarah Jones

We are thrilled to announce that we have become the first UK funeral director to gain B Corp certification. The accreditation officially recognises us for our positive environmental and social impact and we join big names in the B Corp movement including Finisterre, Patagonia, Bol, Dash Water and The Body Shop – as well as many smaller companies too.

All B Corps have one thing in common – we put huge significance on meeting the highest possible standards of social, community and environmental impact.

 

What is a B Corp

The concept of B Corps was launched in the United States in 2006 and there are now over 3,500 certified B Corps across 74 countries.  There are more than 400 in the UK.

B Corp is short for ‘benefit corporation’ because businesses with B Corp status seek to be a force for good and use their role as a business to solve social and environmental challenges.

 

How do you become a B Corp?

B Corp accredited businesses have met very high social and environmental standards and have proven themselves to demonstrate both transparency and legal accountability.

Far from being a tick box exercise, B Corps need to demonstrate that they are taking meaningful action to make a difference. The process is not straightforward and isn’t for the faint-hearted. It will force you to look at every area of your business in detail.

The assessment process looks at five areas: workers, customers, environment, community and governance. Preparation took us many months as we looked at all our processes and really focused on how we do what we do, why we do it and what influence we have on others – whether those people are in our business, work alongside us in our industry and community or come to us for help to arrange a funeral and for ongoing bereavement support.

Once we had prepared everything and had made absolutely sure that we could confidently invite scrutiny from the B Corp assessors, we underwent independent evaluation which included interviews and submissions of evidence.

Yes, we are a B Corp now but this is an ongoing process and we will need to recertify in there years’ time. For that reason, we will continue to monitor ourselves, talk about how we can improve and look for opportunities to be a force for good.

Flower seperator

What it means to us

Becoming a B Corp is a huge achievement for a business of our size and shows just how hard we are working to ensure we have a positive impact on the people we support, the community, our team and the world in which we live and work.

We are particularly proud to be the first UK funeral business to become accredited and this has only been possible thanks to the enthusiasm and sheer inspiration of our lovely team.

The accreditation process is rigorous and has seen us being assessed on a whole range of measures such as how we create benefit for our employees and the communities where we work, how we respect the environment and our positive impact on the bereaved people we support.”

 

What it means to our clients

People generally are becoming much more aware of the ethics of the businesses they choose to use or visit. As a funeral director, we are looking after people at a very sensitive time in their lives and the personal nature of what we do means that those who are bereaved often want to be supported by people who share their values.

As an accredited B Corp, people know that the way we interact with them and the wider world matters to us. It matters so much to us that we have taken great lengths to challenge ourselves to be the best we possible can be.

We go out of our way to listen and to offer individualised support. If the environment is important to the person who died or those arranging the funeral, we have lots of ideas and low carbon options for green funerals. Whatever their priorities are, we go out of our way to help.

 

What next?

Becoming a B Corp has been a fascinating and exciting journey which has taught us so much about ourselves, our impact on others and our potential to become a force for good. We are constantly learning and will continue to review how we work, follow best practice and talk about what we can do better.

We are hugely committed to sharing what we have learnt with others who are on a similar journey and would welcome other businesses to contact us to talk about what we did and how we made it through the certification process.”

 

To receive our newsletters and information about new blogs – please sign up here.

Flower seperator

By Sarah Jones

We are thrilled to announce that we have become the first UK funeral director to gain B Corp certification. The accreditation officially recognises us for our positive environmental and social impact and we join big names in the B Corp movement including Finisterre, Patagonia, Bol, Dash Water and The Body Shop – as well as many smaller companies too.

All B Corps have one thing in common – we put huge significance on meeting the highest possible standards of social, community and environmental impact.

 

What is a B Corp

The concept of B Corps was launched in the United States in 2006 and there are now over 3,500 certified B Corps across 74 countries.  There are more than 400 in the UK.

B Corp is short for ‘benefit corporation’ because businesses with B Corp status seek to be a force for good and use their role as a business to solve social and environmental challenges.

 

How do you become a B Corp?

B Corp accredited businesses have met very high social and environmental standards and have proven themselves to demonstrate both transparency and legal accountability.

Far from being a tick box exercise, B Corps need to demonstrate that they are taking meaningful action to make a difference. The process is not straightforward and isn’t for the faint-hearted. It will force you to look at every area of your business in detail.

The assessment process looks at five areas: workers, customers, environment, community and governance. Preparation took us many months as we looked at all our processes and really focused on how we do what we do, why we do it and what influence we have on others – whether those people are in our business, work alongside us in our industry and community or come to us for help to arrange a funeral and for ongoing bereavement support.

Once we had prepared everything and had made absolutely sure that we could confidently invite scrutiny from the B Corp assessors, we underwent independent evaluation which included interviews and submissions of evidence.

Yes, we are a B Corp now but this is an ongoing process and we will need to recertify in there years’ time. For that reason, we will continue to monitor ourselves, talk about how we can improve and look for opportunities to be a force for good.

Flower seperator

What it means to us

Becoming a B Corp is a huge achievement for a business of our size and shows just how hard we are working to ensure we have a positive impact on the people we support, the community, our team and the world in which we live and work.

We are particularly proud to be the first UK funeral business to become accredited and this has only been possible thanks to the enthusiasm and sheer inspiration of our lovely team.

The accreditation process is rigorous and has seen us being assessed on a whole range of measures such as how we create benefit for our employees and the communities where we work, how we respect the environment and our positive impact on the bereaved people we support.”

 

What it means to our clients

People generally are becoming much more aware of the ethics of the businesses they choose to use or visit. As a funeral director, we are looking after people at a very sensitive time in their lives and the personal nature of what we do means that those who are bereaved often want to be supported by people who share their values.

As an accredited B Corp, people know that the way we interact with them and the wider world matters to us. It matters so much to us that we have taken great lengths to challenge ourselves to be the best we possible can be.

We go out of our way to listen and to offer individualised support. If the environment is important to the person who died or those arranging the funeral, we have lots of ideas and low carbon options for green funerals. Whatever their priorities are, we go out of our way to help.

 

What next?

Becoming a B Corp has been a fascinating and exciting journey which has taught us so much about ourselves, our impact on others and our potential to become a force for good. We are constantly learning and will continue to review how we work, follow best practice and talk about what we can do better.

We are hugely committed to sharing what we have learnt with others who are on a similar journey and would welcome other businesses to contact us to talk about what we did and how we made it through the certification process.”

 

To receive our newsletters and information about new blogs – please sign up here.

Flower seperator

By Sarah Jones

We are thrilled to announce that we have become the first UK funeral director to gain B Corp certification. The accreditation officially recognises us for our positive environmental and social impact and we join big names in the B Corp movement including Finisterre, Patagonia, Bol, Dash Water and The Body Shop – as well as many smaller companies too.

All B Corps have one thing in common – we put huge significance on meeting the highest possible standards of social, community and environmental impact.

 

What is a B Corp

The concept of B Corps was launched in the United States in 2006 and there are now over 3,500 certified B Corps across 74 countries.  There are more than 400 in the UK.

B Corp is short for ‘benefit corporation’ because businesses with B Corp status seek to be a force for good and use their role as a business to solve social and environmental challenges.

 

How do you become a B Corp?

B Corp accredited businesses have met very high social and environmental standards and have proven themselves to demonstrate both transparency and legal accountability.

Far from being a tick box exercise, B Corps need to demonstrate that they are taking meaningful action to make a difference. The process is not straightforward and isn’t for the faint-hearted. It will force you to look at every area of your business in detail.

The assessment process looks at five areas: workers, customers, environment, community and governance. Preparation took us many months as we looked at all our processes and really focused on how we do what we do, why we do it and what influence we have on others – whether those people are in our business, work alongside us in our industry and community or come to us for help to arrange a funeral and for ongoing bereavement support.

Once we had prepared everything and had made absolutely sure that we could confidently invite scrutiny from the B Corp assessors, we underwent independent evaluation which included interviews and submissions of evidence.

Yes, we are a B Corp now but this is an ongoing process and we will need to recertify in there years’ time. For that reason, we will continue to monitor ourselves, talk about how we can improve and look for opportunities to be a force for good.

Flower seperator

What it means to us

Becoming a B Corp is a huge achievement for a business of our size and shows just how hard we are working to ensure we have a positive impact on the people we support, the community, our team and the world in which we live and work.

We are particularly proud to be the first UK funeral business to become accredited and this has only been possible thanks to the enthusiasm and sheer inspiration of our lovely team.

The accreditation process is rigorous and has seen us being assessed on a whole range of measures such as how we create benefit for our employees and the communities where we work, how we respect the environment and our positive impact on the bereaved people we support.”

 

What it means to our clients

People generally are becoming much more aware of the ethics of the businesses they choose to use or visit. As a funeral director, we are looking after people at a very sensitive time in their lives and the personal nature of what we do means that those who are bereaved often want to be supported by people who share their values.

As an accredited B Corp, people know that the way we interact with them and the wider world matters to us. It matters so much to us that we have taken great lengths to challenge ourselves to be the best we possible can be.

We go out of our way to listen and to offer individualised support. If the environment is important to the person who died or those arranging the funeral, we have lots of ideas and low carbon options for green funerals. Whatever their priorities are, we go out of our way to help.

 

What next?

Becoming a B Corp has been a fascinating and exciting journey which has taught us so much about ourselves, our impact on others and our potential to become a force for good. We are constantly learning and will continue to review how we work, follow best practice and talk about what we can do better.

We are hugely committed to sharing what we have learnt with others who are on a similar journey and would welcome other businesses to contact us to talk about what we did and how we made it through the certification process.”

 

To receive our newsletters and information about new blogs – please sign up here.

Flower seperator

When you are arranging a funeral

If you are arranging a funeral and it is important to you that people dress in a certain way, it will be helpful to those attending if you give some positive guidance about what is expected.  We would advise that you give people some direction on what you would like them to do “please wear a pop of colour”, rather than a less specific instruction such as “you don’t need to wear black”.

 

There is no right or wrong thing to suggest. Some people prefer everyone to be in black because they feel it is respectful. Some want people to dress in whatever way they feel most comfortable. Others have very specific ideas.

You might want everyone to wear a touch of pink because it was the favourite colour of the person who has died. You may choose to encourage everyone to dress as if they were going to a party so that it feels like a celebration. The person who died may even have made their own wishes known.  It might feel very meaningful to those attending to be wearing a specific colour, if they know that fulfils their funeral wishes.  They may even choose to go out an bug something in that colour to wear – and that process may be very consoling for them.

 

Whatever you decide, you should feel comfortable sharing these wishes with others. Having said that, it’s unlikely that you will want to phone around everyone who might turn up. Choose a few people to share your preferences with and ask them to be responsible for making sure everyone who might be there knows what is expected. It is also perfectly acceptable to share details of the arrangements, including dress code, by email or text.  If you are placing a notice in the paper, creating an online memorial page or using social media to share details of the funeral then this would also be a great place to give instructions.

Don’t spend time worrying about what people might think about your requests if they are specific. People like to know what is expected of them and if they know a particular colour has meaning, then taking time to choose something will be a way for them to engage emotionally before the funeral and participate more fully on the day.

Dress codes for children

If you have a specific dress code, you will probably want it to apply to children as well. If you are attending a funeral with children and are unsure what they should wear, choose something smart and understated if possible.

Dressing for the weather

The time of year will have some influence on what you choose to wear. If it is a very hot day, heavy dark clothing may be uncomfortable. Make sensible decisions so that you don’t feel too hot or cold. If you have something black that is very thick and warm and something navy which is lighter and cooler, choose the navy outfit on a hot day.

What not to wear at a funeral

If there is no clear request to wear something colourful, choose subdued colours and dress smartly. It is rarely a good idea to wear, trainers, jeans, caps or anything too casual. If in doubt, dress respectfully and ensure your appearance is understated.

Your funeral wishes

If you are planning your own funeral, give some thought to how you would like people to dress. Would you like everyone to turn up in red because you always enjoy wearing a good splash of red? If what people wear will help them remember you with affection and add a personal touch to the proceedings, consider making your feelings known to those closest to you.

 

To receive our newsletters and information about new blogs – please sign up here.

By Sarah Jones

We are thrilled to announce that we have become the first UK funeral director to gain B Corp certification. The accreditation officially recognises us for our positive environmental and social impact and we join big names in the B Corp movement including Finisterre, Patagonia, Bol, Dash Water and The Body Shop – as well as many smaller companies too.

All B Corps have one thing in common – we put huge significance on meeting the highest possible standards of social, community and environmental impact.

 

What is a B Corp

The concept of B Corps was launched in the United States in 2006 and there are now over 3,500 certified B Corps across 74 countries.  There are more than 400 in the UK.

B Corp is short for ‘benefit corporation’ because businesses with B Corp status seek to be a force for good and use their role as a business to solve social and environmental challenges.

 

How do you become a B Corp?

B Corp accredited businesses have met very high social and environmental standards and have proven themselves to demonstrate both transparency and legal accountability.

Far from being a tick box exercise, B Corps need to demonstrate that they are taking meaningful action to make a difference. The process is not straightforward and isn’t for the faint-hearted. It will force you to look at every area of your business in detail.

The assessment process looks at five areas: workers, customers, environment, community and governance. Preparation took us many months as we looked at all our processes and really focused on how we do what we do, why we do it and what influence we have on others – whether those people are in our business, work alongside us in our industry and community or come to us for help to arrange a funeral and for ongoing bereavement support.

Once we had prepared everything and had made absolutely sure that we could confidently invite scrutiny from the B Corp assessors, we underwent independent evaluation which included interviews and submissions of evidence.

Yes, we are a B Corp now but this is an ongoing process and we will need to recertify in there years’ time. For that reason, we will continue to monitor ourselves, talk about how we can improve and look for opportunities to be a force for good.

Flower seperator

What it means to us

Becoming a B Corp is a huge achievement for a business of our size and shows just how hard we are working to ensure we have a positive impact on the people we support, the community, our team and the world in which we live and work.

We are particularly proud to be the first UK funeral business to become accredited and this has only been possible thanks to the enthusiasm and sheer inspiration of our lovely team.

The accreditation process is rigorous and has seen us being assessed on a whole range of measures such as how we create benefit for our employees and the communities where we work, how we respect the environment and our positive impact on the bereaved people we support.”

 

What it means to our clients

People generally are becoming much more aware of the ethics of the businesses they choose to use or visit. As a funeral director, we are looking after people at a very sensitive time in their lives and the personal nature of what we do means that those who are bereaved often want to be supported by people who share their values.

As an accredited B Corp, people know that the way we interact with them and the wider world matters to us. It matters so much to us that we have taken great lengths to challenge ourselves to be the best we possible can be.

We go out of our way to listen and to offer individualised support. If the environment is important to the person who died or those arranging the funeral, we have lots of ideas and low carbon options for green funerals. Whatever their priorities are, we go out of our way to help.

 

What next?

Becoming a B Corp has been a fascinating and exciting journey which has taught us so much about ourselves, our impact on others and our potential to become a force for good. We are constantly learning and will continue to review how we work, follow best practice and talk about what we can do better.

We are hugely committed to sharing what we have learnt with others who are on a similar journey and would welcome other businesses to contact us to talk about what we did and how we made it through the certification process.”

 

To receive our newsletters and information about new blogs – please sign up here.

Flower seperator

When you are arranging a funeral

If you are arranging a funeral and it is important to you that people dress in a certain way, it will be helpful to those attending if you give some positive guidance about what is expected.  We would advise that you give people some direction on what you would like them to do “please wear a pop of colour”, rather than a less specific instruction such as “you don’t need to wear black”.

 

There is no right or wrong thing to suggest. Some people prefer everyone to be in black because they feel it is respectful. Some want people to dress in whatever way they feel most comfortable. Others have very specific ideas.

You might want everyone to wear a touch of pink because it was the favourite colour of the person who has died. You may choose to encourage everyone to dress as if they were going to a party so that it feels like a celebration. The person who died may even have made their own wishes known.  It might feel very meaningful to those attending to be wearing a specific colour, if they know that fulfils their funeral wishes.  They may even choose to go out an bug something in that colour to wear – and that process may be very consoling for them.

 

Whatever you decide, you should feel comfortable sharing these wishes with others. Having said that, it’s unlikely that you will want to phone around everyone who might turn up. Choose a few people to share your preferences with and ask them to be responsible for making sure everyone who might be there knows what is expected. It is also perfectly acceptable to share details of the arrangements, including dress code, by email or text.  If you are placing a notice in the paper, creating an online memorial page or using social media to share details of the funeral then this would also be a great place to give instructions.

Don’t spend time worrying about what people might think about your requests if they are specific. People like to know what is expected of them and if they know a particular colour has meaning, then taking time to choose something will be a way for them to engage emotionally before the funeral and participate more fully on the day.

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