Current Research

Very little research has been carried out to establish what constitutes a “good” funeral.  Sarah Jones, from Full Circle Funerals, is leading a study to identify which aspects of funerals people find helpful and to see whether funerals have an impact on long-term well-being. It is hoped that this knowledge will then be used to better understand how best to support people. Information about the first phase of this research can be found below.

During the first phase of the project, we asked only very open questions (because we wanted people to share their accounts without direction from the interviewer). Unprompted, many people spoke about how a body was cared for by funeral directors. These accounts have lead to more questions, which we are now exploring in more detail.

Ideas, Concerns and Expectations

We aim to understand people’s ideas. concerns and expectations about how someone is physically cared for after they have died. We are looking for people who would be happy to be interviewed (by telephone or video call). We will ask you some questions about your thoughts and feelings about personal care for someone specific who has died (in the UK and before the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic).

If you are interested in taking part then please get in touch on 01943 262626 or [email protected] You will also find more information on the Research Study Flier and Participant Information Sheet.

Funeral Director Views and Practice

We also wish to understand Funeral Director’s views and practice regarding the way that they look after people in their care.  Care practices are not well understood and might vary from place to place.  We are very keen to understand how independent Funeral Directors practiced prior to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic.  We would therefore be very grateful if as many funeral care professionals as possible would complete a anonymous survey to share their experience.

Specialists in providing for humanist serices. Civil celebrant available with Full Circle.
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Previous Research

In the first phase of our research project “Funeral Experts by Experience – What Matters to Them”, more than fifty bereaved people volunteered to be interviewed about their funeral experiences.  The report below details the five factors which were highlighted by the people we spoke to and makes several recommendations.  We are currently working towards a design for the second phase of research, which will seek to establish whether the presence or absence of these factors has an impact on long-term wellbeing.  Please get in touch if you have any comments or if you would like to know more.

More information can be found in the documents below and if you have any questions or are interested in taking part, please contact Sarah on 01943 262626 or [email protected]


Specialists in providing for humanist serices. Civil celebrant available with Full Circle.
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Research Committee

The research project is supported, and endorsed by, an advisory committee with representatives from the University of York, Leeds Beckett university, ICCM (Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management), the Good Funeral Guide and SAIF (the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors).

Prior to starting Full Circle Funerals in 2016, Sarah worked as a doctor and in a number of health and social care settings.

She has led, and contributed to, number of clinical research projects which have been published in peer reviewed medical journals and presented at international medical conferences.

Julie Rigg

Dr Julie Rugg is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of York. Her research interests include cemetery history and cemetery policy. The Cemetery Research Group has been at the forefront of new research in this area since its inception in 1991. Dr Rugg has undertaken research on behalf of organisations including Historic England, the Greater London Authority. She has written widely on a number of issues including cemetery law, conservation and management policy and was the principal expert advisor to the 2000/2001 Parliamentary inquiry on cemeteries. She currently sits on the Burial and Cremation Advisory Group at the Ministry of Justice.

Terry Tennens

Whether it’s commenting on changes in legislation, consulting with other like-minded organisations or providing a comment for the media – Terry is committed to ensuring the views of independent funeral directors are heard throughout the UK.Together with the team at SAIF Business Centre, he is also a strong advocate for professional development and a believer that funeral directors must have access to expert advice and support if they are to continue to provide a service of the highest standard.An MBA post graduate, Terry previously served as founding Chief Executive of International Justice Mission UK, part of IJM Global, the largest anti-slavery organisation in the world.

Fran Hall

Fran Hall is a former award winning funeral director who now runs the not for profit social enterprise company, the Good Funeral Guide CIC. The GFG is wholly independent from the funeral industry and is dedicated to supporting, empowering and representing the interests of dying and bereaved people living in the UK.

Julie Dunk

Julie Dunk is Chief Executive of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management. Julie has been working in Cemeteries and Crematoria for over 20 years and has a wealth of experience in all matters relating to funerals.

With over 25 years’ experience in events delivery, in public and private sectors, since 2007, Ruth has taught events management. Her PhD study is on the role of events in church culture. Ruth is a priest in the Church of England.

Specialists in providing for humanist serices. Civil celebrant available with Full Circle.
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