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How Funerals Have Changed Since the Start of the Pandemic

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Published 28/01/2021
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How Many People Have Died with Coronavirus in the UK?

Sadly, this week has seen us reach the grim milestone of 100,000 UK victims of coronavirus. According to WalesOnline: ‘More than a third of all deaths registered in England and Wales in the week January 15 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate - the highest proportion since the pandemic began’.

In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at one of the unsung heroes of the pandemic, the Funeral Director, and discover how they have had to adapt to changes and restrictions in the way they offer their vital services to grieving families.

A Funeral Director’s Perspective

Most of us don’t even think about a Funeral Director until the tragic time arrives that we need one. Their profession is filled with taboos and things we don’t like to talk about in polite society. At the heart of every Funeral Director though is trust, compassion and dignity; quietly working behind the scenes to ensure our loved ones final wishes are met whilst meeting the needs of those left behind.

Christophers’ Family Funerals have served South Devon and Dartmoor since 1846 and during that time have had to face many changes to the way they work. In spite of their vast experience and proud history, nothing could prepare them for the ongoing pandemic we find ourselves living through.

Bringing family and friends together at a funeral service and/or a wake has always been and continues to be one of the main roles of a Funeral Director. Once we went into lockdown in March last year, that fundamental element of the funeral process was challenged like never before. How did the team at Christophers’ Family Funerals, and other Funeral Directors like them, react to the restrictions placed on funerals because of covid-19?

The Effect of the Lockdown on Funerals

Part of our role at is to speak with Funeral Directors up and down the country to assist them in placing their notices with us.

Every Funeral Director we have spoken with over this past year has described the enormous pressures placed on them in trying to arrange a fitting send off with restrictions in place on things like paying your last respects, attending a funeral or collecting donations in memory of loved ones. Above that they have talked about the devastating impact restrictions on attendance at funerals and lack of physical contact has had on them and the families they arrange funerals for.
Tom Meek from Christophers’ Family Funerals, said: “My colleague, Damien Fletcher, would call me after every service to express how hollow he felt watching the families going their separate ways without any human contact. There were a few times that he felt overcome with helplessness at not being able to support people in the ways that we have done for many years.

“Technology has helped a lot with the ability to be able to webcast services, record services, publish notices online and share orders of service via email for people to be part of the service in the protection of their own home.

“There are so many ways we are finding to include family and friends in the remembrance of their loved ones using technology, from sharing a significant photo of the person who has died to lighting a candle or playing their favourite song at a specific time. Whether or not friends and family can see each other, knowing that they are still able to take part is very powerful.”

Tom continued: “We now have several different ways in which we can give families the opportunity to have their own unique way of holding a funeral service, even though numbers are still restricted to a maximum of 30. These services have become very intimate as there is more scope for people to express themselves surrounded only by close family and a select group of friends.

“We will continue to support every family that we look after and help them through this extraordinarily difficult time, without compromising on giving their loved ones a fitting send-off.”

How has Helped the Team at Christophers’ Family Funerals

One of our goals is to support Funeral Directors in any way we can, as they navigate through the pandemic. Working with Christophers’, we are able to provide them with a link on their website so friends and family can easily find their funeral notices and make donations in memory, leave tributes and light candles, as well as share memories and photographs of happier times. Through their online notices, Christophers’ are able to share details on the webcasting or videos of a funeral as well as providing comfort to the bereaved knowing their notices are seen by the people that matter to them.

Thank You

Thinking about the heart breaking numbers of deaths since the outbreak of covid, and confirmation the number of dead as a result of coronavirus has now surpassed 100,000; our heartfelt love and appreciation goes out to every single front line worker working tirelessly throughout.

Our thoughts are always with those who have lost loved ones.
We would like to thank the team at Christophers’ Family Funeral Service for taking the time to talk with us for this blog. We hope you have enjoyed reading and have gained some insight into the thoughts of Funeral Directors throughout the UK, in fact the world, just now.

For more information on Christophers' Family Funerals, visit their website here.

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