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Remembrance Sunday

I was very proud to be part of the Remembrance Day Parade that took place at the weekend. On behalf of everyone here at Roseberry’s, I laid a wreath down at the Cenotaph. This was a great honour and privilege to be part of.

 

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Zetland FM

I was invited back this week to be a guest on Zetland FM, something that is a great experience. Julie and I spoke about pre-payment plans on the show. This included where the money goes, what can you plan, the costs involved, why prices go up and how important it is to talk about planning your own funeral.

Should you wish to listen to the show, the link below gives the hour slot that I was in. For any more information, or just a chat about it please get in contact with us.

 

Zetland FM – Prepayment Plans

 

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Marske Open Day

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Marske Open Day

This has been a very exciting time for all involved within Roseberry Funeral Service. We have recently launched our sister shop within Marske.

It has been a long process and the whole place needed completely taking back and re-doing but now we have a wonderful new premises. We have created a place where we hope people will feel at ease and a dedicated chapel of rest. It was very important to all of us that anyone that wanted to come and see their loved ones could do so within Marske.

The official opening day was on a wet and windy Tuesday 29th March. We invited all the local businesses around, ward councillors, local ministers and people from the general public. We have had Jeremy Gartland from Zetland FM there to officially open us and Father Pat Smith to bless our chapel of rest.

We had a very special attraction that day with our motorbike hearse outside. This caused a lot of interest and many came to talk to us and take photographs. This was to show one of the many different options that people have when planning a funeral.

If anyone missed out on coming to have a look and meeting us, please feel free to come by.

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Remembrance Day

Today it was a great honour to be involved with the Remembrance Day  Parade of Redcar. It was a lovely service at the cenotaph, even the rain stopped for a bit!

Here are some of the pictures of everyone there today

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Funeral Poverty

Funeral Poverty

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Looking at the research by the University of Bath and at societies like the Quaker Social Action and Dying Matters, the need to talk about Funeral Poverty is increasing. Its not just talking that is important though, the time for action against this is now.

What is funeral poverty? In 2014 it was estimated that a staggering 100,000 people couldn’t afford to die. I personally think this is a very low figure and does not go into the full story. Many people are struggling to meet the costs of living and do not plan for their own funeral. When someone in the family does pass away, inevitably in these situations, there is no money to pay for a funeral. There are agencies that can help but little is known about them. The one that I have most involvement with is the Department of Works and Pensions.  For people that are married and receiving benefits there is the Bereavement Payment (up to £2000). If you are not married or a different relation to the deceased there is Social Fund (cost of burial or cremation and £700 towards funeral costs). In my experience it is the Social fund that has the most applications. The amounts given for both are outdated and can still leave a balance to be paid.

It’s not just the people receiving benefits that struggle financially on a daily basis and when needing to pay for a funeral. The cost of living these days is high and many people do not have savings or a disposable income to hand. It is also these people that I feel need the financial help.

The Quaker Social Action has been a driving force in brining funeral poverty to light. A fair funeral pledge was agreed in order to help people make a decision when it comes to selecting a funeral director. With the pledge, each funeral director is committed to:

 

  1. Recognise funerals can be expensive and many people struggle with the cost.

    2. Make our most affordable funeral package visible to the public, including third party costs.

    3. Charge clear prices for goods and services so people know what they’re buying. Communicate prices in initial conversations and prominently display full price lists.

 

I am one of the funeral directors that has agreed to the pledge. I always feel that I can do more though, and have ensured my prices are the lowest around but they are set fairly.

Many people have asked me “Why are you so cheap?” The answer to this:

I’m not cheap I’m fair in my pricing and because I can be. I don’t have the big overheads of other companies so why charge the same amount. I understand that people can struggle with costs and that is why I have different funeral “packages” available. From the direct cremation, direct cremation plus service, simple funeral to a bespoke service, still put together with fair prices.

For anyone out there looking for help and signposting for financial help these services may be of some assistance:

  • Citizens Advice
  • Hospital Bereavement services – should someone pass away in Hospital
  • Council Bereavement services – may assist with social funeral

Agencies that may be able to help financially:

 

For any further help please call in to us or contact Roseberry Funeral Service on 01642 756324.

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The Good Funeral Awards 2015

I am so proud and honoured to have been selected for “Most Promising New Funeral Director” in the 2015 Good Funeral Awards. This nomination has come from the clients that I have helped through a very difficult time and that means the world to me.

At Roseberry Funeral Service we try to be different from others. This has been something that I think surprises the people that I have dealt with. We offer a very unique, personal service and being part of the Fair Funeral Pledge is very important to us. I have been told only today “You’re just too nice, we can’t thank you enough”. I want to thank all of you for deciding to come to us, giving us the trust in caring for you and your loved ones, the support of the community that we have had and also to thank the independent panel of judges for recognising us and what we stand for.

Graham and I are very much looking forward to attending the awards on the 5th September at The King Alfred Campus, University of Winchester. Fingers crossed!

For more information on the awards please click here 

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Armed Forces Day

To celebrate Armed Forces Day we have two changes that have been made. The first is the wonderful window display. The window now has many artefacts that have been very kindly donated by Kirkleatham Museum. This includes a full ATS uniform and a bomb shell. I do love to see people stopping as the walk by and looking at the window.

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In addition to this new display we have also created an “Armed Forces Funeral Package”. As you can see below this includes everything for a funeral befitting anyone that has served. It is something that I am very proud to be able to offer.

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Gazette Article

 Gazette Article

Recently I was in the local newspaper, the Gazette, where an article had been written about Roseberry Funeral Service and myself. I really want to thank David Robson, the person who got in contact with me, interviewed me and then wrote a lovely article. The article, along with other things, went into why I got into the funeral industry, my background experience and what I think makes for a good funeral.

It has obviously been a much read article as everywhere I go people are commenting that they read the article or recognise me from it. This really is something special, that people would take the time to read this. The article was also widely spread through social media including Facebook and Twitter. Going from the Gazette website it was shared a total of 337 times. Thank you everyone for your involvement within this. It really does mean a great deal to me.

Click HERE to read the article.

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Technology and the Funeral Service

Technology and the Funeral Service

 

With the increased technology that we have all around us I have been looking at the different ways that this effects a funeral service. There are some good and some that could be considered bad. I guess that depends on you.

 

  • Finding a funeral director i.e. Google – There are many people that know who their funeral director, or at least the company, will be. They have been there on the high street, part of their Church or other organisation or a tradition within the family. For others they do not know where to turn. There is the option to go with a national company but many these days want the personal service of an independent funeral director. Thanks to technology the search for a funeral director has been made easier by most having websites, social media, advertisements online even their own apps. These also give you an insight into what the funeral directors is like.

 

  • Communication methods – For many years that has of course been the telephone, fax, letter and face to face. With the increase in technology the ways in which you can communicate with your funeral director, other people involved or even to share ideas with family has been increased. It has now been known that funeral arrangements have taken place via Skype, an online video-link. I am by no means saying that this is for everyone, but for people out of the area who want to make arrangements, as an example, this opens up the door.

 

 

  • Record funeral services or webcasting – Many families can now be long distances away from each other. My own family has been spread out from the North East, London to Somerset. I also know of any people that have immigrated to other countries. It is in times like this, when someone passes away, that distance can be a big problem. That is when the service of having the service recorded or even streamed live over the internet can help people to still share, grieve and be a part of the loss that you are all feeling. Thanks to the increase in technology this is now possible.

 

  •  Music ie Wesley system – Music is a very big part of any funeral service and is a way of depicting your emotions, the personality of the deceased and a way to set the mood. In recent years there have been many changes to the way that music can be played at most crematoriums. There is a company called “Wesley Media” that provides an online library database for most crematoriums across the UK. This now means that music can be ordered online, through your funeral director, and the music is there ready for the day of the service. Long gone are the days when you would have to source your own CDs, label them up and hope that they play the right track. It has also helped people locate tracks that are less well known or could be diverse.

 

  • Funeral selfie – the most famous of these is where Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Danish prime minister), at Nelson Mandelas memorial service, took a selfie. This act went viral and there are many responses to this. Looking into this more there is a craze to take selfies at some part of the funeral service. As a positive you could say that this is someone who is expressing their emotions in a way that they know, celebrating rather than commiserating or you could say it is in very bad taste. There have been website that have dedicated themselves to the funeral service or #Funeralselfie. Good or bad, that is for you to decide.

 

  • Online memorials – These create a place where you can commemorate the deceased and a place where people can post their own thoughts and memories. Being online it can be accessed by all. The online troll (a person that wants to cause offence or harass) is something that has been reported on within this industry but many others. There are always improvements being made and security is getting stronger. If anyone was to post anything on my website, for instance onto a funeral diary post, then I would need to approve the post. That stops the troll problem full stop.

 

With technology ever growing this is only a short list of the ways it has changed the jobs we do and the service that I can provide. Even in the choice of funeral service, i.e. burial and cremation, technology is already looking to add another alternative. Whether these are good or bad, this if only for you to decide.