Flamboyant Funerals Push Up The Cost Of Dying

Funerals are becoming a lot more flamboyant – pushing up the price of a burial or cremation by more than £2,000 in a year.

With the average basic funeral costing £4,400 – a 3.4% rise over 12 months, professional fees of around £3,000 and the extras adding an average £2,300, a send-off for friends and family can easily cost up to £10,000.

The data comes from an annual survey of funeral directors by insurer SunLife.

The Cost of Dying report reveals that personalising a funeral is becoming more popular and that some funeral directors must comply with some bizarre final requests.

Two thirds of funeral firms say traditional funerals are in decline, while eight out of 10 are seeing a boom in ‘celebrations of life’.

Jokes and pranksters

Among these, nearly three-quarters of funeral directors confirm ‘different or unusual’ requests, including:

  • A performance from a drag queen singing ‘I Am What I Am’
  • A funeral where the congregation dressed in Hawaiian shirts and flip flops, while a friend wore a Bertie Bassett costume and danced to reggae music
  • A 92-year-old naturalist lying in his coffin completely naked
  • A hearse drawn by unicorns
  • A back garden burial in an environmentally friendly coffin
  • Circus-themed services complete with clowns and firebreathers
  • A former gangster buried after a funeral themed on TV series Only Fools and Horses
  • Jokes and pranks – a farmer had his wellies screwed onto his coffin, flower arrangements shaped like chickens and the funeral directors asked to turn up without the deceased
  • The one-legged man who asked everyone to hop at his funeral so they could experience what he had been through for many years

Time to talk more about death

Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife said: “We have been studying funerals since 2004, and while many are still quite traditional, there are always some great examples of how people make their loved ones’ funerals really personal.

“Perhaps more funerals would be personal if we were better as a nation at talking about death. Our report shows less than 1% of people organising a funeral knew all the deceased wishes, but when asked, most people know exactly what they want for their own funeral, so we really do need to start talking more.”

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