From Susan Whymark,
Coronavirus Pandemic Updates
As you may know, there have been monumental changes to the way funerals have worked since the outbreak of Covid19 in March this year. If you have just had a loss or are having to look for information on funerals because you will be having to arrange a funeral relatively soon, the following is to help you make more informed decisions and to give advice on what to expect just now.
Guidelines from all denominations, celebrants, crematoria, cemeteries and the way a death is registered changes daily as guidance comes from the government but we are keeping up with these changes and can give the most up to date information to everyone in need.
I want to reassure everyone that my team and I continue to work as hard as we can to provide what we can in the safest possible way to you and you lost loved ones. We are still here for you 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 01379 871168 (Eye)and 01379 851253 (Harleston).
As with other offices and shops, our premises are open to the public and we are offering face to face arrangements in our offices and at home, if you feel comfortable to do so. Our arrangers are happy to wear full PPE during the meeting wherever that takes place.
Please call to make an appointment to ensure we are able to accommodate you. We ask that the arrangement meeting is kept to a maximum of 2 people and only if those two people share a household or social bubble, to observe the 2m distance between all three of us.
If you come into either office we have a supply of PPE for you to use if needed and there is handwash just inside the door. If you do not feel comfortable to come inside there is a doorbell at both offices. A member of staff will come to the door and help you outside if this is preferred.
If you are unable to attend the office and do not want a home visit, we are still able to arrange funerals by telephone, Zoom, Teams, Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp video call and we can email documents, post them or deliver to you if you do not have Internet access.
Please be assured that, whilst we cannot offer all of our services, the level of support to you and the respect and dignity offered to the deceased will not be compromised by the outbreak of this virus. I will do my utmost to ensure everything is done in the safest possible way for you and my team and those services we come into contact with.
At the time of writing this, guidelines suggest small family funerals.
Most crematoria are asking for a maximum of 30 mourners in attendance. At present we have to bring coffins into the crematorium on a wheel bier to reduce the amount of people coming into the Chapel.
Most crematoria advise Mourners not to touch the coffin once in place and ask mandatory closure of curtains. All crematoria are asking that all those coming into the chapel wear a mask or face shield unless exempt from doing so. Celebrants must wear a face covering but this can be removed once they are at the lectern as they are usually 2m away from the congregation.
It is possible for crematoria to live stream or record a funeral, visual and or audio, some crematoria have offered reduced rates for this service. This can be done for any service even if there is no-one attending other than a celebrant or minister of religion.
At the moment, Burials can take place in Churchyards and Cemeteries in the form of graveside ceremonies with direct family members only. The Church of England suggest 30 around a graveside. Some Churches are now open for a gathering of 30 inside.
We have contact with an audio company who can video, audio record, play music and provide a PA system in other places, i.e. graveside, or Church which could be downloaded to a dvd or memory stick which could be collected from us, delivered to you or posted. Alternatively, it could be uploaded to be viewed on-line, as quickly as an hour after the service. Again, there would be a fee associated with this.
We can provide a limousine, however, those using this service would have to be from the same household or bubble. We have a partition that would keep you separated from the driver. Our staff are usually on hand to help Mourners in and out of the cars, however, we are now not able to do this and observe a 2m distance so users of the limousine would have to be able to transfer in and out of the car themselves.
It is now possible to hold small wakes in some pubs and restaurant some people are using their own homes. Again, it is advised that these include only those in the same household or bubble and those who aren’t should observe the 2m rule.
I would advise those in high risk categories not to attend a funeral at all.
Test and Trace
It has been asked that funeral directors collect details of those attending services using the test and trace system implemented by the government. We will therefore advise you about this at our initial meeting. We will also give out small slips of paper for those not in the main family to complete for us. The information we are given is held for 21 days and then destroyed. It will only be used if there is a chance someone at the service has developed covid symptoms.
At Waveney crematorium there is a QR code system for those with smart phones to use. If you are not familiar with the QR code system or do not have a smart phone, please advise us and we can give you one of our slips to use.
I hope this gives you helpful guidance, however, if you have any questions about anything please do not hesitate to contact me.
Wishing you the very best at this difficult time
We understand that when people come to us, it is at a confusing and distressing time. Our aim is to make everything as straightforward and stress free as possible. We can help you with all aspects of arranging a funeral; from ordering flowers and printing an order of service through to providing bereavement support.
A caring, flexible and cost-effective service
As a fully accredited member of the National Association of Funeral Directors we adhere to a strict code of conduct and endeavour to offer a calm, sensitive and personal service. We are always ready to listen to the needs of a family and be as accommodating and flexible as we can. We take great care over the smallest details when arranging a funeral so that the event passes smoothly and with dignity.
A pre-arranged funeral plan can bring peace of mind and financial security. With a Perfect Choice Funeral Plan your personal funeral wishes will be granted and your plan will fix the funeral firm’s costs at today’s prices, making it a straightforward way to ease the financial and emotional burden on your family. Once you’ve set up your plan, you can get on with your life knowing that everything’s been taken care of.
Please contact us with any queries or worries you may have. We operate a 24-hour service and are happy to help you when you need us.