When the media reports events around death and funerals it customarily seeks to jerk tears or generate fury with stories fuelled by ignorance. Research is boring and in any case truth is far too dull.
Take this piece here from WalesOnline. It begins HUNDREDS of people are being laid to rest in empty funeral parlours – because they have no-one to grieve for them. Daft or what?
The story is a hardy perennial: pauper funerals. The facts are sad: some people die alone and unknown. The truth is boring: they are not tipped into mass graves as once they were. No, they are given a public health funeral which is pretty much the equal of the funeral that anyone else gets. But hey, let’s bandy the pauper word around a bit anyway.
The journo responsible for the story has made some calls for quotes, one to Kate Woodthorpe at CDAS, and another to Simon Lewis of Merthyr, onetime president of the BIFD. And he seems to have googled ‘pauper funeral’. I wonder how much dull truth he discovered and decided to omit. Never let the truth get in the way of a corking lapel-grabber: HUNDREDS of people are being laid to rest in empty funeral parlours – because they have no-one to grieve for them.
The figures quoted are interesting. Between 2008 and 2010, 288 public health funerals were carried out in Wales at a total cost of £218,100 – an average of £757.29 per funeral. One funeral in Merthyr Tydfil in 2009 cost the local authority just £109.99 … Other budget services … included a £149.69 service in Caerphilly in 2008, a £250 send-off in 2008 in Merthyr and a £275 service for a funeral in Monmouthshire last year.
With the price of cremation in Merthyr now £460, I’m scratching my head here. A lot of paying customers would like to be able to get their costs down to figures like these. Can anyone shed some light?
Read the article in WalesOnline here.
More on pauper funerals here.