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The real faces of the members of the Good Funeral Guild

We are delighted to launch our new Good Funeral Guild website today, complete with photos of (most of!) our wonderful supporters who have already signed up. There are over 150 people who are now part of the Guild, making connections and having discussions, and helping us to keep the GFG afloat.

Have a look here: www.goodfuneralguild.co.uk. What a great looking bunch!

If you’d like to be part of this great new network we’d love to have you on board. Great things are happening already, and we have a second exclusive Guild get together planned for early June. Go to the ‘Join Us’ tab on the new website and you can be part of the change that is happening in funeralworld. And get to come to Guild Gigs.

PS If you’re already a member of the Guild but find you have a logo instead of a photo on your profile, it probably means you haven’t sent us a pic yet. It’s not too late so send your best selfie over.

Team GFG

 

 

Something for the weekend

If you were at the crematorium this afternoon because someone has died, I’m sorry.

If you were at the crematorium this afternoon because someone has died, and you used the conveniences only to find them in the condition above, then on behalf of the UK funeral industry, I’m not only embarrassed but I’m also deeply sorry.

There are crematoria out there who are exemplary (see here). There are also crematoria out there who seem to have forgotten the reason for their existence – to serve the needs of bereaved families by providing funeral services.

Consider the general state of affairs of certain funeral providers – buildings in terrible condition, stained carpets, poor sound systems, unusable toilets and conveyor belt timings that only allow for 20 minute services. Have you ever tried to acknowledge a life and a death in 20 minutes? Never mind telling a grieving family member that they won’t be able to talk about their loved one because there just isn’t time.  And then having to tell them that the one available toilet on site isn’t actually working today.

We wouldn’t accept this in life. So why do we think it’s acceptable in death? How we treat death is ultimately how we treat life.  So it matters; it matters enormously.

I personally have no interest in a life symbolised by a toilet with a lid that doesn’t stay open, a hand drier that blows out cold air and used tissues all over the floor.

As funeral professionals, can we stop accepting the unacceptable on behalf of our grieving clients. If you are a professional who uses a crematoria as part of your work – ministers, celebrants, funeral directors, florists, attendants etc – then you are responsible.

It’s the people who are out on funerals every day who can make a difference. We’re very good at driving around bereaved people in shiny cars that have been polished twenty times. But we drop them off substandard crematoria which fail to meet anyone’s needs, never mind the needs of grieving people, who have little idea of what to expect and mostly accept anything.

That’s my Friday night rant over. Enjoy your weekend everyone.  I hope it looks nothing like the photos above. 

Louise

P.S. The photographs above were taken at a real crematorium before a real funeral at 4pm today in the South of England.  If you recognise it as your local crem, I am SO sorry that your local council thinks this is what you deserve.

P.P.S. The sticky mess on the toilet lid is an attempt to make the lid stay up when the toilet is being used.  It doesn’t work.  

Perfect post election party

Whatever your political persuasion, come June 9th it’s likely you’ll be all politicked out after yet another trip to the polling booth. We know we will.

What better way to switch off from the endless analysis that will undoubtedly fill the media when the polls have closed than to head to the heart of England, to the National Funeral Exhibition?

This unique three day event takes place every two years with hundreds of exhibitors showcasing everything new in funeralworld, so don’t miss the opportunity to be there in 2017.

The GFG has rummaged down the back of the sofa and inside our piano, and cobbled together enough money to pay for a very small stand at NFE, but we guarantee we’re going to maximise the use of our four square metres and have one of the most attractive and desirable exhibits in the building… 

Come and see for yourselves – we’re in Hall 1 on stand 146.

If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here .

2017 Death Oscar anyone?

Last year’s awards ceremony in central London

It’s that time of year again – nominations open today for this year’s Good Funeral Awards, the Oscars of the death trade. Since 2012, the Good Funeral Awards have been celebrating excellence in the funeral world and have championed the pioneers, the bold and the brave, as well as the under-sung hard workers behind the scenes.

Last year there was an unprecedented number of entries, and the awards were presented at a glittering lunchtime ceremony attended by hundreds of people from across the country.

Coverage of the event in the media was overwhelmingly positive, see a piece in The Independent here and an article in The Guardian here, with national and local newspapers and radio stations all fascinated by something that journalists perceive as peculiar, but that we feel is richly deserved – recognition of outstanding work by those involved in caring for the dying, dead or bereaved.

Once again, there is an opportunity to nominate anyone who you feel deserves recognition or appreciation for their work in what is often a much misunderstood or maligned industry, or to enter yourself or the company you work for. 

To enter for an award, simply go to the Good Funeral Awards website and you will find the entry form at the foot of the ‘Nominate’ page. Download it, complete it and send it in along with the entry fee* if applicable.

Every entry is carefully considered before The Long List is published in August. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in September.

To nominate a person or company, please write to the organisers at info@goodfuneralawards.co.uk and tell us why you feel they deserve to be a winner. Please ensure that you include their contact details including their e-mail address, and the category you would like to nominate them under.

All nominees will be contacted and invited to submit an official entry in the category they feel most appropriate, along with the entry fee* if applicable.

*The entry fee applicable to most categories is intended to help save the organisers from sinking under the weight of administering over 600 nominations and associated entries. If you want to nominate someone and pay the entry fee for them that’s absolutely fine, this happened quite a lot last year and nominees were both touched and very grateful. 

You have plenty of time, nominations close in July. And tickets aren’t yet on sale for the awards ceremony. But you know what they say about the early bird.

This year’s categories are listed below. Aficionados of the Good Funeral Awards will notice a few new titles – we’ve tried to reflect the changes we are seeing in the world of funerals and to make sure that there’s a category for everyone. 

The 2017 Category List

  • Most significant contribution to the understanding of death
  • Best death related public engagement event
  • Most helpful funeral advice website
  • Doula of the year
  • Anatomical pathologist technician of the year
  • Care of the deceased award
  • Coffin supplier of the year
  • Funeral florist of the year
  • Minister of the year
  • Celebrant of the year
  • Gravedigger of the year
  • Best burial ground in the UK
  • Best crematorium in the UK
  • Crematorium attendant of the year
  • Best direct cremation provider
  • Best low cost funeral provider
  • Most eco-friendly funeral director
  • Funeral arranger of the year
  • Most promising new funeral director business
  • Most promising trainee funeral director
  • Best modern funeral director
  • Best traditional funeral director
  • Funeral caterer of the year
  • The ‘what to do with the ashes’ award
  • Lifetime achievement award

Read this and weep

 

Grief Works is a collection of beautifully written stories of the many clients Julia Samuel has dealt with in 25 years of working with grief.  She writes about how she’s helped people to deal with the deaths of their parents, partners, siblings and children and face their own mortality.  

Britain is awash with grief counsellors working from outdated models of grief.  Thinking has moved on since Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief so it’s refreshing to hear Julia’s positive, refreshing and flexible approach to dealing with death in our stiff-upper-lip society.

There’s a chapter about how we got into this state – from the Victorians who were brilliant at dealing with death but terrible with sex, to the generation of post-war children who learnt to suppress their grief and kept it tightly inside.  Keep calm and carry on.

Julia Samuel has been a grief psychotherapist for the last 25 years, dealing with people in the throes of grief in the NHS at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and in private practice.  She’s also the founder of Child Bereavement UK.  

The way she talks to her clients, her flexible approach, her understanding that loss is terrifyingly complicated and affects everyone differently;  it’s all music to our ears.

We heard Julia talking on a panel at the Southbank Centre during the recent ‘How do we live with death?’ weekend.  “Grief is messy, chaotic and dark,” she told the audience before telling us that her way of coping with the intensity of her work is to have fun, kickbox and only watch funny films.  

Grief Works is a brilliant reminder that there can be a life after death.  We highly recommend it as the book to read to have a better understanding of grief and learn a healthier way of dealing with it.

Read it, weep and learn.

Grief Works
by Julia Samuel

https://griefworks.co.uk/