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The London Chronicles

Arranging a funeral in London is one of the most stressful tasks ever; not just for the family but also for the funeral directors who are invariably walking on eggshells; trying to extract the necessary information without further upsetting the bereaved family. It is incredible the unsolicited information some people are happy to disclose, whilst others have to be coaxed and encouraged to divulge even the basic details.

As part of the arrangement procedure I would always ask about the religion of the deceased and whether the family had any particular preference regarding the type of service they required. For those who regularly attended church the choice was straightforward, but for most people who were “Church of England” in name only, or those without any specific faith it seemed inappropriate to have a minister to conduct a religious service.

As a funeral director, I was frequently asked if I knew anyone who could say a few words in memory of the deceased and perhaps lead the congregation in a simple prayer. Yes, I though, I know exactly who could do that – Me!

I have always enjoyed public speaking, although I didn’t realise just how hard it would be to put together a bespoke and individual funeral service which needed to reflect not only the life and character of the deceased, but also embrace how he was seen by others. Delivering the actual service was the easy bit; the hard part was all in the preparation.

As a funeral celebrant I was unique, in that after my initial contact with the family I would Email them an outline and some notes to help them think about the content of the service before arranging to visit them. After our meeting I always prepared a full written draft of what I proposed to say; containing the readings, the words of any hymns, the full eulogy, any prayers to be said and of course details of their chosen music. Together we worked on this to ensure that what I was going to say was exactly what the family wanted and there would be no “surprises” on the day of the funeral. I would also help them to prepare an Order of Service, to include pictures of their love one and details regarding any reception and charity.

Working exclusively for Udens enabled me to develop a specific style that complimented all the other arrangements made by the firm and together we were able to provide a poignant and meaningful funeral ceremony in memory of the deceased. We always are proud of our position as funeral directors in the communities we serve


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