The Good Funeral Awards

The London Funeral Exhibition 9-10 July, Epping Forest Burial Park

11 July, 2011

As part of my research for the Six Feet Under convention, I went along to the London Funeral Exhibition at the Epping Forest Woodland Burial Park, which spread over Saturday and Sunday. The highlights included a ‘state of the funeral industry’ address from the author of the Good Funeral Guide, Charles Cowling.

He said of crematoria funeral services, “At 20 minutes they’re far too short.  We’re too busy burning the dead and not taking care of  the living.” He observed that the less civilised the country, the more civilised the funeral ritual, with some lasting several days. He also lamented the skewed costs. The expertise of the funeral celebrant often comes cheaper than the flowers.

A horse and cart did a tour of the serene-green woodland and Paul Sinclair the charismatic owner of Motorcycle Funerals showed off his beautifully-buffed hearse. There were displays of the new-style coffins and talks about how the industry is evolving. I had a good chat with the London Casket Company which sells the grand-style caskets beloved by the Fishers. I saw a moving film called First Darkness by Clare O’Hagan and Denise Wylie.

A lady called Priscilla Etienne exhibited a quirky new business. She does funeral photography, called ‘Funeography‘ – it seems eminently sensible to have a photographic record of funerals like every other social get-together.

It was a beautiful setting and a delightful weekend. For more information about Woodland Burial Parks, click here.

We’re working with Rosie Inman-Cook from the Natural Death Centre to create a similar free exhibition in the Bournemouth Triangle during the Six Feet Under convention. If you’d like to be involved please get in touch.