• Claire Sunderland

Funerals during the CoronaVirus restrictions

We are living through unprecedented times. As I write this, restrictions continue on the number of family members able to attend a funeral ceremony and these differ from one area of the country to another.

In some areas of the country, Direct Cremation, which is an unattended service, has become the only option for bereaved families. In other areas loved ones have to choose a small number of family members who can attend the funeral itself and these must adhere to the social distancing guidelines.

The funeral ceremony itself is important for many families. It can help with the grieving process and gives family and friends the chance to celebrate the life of the person who has died in an authentic and personal way.

It is important to remember that, while these might not be ideal, there are other options. Many crematoriums have a streaming service, allowing other family members and friends to tune in during the funeral ceremony itself. Where this isn't available, some funeral directors and celebrants are able to offer the option to stream through a laptop or iPad via Zoom.

Families may choose to hold a memorial ceremony later in the year, once restrictions are lifted, in addition to either an attended funeral or a direct cremation or burial.

Other creative ways to remember your loved one could include sharing a powerpoint of photos and favourite music, sending notes, poems or photos to the funeral director to place inside the coffin, cooking their favourite food or setting up a regular zoom time with family to share memories.

The recent White Paper, 'Death, Grief and Funerals in the Covid age' offers creative ideas as an alternative or addition to a funeral ceremony and contains support and resources for those who are grieving:


The Quaker Social Action website also has useful ideas and resources:


How I can help

As your Funeral Celebrant, I will continue to work with you to create the best possible ceremony to honour your loved one.

Although we have been lucky in our area that families are still allowed to attend the funeral of their loved one, numbers are still very limited. For some families, where there isn't an option to stream the ceremony directly at the time of the funeral, a remote ceremony could be an alternative as it offers a chance for an unlimited number of family and friends to 'take part' in the ceremony.

The ceremony can take place at any time and can take as long as the family wish. Up to 100 people can attend via zoom but the ceremony can also be recorded and shared with an unlimited number afterwards. Guests will be able to see and hear the celebrant, the music & photos and family members can do a reading if they wish, just like in a 'live' ceremony. After the ceremony, the zoom link can be left open for family and friends to chat to each other for as long as they need to.

More details about the remote ceremony can be found here:


The link below shows a short demonstration of how this could work (The clip is about 4 minutes long and does not contain the eulogy, readings etc that would also be included in the actual ceremony).


Alternatively, or additionally, we can arrange a memorial ceremony later in the year, which could include the interment of ashes and can take place wherever you like, maybe a place that was special to your loved one.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more please call or message me.

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