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Gavin Palin Funeral Services are here to help & care for you in a time when caring matters most
We are a family business and we believe a funeral should be as individual as the person who has passed away. We work to the highest possible standards to provide a genuine, caring and professional service to all the families we come into contact with.
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24 hours day and night
4 Davenport Avenue, Nantwich,
Cheshire, CW5 5QJ
Government Guidance for our families surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic
Why are there so many restrictions on how many people can attend?
Funeral directors remain absolutely committed to supporting all bereaved people at this very difficult time, but are rightly concerned about increasing the risk of infection to both at-risk groups of mourners and to all those in key worker roles. Like supermarket workers and other essential services, funeral employees have a vitally important and sensitive job to do and so it is critical they are able to do it safely, by being able to stay within the social distancing rules.
The majority of bereaved families are doing their best to adapt their expectations and plans in line with the advice that funeral directors are giving them, despite the obvious distress this is causing them and we are so grateful to them for this.However, ensuring that funerals remain within the social distancing guidelines is a responsibility we all share. We need the public to support funeral directors in their important work by limiting numbers to the smallest group possible, being honest with funeral directors about their level of exposure to COVID-19 and making sure additional mourners are not invited to come on the day. We know this is incredibly hard, but it is absolutely critical that key workers aren’t put at risk while trying to carry out the Government’s instructions.
Is there a difference between funerals for those who pass away with COVID-19, as opposed to other causes?
The guidelines for funerals are designed to minimise the risk of transmission between mourners and to key workers (including funeral, cemetery and crematorium staff) so apply equally to all funeral services. It is important to note that all funeral firms have their own policies. These are based on factors such as the number, age and risk category of staff members, facilities available and capacity. For example some may allow visiting in chapel, some may not. Please also be aware that the policies of crematoria may vary too, not only in terms of numbers permitted to attend by other small but important variations, like whether it’s possible to leave the curtains open, or whether family are permitted to carry the coffin.
How long will the delay be between death and the funeral?
The time between death and the funeral will vary according to family needs, available times with the chosen venue, minister or celebrant and other individual considerations. The process for registering a death has changed under the Coronavirus Act, with the funeral director now able to assist and documentation submitted digitally. This should make the process quicker, easier for bereaved people and more efficient – and would be a welcome permanent change.
The time between the death and a funeral will also be dependent on the cause of death and whether the death is referred to the coroner. Coroner’s procedures remain in place for sudden or unexpected deaths, where something other than COVID-19 is the cause of death – and all of the usual arrangements are in place for that. In addition, with fewer people attending funerals there is less need for people to wait for a convenient time for others to travel to the funeral.
Arranging a funeral
Can we still choose between burial and cremation?
Yes, burial and cremation are both still options and this remains a matter of individual choice. This is particularly important for some faith communities.
Are funeral times and days changing?
Timings will vary from location to location depending upon the facilities and staff available. It is best to talk to your funeral director to find out the situation at your chosen crematorium or cemetery.
How many people can attend a funeral?
In line with Government guidance, funeral services should only be attended by members of the immediate family who are not in any of the high-risk categories and are not self-isolating. No specific number has been set by the Government. Only the following people should attend:
members of the person’s household
close family members
if the deceased has neither household or family members in attendance, then it is possible for a modest number of friends to attend
How do I arrange a funeral if I am self-isolating?
Funerals should be arranged over the phone or via other electronic means, wherever possible. If a funeral must be arranged in person, please respect the social distancing guidance – keep two metres apart, wash hands frequently, and cough or sneeze into a tissue/crook of your elbow and limit the number of people attending in person to arrange the funeral.
Do not arrange a funeral in person if anyone involved has symptoms or should be self-isolating, in accordance with government advice. It is vital that we do all we can to reduce the spread of the virus and that funeral service employees (who are key workers) can remain healthy and able to continue supporting bereaved families.
Can I visit the person that has died in a Chapel of Rest?
If you wish to view the deceased person by visiting the Chapel of Rest, please make arrangements with your funeral director. Some may have restrictions in place that means this is not possible, or may require it to be at a specific times or with only limited numbers attending at any one time – and all from the same household. Those who at an increased risk of serious illness due to Coronavirus (as defined by government guidance) are strongly urged not to visit. You can check who this applies to by clicking here.
Can we use a limousine?
Limousines should only be used if there is no alternative option. Some funeral firms have now withdrawn them from use, because of the risk of infection spreading inside the vehicle. If used, each vehicle should only be used to carry those living in the same household (in line with social distancing guidance). The driver must be able to abide by social distancing guidelines too, keeping glass screens up and limiting the number travelling to ensure they can sit as far back as possible.
What do I tell other family members or friends, who want to pay their respects or feel involved in the funeral?
We understand how hard this is for families. There are a number of options that could be considered. This might range include having an online gathering at the time of the funeral through Google Hangout, House Party, Zoom, WhatsApp or other facility, for all those unable to attend, where you share stories, light candles and play music. Also, ask your funeral director about the possibility of live-streaming or recording the service.
Online memorial sites (your funeral director will be able to recommend some options) often have facilities to share stories, messages and photographs. Your plans might also include holding a memorial service or celebration of life – whether that is arranged through the funeral director, a preferred place of worship or arranged at home, once social distancing rules are relaxed.
Funeral directors are working to support families to find the right solutions for them. In some cases there will be no cost, in other cases there may be – and so the advice is to talk it through with the funeral director.
What do I tell people who still stay they would like to attend?
We appreciate how hard this is, but it is important that you explain to them that larger gatherings are simply not permitted under current social distancing laws. Please don’t publicly advertise the funeral details to reduce the risk of other, well-meaning mourners arriving unexpectedly. They may be turned away at the door, which could be distressing for them and the bereaved family. It will also place funeral key workers at unnecessary risk of harm.
What will happen during the service?
During the service, all mourners should remain two metres apart from anyone not living in their household at all times. Refrain from making physical contact with anyone outside of your household. There may be other changes too. For example, the gardens may be closed, it may not be possible to touch the coffin or for families to be bearers, the curtains may not be able to remain open during the service and all charitable collections should be done online.