Fewer people want traditional religious funerals, UK study suggests
By Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
Only a minority of people now want a traditional religious funeral, with most preferring friends and family to have a get-together, or not wanting a fuss made at all, a new study suggests.
The Co-op said its research revealed a "staggering shift" towards a less conventional style of funeral, with some unique ways of disposing of people's remains.
Some people want their ashes put inside a firework or the furnace of a steam train, or made into jewellery, paperweights or pendants, said the Co-op.
Its survey of 4,000 adults and a number of Co-op funeral directors indicated that just one in 10 people wanted a traditional religious funeral.
The use of pallbearers to carry coffins has fallen in the last five years, while there are also fewer obituaries, said the Co-op.
Requests for ceremonies to take place away from churches have increased, with locations including a zoo, on a bus, on a golf course or in a teepee, said the report.
Most of the Co-op's undertakers said they have arranged a funeral where mourners wore bright clothing and half have known mourners to dress in jeans and tracksuits.
Samantha Tyrer, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, said: "The funeral sector is rapidly changing. Whilst 16.5 million of us still feel uncomfortable talking about death, we're clear on what we want and, in the majority of cases, it's no longer a traditional funeral service.
"Our funerals represent the unique life an individual has lived. More so now than ever before, we're seeing requests for wonderfully personalised ceremonies, whether that be on the 18th hole of a golf club, or having a pet dog present on the day. The choices are endless."