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Have You Ever Considered What You Want At Your Funeral?

I want horses wearing plumes at my funeral

Make sure your loved ones know your funeral wishes.

Have you had that conversation yet? Do your friends and family know what you want to happen at your funeral? Do you know what they want at their funeral? It’s time to talk.

Discussing what happens when you’ve died could save your loved ones difficult decisions when the time comes.

Cremation or burial? Horses, flowers, hymns, musicians, pall bearers and a huge celebration of life at the best hotel in town, or a simple ceremony with a quiet gathering afterwards at home?

Ensuring your loved ones know what kind of funeral you want saves them a lot of heartache later.

So have the conversation with them, or write down your wishes and ensure at least two people know where to find that information.

Knowing exactly what Mom wanted made arranging her funeral so much more straightforward at a time when it was difficult to think straight.

With death certificates to organise, organisations to inform, finances to sort through, wills to find, possibly pets to look after, let alone the grief to live with, knowing funeral wishes can be a great relief.

Here at Franklin and Hawkins Family Funeral Directors we have useful information leaflets to help guide you and your Family through this process, including how to gently approach the topic of your, or someone else’s, funeral.

Things that are helpful to consider are;

Where you would like your funeral to be held at.

Whether you want a burial or cremation.

Do you want a religious, humanist or totally non-religious service.

What songs, music or readings you would like.

Do you want flowers, and if so what are your favourite.

What clothes you would like to wear.

What you would like your guests to wear.

Would you like a collection for a particular charity.

Do you want a family led or humanist funeral? A woodland burial, a shroud or a coffin made from cardboard or wicker?

Are you imagining mourners wearing black or your favourite colours, Do you want donations for a favorite charity, or flowers to be laid somewhere particular afterwards?

Are you happy for family members to be pall bearers if they wish, or to do readings?

It is a lot to think about, but easier now than your relatives having to second-guess your wishes after your death.

Include ideas for your wake too, do you want people to celebrate your Life with a big party or something quieter like afternoon tea at your home.

People will want somewhere to go after the funeral to share happy memories of your life.

Perhaps you want to donate your body to medical science, if so ensure you have told your family and GP and completed the appropriate consent forms. Your body can be returned to your family for later cremation or burial so it is still important to make a funeral plan.

You may wish to organise pre-payment of your funeral, and include a line in your notes that states you fully understand that some of your wishes may not be possible.

If your wishes change, such as your choice of music, update your funeral notes –and tell your friends and relatives.

A landmark legal case has put body preservation process Cryonics in the spotlight. But what is it, will it work and is it the future…?

It’s a topical question, with the process of cryonics – preserving a dead body with liquid nitrogen – making the news after a recent High Court ruling. The decision enabled a terminally ill 14-year-old girl to get her wish to have her body preserved after her death.

The ideas behind cryonics are that life can be stopped and restarted if its basic structure is preserved, and, with medicine continually evolving, illnesses that are fatal now may be curable in the future.

Cryonics stops further deterioration so the body may be able to be revived and be treated.

Freezing needs to begin as soon as possible after the patient is declared dead, to prevent damage to the brain. The longer the wait between death and preservation, the more cells will decay, and the harder it will be to resurrect and cure the patients.

First, the body is cooled in an ice bath to reduce its temperature gradually. Sometimes, CPR is done to prevent brain cells from dying, and medications administered. Doctors will then drain the body of all blood and replace it with an anti-freeze fluid to stop ice crystals forming. They may also remove the head if requested.

Then the body is further cooled by nitrogen gas by about one degree Celsius every hour, eventually reaching -196C after about two weeks.

It is then suspended in liquid nitrogen and remains like that indefinitely – until science advances sufficiently to start the hoped-for regeneration part of the process.

Currently, there are only three organizations in the world that offer cryogenic freezing: the Cryonics Institute in Michigan, US, Alcor in Arizona, US and KrioRus in Russia.

The first instance of a body being cryopreserved was in 1967, with more than 100 since. Thousands of people have found the prospect of resurrection attractive enough to make legal and financial arrangements, usually by means of life insurance.

It is not cheap though. The minimum fee for the Cryonics Institute in the US is $28,000 (£22,5000) plus a one-off membership fee of $1,250. Alcor’s 1,000 members pay a yearly membership fee of about $770 and the actual preservation cost ranges from $80,000 to preserve just the brain, up to $200,000 for the whole body.

Some of this goes into a patient care trust fund that keeps the facilities running and the bodies inside preserved for the long haul.

Alcor keeps a watch list of those in failing health, and can alert a ‘standby team’ in some instances. The team then do exactly what that implies, where possible – stand by the person’s bed until they die.

Of course, as yet no one has been able to fully test the process. Scientists have studied the preservation of cells and tissues and even worms, but scaling that up to a full human body is a challenging proposition. But advocates are confident that medical technology will continue to advance and that the premise on which the process is based is a sound one.

The Alcor website says: “when carried out under favourable conditions, both current evidence and current theory support the conclusion that cryonics has a reasonable chance of working… The degree to which cryonics is successful for a particular patient will depend on how much of the patient’s original memory and personality survives the cryopreservation and restoration process.”

And, speaking to the BBC in 2014, Max More, Alcor president and CEO, said: “A hundred years ago, cardiac arrest was irreversible. People were called dead when their heart stopped beating.

“Today death is believed to occur four to six minutes after the heart stops beating because after several minutes it is difficult to resuscitate the brain. However, with new experimental treatments, more than 10 minutes of warm cardiac arrest can now be survived without brain injury.

“Future technologies for molecular repair may extend the frontiers of resuscitation beyond 60 minutes or more, making today’s beliefs about when death occurs obsolete.”

New research has found that 82% of people over 50 don’t want a hymn at their funeral

The same survey also found that Always look on the bright side of life by Monty Python is the song most would choose.

Songs with a comedy twist given the circumstances are popular, with Queen’s Another one bites the dust and Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell also making the top 10.

Queen were far and away the most popular choice of artist; one in 2 over-50s said they would choose a Queen track and five made the top 20.

The most popular song choices included hymn Abide with me in second place, and Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven third.

Hymns formed the most popular genre overall but only accounted for 18% in total, except in Northern Ireland, where 57% of most over-50s would still choose one. More than a third of the over-50s questioned would prefer a rock, pop or country track.

The age group most likely to still chose a hymn are the over-65s – a quarter would – while only 12% of the 50-54s would want a hymn at their funeral. Women over 50 are more likely to have a hymn than men. Men are also twice as likely as women to choose a sports theme or a ‘funny’ song.

“The research shows that the over-50s have a sense of humor when it comes to thinking about their own funerals

“Sadly, what it is also telling us is that, while most funerals do still include hymns, more than eight in 10 people would not choose a hymn, which means people are not getting what they would have wanted at their funerals.”

Top 10 funeral songs for over 50s

1. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
2. Abide With Me
3. Stairway To Heaven
4. Jerusalem
5. My Way
6. Lord’s My Shepherd
7. Another One Bites The Dust
8. Bat Out Of Hell
9. Beethoven’s 6th Symphony
10. I Vow To Thee My Country

Top ten funeral song genres for over 50s

1. Hymn
2. Classical
3. Pop
4. Rock
5. Country
6. Funny/comedy
7. Blues
8. Song from a musical
9. Dance
10. Folk

Franklin & Hawkins Independent Family Funeral Directors Named Funeral Planner of the Year

Franklin & Hawkins Independent Family Funeral Directors has been voted Funeral Planner of the Year for the West Midlands and North Wales region in the annual awards run by leading funeral plan provider Golden Charter.

The Coventry firm was named the best small-sized firm in the prestigious awards which were open to Golden Charter’s network of more than 3,000 independent funeral directors.

The team at Franklin & Hawkins Independent Family Funeral Directors won the award in recognition of their dedication and commitment in providing an outstanding service to the local community.

Andy and Gary Hawkins received the award on behalf of the company from Ronnie Wayte, Chief Executive of Golden Charter. In addition to the contemporary award and framed certificate from Golden Charter, the Woodland Trust has dedicated ten trees in Franklin & Hawkins Independent Family Funeral Directors’ name at Credenhill Park Wood, Credenhill in recognition of their achievement.

Andy said: “The award recognises the hard work, dedication and professionalism ofall my colleagues.”

Ronnie Wayte, Chief Executive of Golden Charter, said: “This is the 21st year of these awards, and each year it becomes more difficult to choose a winner. Through these awards Golden Charter celebrates personal excellence and professional commitment in one of the most difficult and challenging areas of serving the public. “The team at Franklin & Hawkins Independent Family Funeral Directors has set a very high standard and we are delighted to recognise this tremendous achievement.” Customers buying pre-paid funeral plans are protected against inflation and benefit from peace of mind knowing their family will be able to pay for a funeral no matter how far into the future.

Golden Charter, which has seen its own sales rise by two thirds for the current financial year, estimates that in 2013 independent firms held around 42% of the funeral plan market with corporate providers such as Co-operative Funeralcare and Dignity accounting for the rest. Similar in structure to that of a mutual society, Golden Charter is owned by and run for the benefit of its members – independent funeral directors.

This means that all surpluses are used to support these independent funeral directors or paid to the Golden Charter Trust to the benefit of plan holders and the funeral directors.

Traditional & Personalised Memorials: Design The Ideal Way To Remember Your Loved One

Planning the perfect send off for a loved one is definitely not easy; there are so many different things to organise and think about. One of the things that you may wish to think about is personalised memorials. Here at Franklin Family Funerals, we are able to offer a range of different personalised memorials, enable you to design the ideal way to remember your loved one. Here are a few of the services that we can offer you.

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The Importance of a Poignantly Designed Gravestone

Losing a loved one is a very difficult process but, unfortunately, one that we all have to go through at some point in our lives. Whilst it is a very difficult time for everyone involved, it is understandable that you will want to remember your loved one in the best way possible.

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Personalise Your Loved One’s Funeral Vehicle with Our Help

Losing a family member, loved one, or a near and dear friend, is extremely traumatic and painful. Therefore, if you are deeply grieved by the incident, you need all the support and care that you can get. At Franklin & Hawkins Family Funeral Directors, we know how difficult it is to make arrangements for the funeral after losing someone close, and that is why we offer a professional, yet friendly and caring service to help you make all the arrangements for the funeral. Allowing us to handle the arrangements ensures you can share the happy memories with your friends and family, rather than worrying about the arrangements.

We offer a unique service that allows you to personalise the funeral vehicle. While we have a fleet of luxury funeral vehicles, you may want to add your touch to help make the funeral more personalised, and also use it as a way to celebrate all the things that your loved one enjoyed during their lifetime.

Horse Drawn Hearse

We can help make your recently departed loved one’s funeral a memorable one, by using a horse-drawn funeral hearse. Our hearses are Victorian-styled and, hence, elegant. We offer a choice between black Fresian stallions or White Lipizzaners. We ensure that the horses are spotlessly fitted with an English leather harness that comes with brass fittings and traditional collars. Our horses are well-trained and are used to working in areas with dense traffic.

Motorcycle Funeral Hearse

We also offer motorcycle funeral hearses that conform to the highest standards and are certified by the DVLA. Each motorcycle hearse comes with a professionally-trained driver, who is dressed appropriately for the occasion. We have generally observed that many of the motorcycle funerals that we have organised can often turn into a happy occasion that’s more of a celebration of their life and personality.

Personalised Funeral Vehicle

If your loved one had a vehicle, such as a motorcycle, VW or even a car, that they liked immensely, we have the ability to incorporate the same into the funeral. This unique service offered by us allows you to personalise the funeral, and also gives you some solace from the fact that your loved one’s favourite vehicle is befittingly part of the final journey.

Losing a loved one is traumatic and sad. Let us help you make the final journey of your loved one a memorable and happy occasion. Contact us today to personalise the funeral vehicle, and we can assure you outstanding and sensitive service.

How Franklin & Hawkins Funeral Directors Can Help With Personalised Funerals

When a loved one passes away, it can be an incredibly stressful time. You will want to do everything in your power in order to make sure that your loved one gets the send-off that they deserve, and best preserves their memory. Here at Franklin & Hawkins Funeral Directors, we know just how important this is. This is why we allow you to create personalised funerals that will allow you to organise a send-off is respectful whilst still being personal to you and them. Here are a few of the services that we are able to offer.

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Traditional Horse Drawn Funerals

Every person is different, and when the time comes to commemorate a life it is important that this fact should be reflected in the funeral service. Over recent years, horse drawn carriages have grown in popularity once again and are now a familiar sight as part of a funeral procession.

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Traditional Meanings of Funeral Flowers

Losing a loved one is a difficult time, when a floral tribute can provide comfort and reassurance whilst also acting as a respectful form of decoration. Certain flowers traditionally come with specific connotations, so if you wish to convey a particular message then your selection of blooms can help.

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