As London prepares for the Olympic opening ceremony tonight, the funeral profession is preparing for considerable disruption to processions in the capital over the coming weeks.
With Olympic traffic rules threatening to delay funeral transport, some funeral directors have suggested that they could use the lanes that have been reserved for athletes and officials.
“If we went down the Olympic lanes in a horse-drawn, what are they going to do – photograph a horse? Fingerprinting?” John Cribb, director of T Cribb and Sons, told Reuters.
The company, which conducts around four funerals a day, is planning to make use of extra hearses during the Olympic period, in an effort to reduce delays for its clients, but some funeral directors have reportedly been forced to draw up special contracts for families to sign, accepting the possibility of disruption.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and Transport for London have provided official guidance to funeral directors, while mortuaries have extended their opening hours to ease the pressure caused by any delays.
“We have been liaising with LOCOG because clearly funerals and deaths will continue throughout the Olympic Games – that is the one certainty,” said John Weir, spokesman for the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF); but many funeral directors are growing increasing concerned about the month ahead.
Image: Heritage Horsedrawn