Funeral Plans

Just 1 in 10 people want a traditional religious funeral, report finds

Based on insight from its funeral directors from over 500,000 funerals conducted in the last five years and the views of 4000 British adults, a report from Coop Funeralcare has found only one in ten people would choose a traditional, religious service.

The report also reveals over one in three (36%) want their friends and family to have a get together to celebrate their life as opposed to a traditional service, whilst a third (33%) don’t want any fuss made at all.

The report also found that more than two fifths (44%) of people think funerals will become more informal in the future and a fifth (21%) see the wake as becoming more significant than the funeral service itself.

Additionally, four fifths (82%) of funerals conducted by Co-op are now cremations and whilst burying ashes in the ground of a crematorium is still the go to for over a quarter (28%) of adults, Co-op’s insight shows a shift in more people opting for unique ways when dealing with a loved one’s ashes. 

In the last year people choosing to put ashes into jewellery keepsakes has increased by a fifth (21%) with most popular choices being tribute rings, paperweights and pendants.

Top 10 most unique ashes tributes:

  • Inside the furnace of a steam train
  • Putting them inside a firework
  • Creating a tattoo
  • Scattering during a skydive
  • Sent up over the sea inside a balloon
  • Putting them in a model aeroplane
  • Taking them around the world
  • Putting them inside a car so they can always travel with them
  • Keeping them inside a rucksack so they could be carried everywhere
  • Scattering at a USA baseball ground
  • The location we remember late loved ones is now more important than many traditional elements that make up a funeral.

Three quarters (77%) of Co-op’s funeral directors reported requests for ceremonies to take place outside of traditional religious settings have increased.

A zoo, cattle auction house and a teepee make up some of the most unique funeral destination requests according to Co-op’s funeral directors. Other popular choices include the deceased’s back garden and golf courses. 

Top 10 most unique funeral destination requests:

  • At a zoo
  • On a bus
  • McDonald’s Drive Thru
  • Beside a snooker table, with the deceased’s coffin resting on top
  • Next to the 18th hole on a golf course
  • Inside a café
  • Cattle auction house
  • Sports clubs including Kettering Town FC, Glossop Cricket Club and Notts County FC
  • Next to a busy bypass
  • In a teepee

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 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 eighteenth hole of a golf club, or having a pet dog present on the day. The choices are endless and so it’s absolutely crucial that people make their wishes known to ensure they’re not missed.”

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