The Aftermath Of Hull Pt.1
The Aftermath Of Hull Pt.1

The Aftermath Of Hull Pt.1

Written by Jenna Savage – Office Manager

Most of us sat in horror at the news coming out of Hull last month, for those who were fortunate enough not to see the distressing media coverage I’ll summarise it for you; following an initial investigation, a Funeral Directors in Hull was searched, which resulted in the removal of a chilling number of deceased and unidentified sets of ashes from the properties. Whilst I don’t want to get into any sort of speculation here, what seems to have been made quite clear is that people who were under the impression their loved ones had been cremated, have been informed that is not the case. Several families have reported being given ashes back by this Funeral home and have later been informed by authorities that those ashes can not belong to their loved ones, because their loved ones’ remains have been seized at the properties….. This must be so distressing for those families and our sincerest condolences and thoughts are with them. 

The investigation is ongoing and I don’t think it would be helpful for me to discuss the specifics of this case any further. However what I do think would be helpful and constructive, to the people we have the privilege of caring for in our community, is to bust some myths, answer some of the questions we get on a regular basis and reassure everyone what we have in place to protect those we serve, as well as to arm everyone who is faced with the loss of a loved one with the information you need to protect yourselves from the worry that this may happen to you. So whether you are a client of ours, whether you intend to use us in the future or one of the other local firms, or you are just curious, here is some of the information that I have learned over the years being married to and working alongside a Funeral Director that everyone should know. 

Governing bodies:

Funeral Directors are not overseen by a governing body, with very few exceptions there are almost zero “rules” that they legally have to follow, what governs us as a whole is a mix of a couple things; human decency, societal expectations and reputation. Death is a subject that is so emotionally charged that people expect the person who is overseeing their last farewell to their loved one to be honest, trustworthy and efficient, any reviews saying otherwise are so damaging, so we all should be striving to ensure that doesn’t happen. 

This all being said there are a couple of associations that firms can join, who as part of their membership criteria, do have certain standards and expectations and do in fact inspect their members premises to ensure these are being adhered to. The NAFD (National Associations of Funeral Directors) is one such association, SAIF (The National Society Of Allied And Independent Funeral Directors) is another. 

Any Funeral Director that is a member of either of these bodies will be held to a level of industry standards, to find out whether a particular firm is a member you can check their websites for the NAFD or SAIF logos, or simply pop them a message and ask, both the NAFD & SAIF also have directories on their websites. I shall attach the links for those below.  

Both our Budleigh Funeral Home and Our Exmouth Office are inspected members of the NAFD.

Funeral Homes: 

Most people will not have ever visited one of these unless you have suffered a loss. It’s hardly the place we pop into for a chat and a brew… but it can be, I can’t speak for other companies but our whole team at Otter Valley Funerals will be happy to see you if you want to pop into either our Budleigh funeral home, or our Exmouth Funeral Home. Transparency is key to trust, and we are always happy to show we are trustworthy, we of course have to be sensitive to the confidentiality of our clients and the deceased persons we have in our care and that is always our top priority, however our local communities trust is also important and if we can ease some fear or uncertainty by giving you a tour and explaining how it all works we are happy to do that. 

Death is an uncomfortable subject for many, but it’s not for your Funeral Director, so ask your questions, they should be more than happy to answer anything you need to know, and if they are not…well there is nothing wrong with speaking to as many different firms as you need until you find one who you’re happy with.  We are available 24/7 where your call will always be answered by one of our family.

Choosing a Funeral Director:

This is a hard one, and I want to try and be as unbiased as I can be so I’m going to try and keep it brief. As with anything in modern life, check reviews online, they can be a great source of honest information. Do bare in mind though that not everyone who does have a bad experience will post it all over the internet. So talk to friends and family, your work colleagues, locals, people in your local cafes, sports clubs etc, word of mouth recommendations are a great honest source of information. 

Look through several firms’ websites, get a feel for who they are, their ethos. Are they independent? are they family run? or part of a chain?. If for example you need to arrange a funeral in Budleigh Salterton, is your loved one going to be kept in a funeral home in Budleigh? If you are looking to arrange a Direct Cremation for someone who lived their whole life in Exmouth are they going to be cremated at one of the local Crematoriums or will they be sent elsewhere? Is the funeral home honest and upfront with this information? Whilst checking out websites, it’s always worth having a look to see if they are NAFD or SAIF members.

The other thing to consider is aftercare, do they mention this on their websites, do they have links to bereavement groups, support groups, do they signpost you to the places that can provide you with help if your grief becomes unmanageable?  Our website has access to a trained bereavement counsellor 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and we host a monthly bereavement support group which is one the events page of our website.

I think most important is to phone a few different firms and speak with their teams, ideally their Funeral Director, they should be patient and happy to answer all enquiries, they should also be willing to meet you and discuss with no obligations. Human instinct is a powerful tool and in a time that can be so emotionally difficult for so many, feeling like your Funeral Director cares can make a truly hard time feel even a little bit better, go with your gut.  

There is so much information I would like to share here to help you feel better about our industry as a whole, so many things I feel everyone should know, or maybe I have just rambled on too much here but I have run out of space…. So there will be part 2 coming soon.

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