Funerals could look different in the future says director as restrictions on mourners ease

A funeral director has welcomed news of an easing of social distancing restrictions which will allow more mourners to pay their respects to a loved one.

Ian McDougall, director of WRR Pugh & Son Funeral Directors in Shrewsbury
Ian McDougall, director of WRR Pugh & Son Funeral Directors in Shrewsbury

The last year of Covid has been particularly hard on those who have lost family members and friends but there is now real hope of a return to a level of normality with the unveiling of the latest step on the Government’s roadmap out of the pandemic.

It means numbers allowed at funeral services will now be governed by the venue and how many mourners can be safely accommodated within social distancing guidelines, while 30 people are permitted to attend a wake. It is hoped these restrictions will be lifted completely from June 21.

Ian McDougall, director of family-run WRR Pugh & Son Funeral Directors in Shrewsbury, said it was an important milestone at the end of what has been a hard year for those families faced with having to arrange funerals in extremely difficult circumstances.

He said their own private chapel had been of great benefit to families as they did not have to wait several weeks for the crematorium and could have the funeral service their loved one desired in a personal and undisturbed setting.

This will continue to be offered as an option to families when they come in to make the funeral arrangements at either our Longden Coleham or Whitchurch Road offices.

“The new rules give some flexibility for accommodating more mourners at funerals and, crucially, allows for an increase in the number of friends and family that can attend a wake,” he said.

“It’s a move which is warmly welcomed. I hope things remain positive as the country continues to fight for a way out of this dreadful pandemic and that the restrictions can be lifted totally from June 21.

“It has been tough to see people have to decide who can and can’t attend a funeral, and mourners have been unable to meet up with friends and families at a wake afterwards – something which can be a tremendous comfort after the loss of a loved one.

“The loss of a wake has robbed people of the chance to get together to remember, share stories and memories, all of which are an essential part of the grieving process.”

Mr McDougall said funeral services had adapted during Covid with live-streaming becoming a regular feature in order to allow people who can’t be at the service in person to pay their final respects.

“Live-streaming looks like it is here to stay and funerals could look different in the future. Covid is changing the industry and the way many people think about funerals as we move back to a level of normality.

“Not everyone will feel the need to go to a service, when it’s possible to show their support from anywhere in the world through the live-streamed service.

“We also introduced an option for families to have a tribute page set up in their loved ones name, where friends and family, both near and far, can leave an in-memory charity donation, share stories, light candles, add photos, and leave messages.

“Virtual funerals will no doubt continue for many around the world in some respect but the increased numbers and the return of the wake will be something welcomed by everybody,” he added.

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