The Green Funeral Company, testimonials
Did we mention that we won
Funeral Director of the Year 2012
The Good Funeral Guide Awards?
Dear Rupert and Claire
“I can truly say, that when I first spoke to you, I felt the beginnings of utmost relief of my anguish. Your ready understanding and complete willingness to create a calm and loving web around my lost daughter and her son was something I had never experienced, or even imagined to hope for. Everyone in need of a sympathetic, understanding listener found it in you both. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this alone.
But then there was the funeral itself. Your introductory address gave such a full and truthful account of my daughter’s life and death. The informality allowed by your arrangements made for such a loving and beautiful ‘multi-media’ event that even the lowering of the flower bedecked willow coffin was not horrific but meaningful. The carrying up the hill by different friends, nephews, siblings, all sharing the physical burden meant a great deal to us. These significances have symbolic references which are long lasting.
It never crossed my mind that a funeral could be anything other than awful and best avoided. I could never have guessed that the worst possible death of one of my own children could lead to an event that I would find beautiful.”
Dear Rupert and Claire
Our most heartfelt thanks for the wonderful service you provided for Deborah's departure.
You made the whole process quite beautiful from the moment we arrived in that glorious location which is your office/ chapel of rest, to the service last week which did not feel like a funeral at all but a ' rising up' a feeling of ascending into an altogether higher state of being - a joyful experience - thank you you're providing such a very special service to people- special because of the love you give to all you do and that love works it's miricles - makes the crooked place straight....
Love and blessings
Rachaele and David
Rupert and Claire helped me through the hardest day of my life with caring and empathy that I had not thought to find in a funeral company.
Having attended several funerals of relatives and in laws over the past few years I have had the chance to observe first hand the ‘usual’ funeral. I had always felt as if they were an impersonal ‘going through the motions’, something that had to be done but that no-body really wanted to do.
Rupert and Claire where about as far from that as is possible to get. Their totally hands on style and immediate connection made it seem as if everything was being handled by friends, which is so much more comforting than giving control over to the usual funeral machinery and having little input into the whole process.
The chapel of rest in which we visited my wife was perfect. Very simple, very warm with no pressure on time, or indeed, on anything else. All of those who attended, both friends and family remarked how surreally beautiful it was and how much they gained from the experience.
After a couple of meetings, both in my own home, Rupert created a service that was perfect. With input from myself and with passages that my wife had picked for herself, he combined Buddhist, shamanic and even Methodist writings and ideas into a seamless service. In fact, I have had many people ask me how long Rupert had been a friend of the family and they were all, without exception amazed to find out that we had only met a few days previously. He managed to capture my wife so well, even things we hadn’t talked about that it was a truly personal and special ceremony in a very beautiful setting.
I would wholeheartedly recommend The Green Funeral Company. It is the most difficult of times, but one we all have to go through eventually, so to have someone accompany you on that journey cannot be too highly prized.
Thank you Rupert and Claire.
My 93 year old mother whom we sheltered was a devout Catholic and died peacefully at home of old age. Having never thought of the details of her funeral I suddenly realised that I had a profound distaste for the whole strange Victorian hangover of the ‘traditional’ funeral with the big polished coffin and the ‘professional’ mourners. Claire and Rupert helped give me my mother the funeral that felt right for our family, combining a full Catholic Requiem mass with the kind of intimacy and the lack of ‘show’ that reflected my mother’s personality.
They collected her body from our house treating her with extraordinary respect, and took her to their beautiful premises on the Dartington estate which we visited a few days later.
We chose a woven bamboo coffin, and just a single spray of flowers form a florist Rupert recommended.
On the day of the funeral they drove back to our house in Cornwall in a black Volvo estate rather than a hearse and we and all the others followed through the countryside to the church.
My husband and children carried the coffin in. This was at the suggestion of Claire, and I hadn’t realised how utterly right it is that one should do this. This last practical assistance that one can give to a parent is to carry them into church for their farewell service as they would have carried you in for your welcoming baptism. The whole congregation seemed to feel that this was something deeply right and very moving--and quite revolutionary. When I look back on the day now, a month later, I do so with a fell of deep satisfaction. She had as they say, a good send off--and it was one that we will remember as expressive of who we are and who she was.
Claire and Rupert are leading the new way of dealing with death and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
I couldn’t have wished for better people to help create a funeral that my wife would have wanted. Joy did not want a religious funeral and had expressed a wish to be buried in a wood that we had planted on our land. Rupert and Claire worked with me and my wife’s parents, who are religious, and we achieved a funeral that was informal, moving, participatory and meaningful. Joy’s aparents think the funeral was as ‘wonderful’ as such an occasion can be.
Our vicar attended in an unofficial capacity and have said that it was one of the most moving and memorable she had ever been present at. Rupert and Claire are supportive, understand the individual’s wishes and make appropriate suggestions. They have a wonderful gentle and empathic manner, combined with a quiet authority that reassures and inspires confidence in them. If you are seaking to arrange a funeral that is very personal and not necessarily what you think convention demands, I wholeheartedly recommend The Green Funeral Company.
Warning: The following testimonial is upsetting but honest, and we thank Ali & Mo for allowing us to share their story.
My daughter Anna was killed in a horrific car accident just short of her 22nd birthday. The trauma, shock, disbelief and utter devastation that impacted on my family and 3 other children is beyond the knowledge of anyone other than those other parents who have lost a child in a similar manner. Having to deal with police, press and post mortems, the pain of not being able to identify ones own child due to the severity of head injury, and all manner of every other horror came to fruition at the time that I simply needed to grieve for my daughter. The last thing I wanted to do or of course had ever imagined doing, was to prepare for a funeral.
Two factors in all of this struck me most. Those being, I don't have time to think and to organise so therefore, do not have time to choose what I might really like to happen and, what on earth was I to do once the hospital released Anna's body. I have no recognised religious faith and was appalled by the idea of cremation. So what to do? Then a friend found on the internet, The Green Funeral Company. They sounded great and so I called them up. I had to leave an answer phone message the first time, and when one of the kids shouted later that a guy called Rupert was on the phone and I took the call, I thought there had been some sort of mistake. This person sounded like a friend, a voice of calmness and empathy without being in the least bit patronising. In that first moment I felt relief and the sense that things for the first time in this terrible business would be OK. The next thing that was made very clear to me (before I had to commit to using the service of the company) that my 2 fears would not be faced. I had time, I had choices and they would take gentle care of my daughter. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and I asked them to work with us, because that is what Rupert and Clare do. They work with you. They are funeral directors, yes, but they are so very much more.
The first thing that they recommended was that they come and spend a couple of hours meeting our family and friends. From this and from that time onwards we had the sense that they were really listening, getting a sense of Anna and a sense of us as a family. They also without any pushing or rushing, began the first steps in guiding us through what we might want for a funeral. This included all aspects of this painful process. From collecting Anna from the hospital, to the actual choice of burial site, coffin choice, managing the funeral ceremony, and anything else that we could think of. They took care of things with efficiency and capable hands. They sensitively managed our family dynamic making sure that all parties were listened to, acknowledged and respected. They made follow up calls and simply calls to ask how we were doing. We wanted simple but if we had asked for outrageous and flamboyant, we would have got it I'm sure!
Before the funeral, we were invited to go to Rupert and Clare's home in Cornwall, which is where they also look after the body. These visits were encouraged for anyone we wished and as often as we wished. Given the serious nature of our visits to see Anna, it was so comforting to be welcomed into what is in fact their family home. This might on reading seem a little weird or even unprofessional, but I can tell you it absolutely is not. Trekenner Mill is a tranquil, most beautiful, secluded place which invites contemplation, peace and a chance for calmness and serenity. Thanks to Rupert and Clare's hospitality, it also offers many cups of tea, a chance to sit in their beautiful garden by the river and just to talk, to hug - if that's what you need, and to be close to your loved one in what ever which way you choose. At some point, my mother and sister went to decorate the bamboo coffin with flowers from our gardens and hedgerows. Rather than a sinister experience, it was for them a loving and creative thing to do.
Anna's body was kept safely and with loving attentiveness in a little, simple outbuilding next to the main house. With armchairs, a wood burning stove, candles and wild flowers all around, we were invited to spend as much time with Anna as we wished. We could, we were told, have a glass of wine and a chat with her, play music or do what ever we felt we needed to as often as we wished to. Because of the circumstances of Anna's injuries, it was not advisable for anyone to see her face. This had been a huge trauma for me as a mother and one that had not gone unrecognised by Clare. With this in mind she gently approached me one afternoon with a suggestion that was to be the biggest gift anyone could have given me. She had thought through and found a way for me to wash and attend to Anna's body. Whilst carefully keeping covered any areas of distress, we were together able to wash and oil the body of my daughter in the time honoured tradition, of a mother performing that last, most special ritual of love for her daughter. This is the most sacred of all moments in my life and I will never forget the woman whose thoughtfulness made it possible.
Even with "simple" we had between 300 and 400 mourners at our funeral for Anna and the afternoon was managed with dignity, love, carefulness, tenderness and a sense of grace that I have never experienced before. This was commented on by all who attended. Other than turn up, I had absolutely nothing to worry about or concern myself with. This is so important as the mother on the day you bury your child. Our day was made tricky only by the vagaries of torrential rain and wind in August! Even Rupert and Clare couldn't do anything about the weather, but what they did do was to monitor the forecast obsessively beforehand to the point that they knew we would need some shelter at the graveside. So with our permission they were able to organise a last minute marquee so that everyone could experience the funeral and hear our words in the dry.
And so our experience of having to do the worst nightmare any parent could ever contemplate, was made safe and precious. Our funeral and the 2 weeks preceding it were made bearable in the knowledge that now the thing that we could not change had happened, all those things we could influence could now come into being with loving and expert guidance. The process of death has often paradoxically been linked with that of birth. I can see those links now. Just as you would want the best midwives and the best experience of giving birth at the start of life, so you would want the same at the end of life. The first welcomes and gently brings a child into the world, the second says goodbye and gently prepares a child for their moving on from this world. Both are acts of the greatest love. Both need to be performed with grace and integrity as well as knowledge and expertise. Both need to allow the mother to be who she needs to be in that sacred, primal moment. For my daughter Anna, for myself and for all my family, these safe hands belong to Rupert and Clare.