Although each funeral is unique, there are several elements that we are usually asked to provide. Listed in detail below are the services that we often provide for a traditional funeral.Removal of the BodyOur highly experienced team is available 24 hours of every day to attend wherever and whenever a death occurs. Upon receipt of a call our removal ambulance is despatched and can normally attend within 30 minutes. We are able to help with any initial questions you may have at this distressing time and will then convey the deceased with dignity to our Chapel of Rest. Before the removal can take place we must ascertain that the person's doctor- or the doctor on call - has given permission for the body to be moved.If the death has been reported to the Coroner, the deceased must be taken to the public mortuary at the Conquest Hospital, St. Leonards. This must be carried out by the funeral directors who are contracted for this purpose by the Coroner - we are not allowed to attend. However, you are still completely free to choose our Company for the funeral arrangements themselves. Our Physical Care of the BodyOnce the body of a deceased person has been received into our Chapel of Rest it is usual to carry out a certain amount of preparation and dressing to restore their dignity. Either at the time of the removal or at the arrangements interview the family would be asked if the person should be dressed in any particular clothing, for instance a favourite dress or suit. Alternatively we can provide a funeral gown.If a family wants to come to visit their loved one we can discuss with them at the arrangements interview the question of whether embalming or any other restorative procedures should be carried out. It is often not necessary to carry out embalming but it does make sense in some circumstances. We promise we will only carry out embalming if it is desirable or legally required (i.e for international transportation) and if you have agreed to it. The problem with the word embalming is that it conjures up images of ancient Egyptians and mysterious practices. Modern embalming has no connection with any of this; it is a scientific process in many ways similar to a blood transfusion. Its purposes are to arrest any physical change between death and the funeral, to create a sanitary condition, and to restore a normal appearance. In this way a family can visit the Chapel of Rest with confidence, knowing that the last visual memory they keep of their loved one will be of help to them in coming to terms with their bereavement. This part of the funeral director’s work is not something that everyone finds easy to talk about or even contemplate but we can explain things with sensitivity in as much or as little detail as you need so that you can make an informed choice.Visiting the Chapel of RestWhen someone close to us dies we find ourselves overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions. In trying to come to terms with the death many people attach great importance to visiting the funeral director's Chapel of Rest to 'view the body'. Other people may not wish to do this. As in all other aspects of the funeral arrangements we would stress that it is your choice whether or not to visit the Chapel of Rest. We will be pleased, however, to discuss this subject with you so that you have the necessary information to come to the right decision.Our Chapel of Rest is provided so that you may visit your loved one at any time, day or night. Our facilities and services in this regard are designed to enable the deceased to rest in dignity so that the last picture you keep in your memory is positive and helpful.On visiting the Chapel of Rest the family will be invited to a private room where their loved one is laid. Unless specifically requested by the family we do not arrange for the deceased person to be placed in the coffin at this time - instead we have found a more helpful memory is provided by being able to see them on a bed with a pillow under their head and a coverlet over them from the waist down.Our clients are welcome to visit our Chapel of Rest at any time, including evenings and weekends; all we need is a telephone call to arrange a suitable appointment. There is no charge for any visit within office hours. We charge a fee of £20 per visit outside office hours.The Arrangements InterviewThis is the meeting between you and one of our funeral directors to discuss the funeral arrangements. This will usually be at our funeral office or in your own home. The meeting usually lasts about one hour.We would liaise with various parties to arrive at a firm funeral date, for instance the Crematorium or Cemetery, the minister, organist, Churchwardens, and (for burial) the gravedigger.In conversation with you we will talk about the type of funeral service that is right for your loved one, including music, special readings and - most importantly - who is to be asked to officiate at the ceremony.There will be discussion of your requirements for transport on the day, and all matters relating to floral tributes and/or charitable donations.We will provide you with help and advice regarding the registration of the death, including your legal responsibilities in this regard.We are happy to advise on wording for newspaper announcements and will be able to place the announcement in the newspaper of your choice.Your wishes regarding visiting the Chapel of Rest will be discussed, as will the type of coffin to be provided.If the funeral is to be a cremation, we will discuss with you the options for dispersal of cremation ashes.The Crematorium or Cemetery will require your signature on various forms and we will assist to make this task as quick and as simple as possible.The interview would include our detailed advice on the cost of the funeral with the production of an itemised estimate and a confirmation of the arrangements in writing.We conclude with a review of the choices you have made, a reminder of any information/decisions still needed and an outline of what will happen on the day.Sometimes it becomes apparent that an additional meeting is needed, which we are happy to arrange at your convenience.PrintingWe are often asked to produce printed orders of service for funerals and memorial services. They provide a running order for the congregation to follow and usually include the wording of any hymns. They also make a lovely memento of the occasion for those who attend and can be sent as a gift to anyone unable to be there on the day.We are very experienced in the design of these leaflets and, in conjunction with our friends at Fastprint & Design in Gensing Road, St Leonards, can provide a very high quality product. We can incorporate photos and images and can scan and digitally enhance or alter any image as required. Prices depend on the number of booklets to be printed, the number of pages in the booklet and whether they are to be in mono or colour. We can provide a quote on request.We can also supply other printed material like intimation cards (which you send out to advise people of a death and of the funeral arrangements) and prayer cards.AdministrationUnder this heading would come collection and delivery of certificates from and to doctors, hospitals, the coroner's office or the Register Office, completion and checking of forms and certificates and their delivery to the Crematorium or Cemetery Authorities.The information compiled from the arrangements interview needs to be disseminated to our staff so that various tasks are carried out efficiently: collection of the deceased, preparation of the coffin, preparation of the deceased, and the logistics of managing our staff and fleet of funeral vehicles throughout the week. Letters or emails confirming the funeral arrangements will be sent to the officiating clergy or funeral officiant. If you have asked us to handle newspaper announcements for you they will be composed to your requirements, checked for accuracy, sent to the relevant papers and checked for their accurate reception. The cost of the newspaper announcement is added to the funeral account. The amount the newspaper bills us is the amount you pay; we do not add anything on.Similarly, if you have asked us to order flowers for you, the cost can be added to the funeral account and the amount the florist charges us is the amount you pay; we do not add anything on. We normally order flowers from La Collina Gardens with whom we have worked for many years. If you have asked us to handle charitable donations we will acknowledge each donation individually and hold the fund open until all donations have been received. We then write to the charities concerned enclosing the donations, and write to you to advise the total received, enclosing a list of the people who have sent a donation. If wished, we will also create a tribute page on our website in memory of the deceased person, which enables family and friends to donate to the selected charity or charities securely online through MuchLoved.com. The family can also take editorial control of their tribute page to add messages, thoughts, photos, videos and music or light a virtual candle.Attendance of the Funeral Director & Staff at the FuneralOn the day of the funeral there is considerable preparation 'behind the scenes' before we leave, including preparation of the vehicles, closing the coffin, recording of floral tributes received at our premises and placement of floral tributes on the coffin and in the hearse. As well as supervising these activities, the funeral director will also be carrying out a final study of the arrangements to ensure all is in place. He or she will also be calculating timings (of vehicle arrival at the house etc.) with care. With a funeral, preparation is everything.At the Crematorium or Cemetery the funeral director will manage and co-ordinate things so that you may concentrate on the ceremony itself.Our competent and experienced pallbearers will convey the coffin with dignity to its final resting-place. Their responsibilities also include arranging the display of floral tributes after the service and being on hand to provide assistance or advice to anyone attending.After the funeral we will be pleased to present you with the cards from the flowers to keep as a memento and to distribute the flowers to a location of your choice (often the hospital or hospice, a church, a nursing home or children's home). We provide details of the deceased and next-of-kin so that the recipient of the flowers may write an acknowledgement.
Arthur C Towner Ltd: Funeral services
Traditional horse-drawnfunerals available on request