This month – and in light of our National Day of Reflection on the 23rd – we speak to Nick and Jacqui Taimitarha of White Rose Modern Funerals.
How did you get into this business?
We launched in 2018 as a result of our own poor experience of trying to arrange a simple funeral for Nick’s mother and attending the funeral of a friend that just did not reflect their life. We felt there should be more flexibility for families, that wasn’t limited to either a traditional format, or a direct cremation where no one attends. We felt that price transparency and affordable, creative choices should be easily available. Our team has now grown to include funeral arranger Holly and lead operative Ian, both local residents.
Explain the term ‘modern funerals’ in your name:
Traditionally, funeral homes are not comforting in their High Street appearance and the approach is to ‘sell a package’, centred around a hearse procession and how many limousines. We have a relaxing meeting room in Teddington, can visit a family at home, or use Zoom. Our approach is to find out about the family member who has died, before helping a family to make informed choices, considering whether an informal, low-key approach or a sense of ceremony is more appropriate. We have our hearsette (where the coffin is not visible), which is more fitting when a family wishes to keep things less formal. Eighty per cent of funerals are cremation, but you don’t have to have the service at the crematorium – we have found beautiful venues that are less funereal where the service can be held with the coffin, and the family don’t have to attend the crematorium after.
Do you offer sustainable options?
We are advocates of Natural Burials – these are either woodland or meadow locations and we see a sense of peace with families when they choose this. There are more sustainable coffin choices made from biodegradable materials such as bamboo, willow or cardboard. We also work with a talented local florist who creates stunning hand-tied coffin bouquets, which avoids the use of plastic and oasis, meaning a family can take them home afterwards too.
How do you help with the process of planning a funeral?
We know we can’t make a family feel better, but we can help to make the process of planning a funeral easier. Questions will crop up at all hours so we create a WhatsApp group so a family can liaise with us anytime. We set up an online tribute page to help families communicate the funeral details to family and friends. We hand-hold the family throughout each stage – from bringing the person who’s died into our care, making the arrangements and being there on the day to support them. Some families like to lead the service themselves, and we help to facilitate this. Or we organise a minister or celebrant.
How do you support people dealing with their grief?
We recognise the effect of isolation following a death and with many of the families we help being within a 5-mile radius, we host our ‘Cup of Company’ coffee mornings every six weeks, to help people connect with others also grieving. We also recommend the charity Space2Grieve and a bereavement course soon to be launched by the wonderful ministerial team at St Mary with St Alban.
If no money has been put aside, how can people organise a decent funeral for their loved one?
Our No-Fuss attended funeral held before 10am helps to give families a simple, meaningful farewell, inclusive of associated fees for around £2,000. We always advise on how to minimise costs no matter the funeral size. The government Funeral Expenses Payment is also available for certain circumstances.
Dealing with such sad circumstances at work, how do you keep positive when off-duty?
Working with funerals has taught us about life in ways we could not have envisaged, and in turn has probably built our resilience to facing tough situations. We adore the river and are regular paddleboarders. Nick plays keyboard in a band, we love good food and being social with friends.
Causeway House, 13 The Causeway, Teddington TW11 0JR
020 3281 1045
Compiled by The Word Sanctum,
Copywriters for small businesses.