Arranging a funeral
Helping you to say goodbye, your own way
What we do and how we can help
Our care for you and your loved one starts as soon as you contact us. We will bring your loved one into our care as soon as we can, to be treated with respect and dignity at all times. We will help you every step of the way, offering you advice and suggestions to ensure that you say goodbye in a way that you would wish. If your loved one hasn't left you specific instructions, we can help you decide what sort of funeral to have.
We will meet with you either at one of our funeral homes or in your own home to go through with you, step-by-step, all that needs to be done and to discuss your wishes. Following this, we will send you a complete confirmation of all the arrangements that we have made, so you can make sure that we have understood your instructions to us. A full written estimate of the costs involved will also be sent to you for you to approve.
We will keep you fully informed at every stage, and you can contact your dedicated funeral director at anytime if you have any queries.
Each funeral that we help with is unique and we are here to make sure that you say your goodbyes to your loved one in the way that you want.
What follows below is a guide to some of the options that we offer, but we are flexible and open to your own ideas.
Once you have decided on the way that you would like to say goodbye, there are further considerations such as newspaper notices, flowers, orders of service and where to have a wake (if you want one).
Later on, you may decide to have a headstone or other memorial to commemorate your loved one. We can help and advise you if you wish. For a brief guide, click here.
Today, three out of four people opt to be cremated. This doesn't mean you have to have a service at a crematorium. You can have the service wherever you like, and you don't have to go to the crematorium at all.
What is a direct cremation?
If you want to have a simple funeral for your loved one, without all the trappings normally associated with funerals, a 'Direct Cremation' is our simplest and most affordable option. A direct cremation is a cremation without a ceremony or funeral service. You can visit to pay your last respects, if you feel you want to, before your loved one is taken to the crematorium of our choosing. The ashes will be returned to you afterwards, for you to keep or scatter as you wish.
What if I want to have a funeral ceremony as well?
If you would like to have a ceremony before or after a direct cremation, there are many choices available. A direct cremation can take place after a religious service, a ceremony at a village hall, town hall, sports club or even your own home. We also have a dedicated chapel in Newton Abbot that you can use. We can recommend religious ministers and non-religious celebrants to guide and help you.
A direct cremation, with the use of our our Hall, and a choice of a minister or celebrant.
Our hall at Newton Abbot seats up to 60 people and is available for a service of celebration. The hall can be set up how you wish, to have a service exactly as you require. Our sound system can be used to play as many pieces of music as you like.
As this is our own venue, there is no time constraint on your use. We also have the facilities to provide teas and coffees, or we can arrange a caterer to come in to serve light refreshments. You are, of course, more than welcome to do this yourselves.
The Simplicity Funeral is based on a service at our hall, followed by a direct cremation at Charlton Park. However, if you wish to attend the cremation service, we'd be more than happy to organise this for you. This will have a bearing on the overall cost of the funeral.
If you would prefer to hold a funeral in an alternative place, rather than a more formal setting of a church or crematorium, the team at Christophers' Family Funerals can arrange gatherings on farmlands, at country hotels, in village halls, at your own home if you wish. A ceremony can take place before a cremation, or after as a memorial service.
It is important to us to give you the choices to create the funeral that you wish to hold. You can choose to be as involved in the service as you would like. You can decide on words and music, decorate the coffin, have personal coffin bearers; it is completely up to you.
The non-traditional cremation is based on an unattended cremation, but as with the Simplicity funeral, an attended service can be arranged.
A full service at the crematorium means that you only have one venue to organise. A service at a crematorium can be religious, non-religious or something in-between, according to your's and your loved one's beliefs. The service can be public or private, involving just your family members
Although you can have an organist to play, our local crematoriums offer a free music service through Wesley Media. They have thousands of hymns and other tracks to choose from, which are played over the Crematorium's sound system. For a a fee, you can also have visual tributes, a web cast or recording of the service.
Religious Service followed by Cremation
If you and your loved one have strong religious beliefs, it is likely that you would want a service in a church or other place of worship before a cremation takes place.
We can help you through liaising with ministers and organists. Most houses of worship will allow secular music to be played, particularly at the beginning and end of the service. Our music system can be used to play whatever you request. The cremation can take place directly after the service, or if you prefer, if can be organised for later on in the day, allowing you time to join your friends for refreshments first.
As an alternative, a memorial service could take place after the cremation instead, allowing for a more relaxed ceremony.
What do I do with the ashes?
If you've chosen to have a cremation, then you will need to decide what to do with the ashes afterwards.
Scattering ashes at a place or places that holds positive memories for you is a popular choice. We supply scattering tubes of many different designs which provide a colourful vessel to keep the ashes in until you're ready to release them.
Burying or 'interring'
If you wish to have specific place to visit, the ashes can be interred in a churchyard, cemetery, non religious burial ground or in your garden.
Keeping at Home
Choosing a beautiful cremation urn and keeping the ashes at home is a way some people choose to keep their loved one close by. This may be just a temporary measure while you decide what to do with the ashes.
Plant them with a tree
Have them mixed into ink for a tattoo
Put them into a firework
Have them turned into a jewel
Ask us or visit our friends at Scattering Ashes for all sorts of ideas and advice.
Cremation isn't for everyone, and for some it goes contrary to their religious beliefs. Burials can take place in a churchyard, cemetery, a woodland or green burial site, or on your own land (if certain guidelines are followed).
A traditional burial takes place in a churchyard or cemetery, usually following on from a service in a place of worship.
Most of our local, rural churches have space in their churchyards for burials to take place. Burials can be single, double or triple-depth allowing family members to be interred together. If your loved one has requested to be buried and they have no religious beliefs, or the place of worship they have attended doesn't have a burial site, a local cemetery or crematorium grounds can be used.
Teignbridge has cemeteries in Newton Abbot, Kingsteignton, Teignnmouth and Dawlish.
If there is a memorial to be removed for the interment takes place, we will arrange for this to be done, with your permission. If it is a new grave, and you would like a headstone, we can help and advise you. Please see the section below on memorials for a more information.
Green or Woodland Burial
A natural, informal alternative
A ‘green’ burial is a more organic and natural alternative to a traditional graveyard or crematorium. It can provide a more relaxed environment that is not governed by formalities and time constraints. You can have a religious ceremony, a secular ceremony, or no ceremony at all.
In South Devon we are fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful and peaceful landscapes, which provide us with many burial sites. Green and woodland burials sites stipulate that eco-friendly, fully biodegradable, plastic-free coffins such as willow, bamboo, cotton or wool are used reducing the impact to the landscape as much as possible.
Our local green and woodland burial sites:
With stunning views over the River Dart and across the South Hams, offering burials and interment of ashes.
An established woodland, with a mix of wildflowers and shrubs. Wild plants, insects, birds and other animals have all made this woodland their home.
The site is part of Conqueror Wood with panoramic views over the whole of Torbay, with open glades and paths with views of the sea.
Tucked away down a quiet lane, but perched on the brow of a hill with views across Dartmoor, the burial site is tranquil and undisturbed. The site is a haven for wildlife and is kept in a way that encourages nature to flourish.
The usual coffin that we use is a real oak wood veneer, with the appropriate fittings for either burial or cremation. It is suitable for all our funerals except a green or woodland burial which would require an eco-coffin made of willow or other easily bio-degradable material.
However, we can source and supply a huge range of options for coffins. From traditional wooden coffins and increasingly popular eco-coffins, to more specialist requests such as cardboard or wool.
All the coffins that we use are Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers’ Association (FFMA) approved.
If you decide that you would like to buy a coffin yourself online, we ask that you purchase from an FFMA accredited supplier which guarantees that the coffin you buy is of the highest standard.
Flowers can be such a beautiful reflection of memories. With flowers, no words need to be spoken. a floral arrangement can be very personal to display a meaningful reminder through favourite fragrances, flowers and colours.
We are very fortunate to have close links with Karen at 2020 Flowers. She creates such stunning floral tributes that are individually commissioned by you to reflect your loved one.
If traditional sympathy flowers are not what you're looking for, take a look at these alternative inspirations and speak to us about arranging flowers to fit the service style.
Of course, you don't need to have flowers at all. We have had coffins painted by family members, hats and other personal items placed on top, national or sporting flags.
If it is right for you and your family, we can organise an announcement in our local newspapers, national papers or any other publication that you choose.
If you are in doubt over what you would to say, we can help and advise you.
At this point, you may like to decide if you would like a collection for charity at the funeral.
We also have an online service where we can publish your notice for free, if you wish.
Please see our funeral notices.
Following a burial, a memorial can be placed on the grave site after a few months have elapsed. This is to allow the ground to settle. A cremation tablet can be placed a lot sooner. If there is already a memorial in place that has to be removed for an interment, we can arrange for the stone to be cleaned and a further inscription added.
Headstones & Cremation Tablets
The first thing to consider is the headstone itself. Our range is based on what is acceptable to the Church of England and local cemeteries. The best thing to do is to look around at the churchyard or cemetery where the memorial is to be set to see what would look best in the surroundings.
Cremation tablets are also available, in a desktop form or a standard flat piece of stone. The usual material to use in this part of Devon is granite or slate.
Please see our leaflet for our range of memorial styles that will be acceptable to most local churchyards and cemeteries.
The next consideration is the choice of inscription. The church is quite particular about the wording on memorials, local authority cemeteries less so. If in doubt, please contact us or have a look at this sheet for some acceptable suggestions. Please also consider if a further inscription will be necessary in the future.
The letters are usually cut into the stone (incised) and painted black on granite and white, sliver or gold on slate.
As soon as you have decided what style of memorial and what inscription to have, we will provide you with a written quote and a drawing of the proposed work for you to approve. The price of a memorial depends on the material and inscription chosen. We will also lodge an application to the relevant church or cemetery.
We ask for a 75% deposit at this point, along with the churchyard or cemetery fees.
When we have the approval for the memorial from you and the relevant authority, we are free to commission the stone and fix the memorial when it is ready. This may take some time, but we will let you know as soon as the memorial is in place, and will not ask for the balance to be paid until this time.