Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone


Posted in Funerals in the pub or at home by sheelanagigcomedienne on September 27, 2011

I think that funerals for those of us who are not religious believers  should take place  within the community.  That could be at home, in a garden,  a community centre, hotel or in the pub. After all, these are the very places that those attending funerals go to afterwards so why not hold the funeral ceremony there too,  followed by a brief visit to the crematorium for the committal  with a small group of  immediate family/friends. The number of mourners attending and accessibility would need to be considered as would a plan B  if  there was a hope of holding a funeral outdoors.

According to the font of knowledge that is Wikipedia : Funeral rites are as old as the human culture itself, predating modern Homo sapiens, to at least 300,000 years ago

We can assume that early funerals were held outdoor, in caves or temporary dwellings as well as in homes later or wherever families and the communities gather.

I wrote to the editor of the MORNING ADVERTISER the publicans  weekly publication. I GOT NO REPLY.  It reminded me of the time I contacted IKEA as to when they were going to supply flat pack coffins. At least, they replied and told Madam that they had no plans to stock the item mentioned.

Nick Rizzuto, son of a mafia boss, is buried in a gold coffin.

Dear Paul Charity,

I am writing to you about something I would like to see happen in pubs.

I am a Humanist celebrant and we conduct non-religious personal, humorous ceremonies. I have often conducted Namings and Naming/Wedding combined ceremonies in pubs. Pubs are very much secular venues in the community. My main work is funerals and, again, the post funeral after gathering is held in a local or favourite pub. Just as the very religious would use a church I believe that the non- religious should have their community venue for the actual funeral which is the pub. There is no legal impediment to holding a funeral ceremony in a pub only tradition and squeamishness . The only issue would be the ease of physical access for the coffin on the ground floor. There could also be an issue about parking.  It wouldn’t suit many premises but even if a few pubs were prepared to accommodate a funeral it would be great..  I have taken funeral ceremonies in community halls and hotels followed by the committal at the local crematorium with immediate family/friends with the guests remaining at the venue till they return. This has been mainly because I told them it was an option. However, by the time that the Funeral Directors contact us they will have already made a booking with the crematorium. Most of our funeral come via the FDs and they are still very conservative.

I feel very strongly about this. After all, pubs are like secular churches and , in rural areas, very much the hub of community life. I had the privilege of conducting the funeral service for the great comedian Dave Allen and I feel sure that it would have suited him to have his funeral held in a pub if it had become the norm.

So I am asking if there is any way you might do a little piece on this just to see what the reaction would be from your publican readers. After all they are in the business of hospitality in the community. There may be one or two of them who would be prepared to try to see how it went and it just raising the idea might cause amusement and a talking point about the function of a pub and how to have a good funeral.
I happen to live in south London but our network of celebrants is nationwide. I would be very happy to speak to any publicans who would consider it in order to get a reaction/consensus from their customers/ local community.

Yours sincerely,

Whenever I blog about funerals I can’t help googgling for quirky pictures, looking at coffins etc.

Star Trek coffin.

Eco-friendly cocoon made from soy-based resin and other environmentally friendly materials.

The saddest clowns ever.

Hearse Towed from Funeral



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