Austin's Blog

 

Claire Receives Outstanding Contribution to Charity Award

June 17th, 2019    Author:

Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 2019 “Outstanding Contribution to Charity” Award

Claire Austin receiving her Award

On Thursday evening (13th June 2019), I had the great pleasure of attending the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards held at St Albans Cathedral. Austin’s Funeral Service has been involved as a sponsor and a judge for these  awards for several years.

This particular evening, however, I had not anticipated being the recipient of an award.  It was a great surprise and privilege to receive the chamber’s award for Outstanding Contribution to Charity and to be presented with this accolade by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE. I have undertaken a number of challenges to raise funds for local causes, including running the London Marathon, building a dam in Vietnam, a skydive and having my head shaved. In my role as Managing Director of Austin’s Funeral Service and Harwood Park Crematorium, I have become fully aware of the needs of our local community. My endeavours have provided funds to assist many local charities and I have found many of these activities personally rewarding. To be recognised, in this way, by the Hertfordshire Chamber is a great  honour.

 

A Guide to Winter Funerals

November 13th, 2018    Author:

With the weather turning chilly, we’ve put together some tips on dealing with a winter funeral

WHAT TO WEAR
Keeping warm will be a key factor in your choice of outfit as you’re likely to be spending time outside viewing the flowers and chatting to mourners after the service. You might want to layer your outfit with a cardigan or jumper that can be removed if you get too hot. Likewise, a thick coat will keep out the chill and be easy to slip off when you’re inside. If you particularly feel the cold you may want to wear some thermal underwear. And don’t forget winter accessories such as hats, scarves and gloves – as well as keeping you toasty, these can be used to add a little bit of colour, if that’s what your loved one would have liked.

CHOOSING THE FLOWERS
There are plenty of winter flowers available for wreaths and floral arrangements. For something different, you could include pine cones, fresh spruce and eucalyptus, or perhaps go with a white and red theme for a December funeral. If, on the other hand, you want a more warm and colourful arrangement, think about including tropical flowers, many of which are available all year round. If you need help with your floral display, our florist (Daizy flowers] will be pleased to advise you.

HANDY HELPERS
Tissues are always useful to have to hand – but with winter sniffles you might want to take an extra supply, for you as well as other mourners. If it’s raining take an umbrella plus a spare one just in case yours breaks or you lose it. When the weather’s really cold, you could take a hand warmer, which will easily fit into a pocket or handbag. And finally, remember that wintery weather can cause problems driving so have de-icer on standby and a spade in your car in case of heavy snow.

POST-FUNERAL RECEPTION
A cold buffet is usually the simplest way to cater for mourners after a funeral, but when the weather is cold you may want to offer a hot option such as soup or stew. You could use your loved one’s own recipe it and personalise it with a menu card, like ‘Nan’s hearty vegetable soup’. As well as tea and coffee, you could offer a fun option such as hot chocolate with marshmallows and sprinkles.

* Austin’s are here to help you with funeral planning. Please get in touch with us on 01438 316623.

The rise of ‘fun’ funerals

August 10th, 2018    Author:

Once upon a time, when you attended a funeral it would be a sombre occasion with mourners dressed in black. Today, many funeral services are conducted as a celebration, with loved ones choosing a fun theme to represent the deceased’s personality or interests.

In America, one funeral home has become known for its themed funerals – including a
Christmas-themed service complete with snow, elves and reindeers and a BBQ-inspired after party with live pigs and a barbeque sauce fountain. And in the UK, so-called ‘fun funerals’ are becoming increasingly popular, too. According to the National Association of Funeral Directors, their members have arranged all sorts of themed services involving classic cars, railways and the Wild West.

Superheroes are a popular choice. For one funeral service for a Spider-Man fan, the coffin was covered in Spider-Man stickers. Undertakers often get into the spirit of the theme as well, with one dressing as Darth Vader to lead the cortege for a Star Wars style funeral.

At the funeral of a music festival fan, the Glastonbury-inspired service saw all the mourners dressed in wellington boots while the coffin arrived on a customised camper van. For a football fan, mourners wore football shirts and the service finished with a final whistle. There’s even been a funeral service where everyone wore a onesie – the favourite outfit of the deceased.

A ‘fun’ funeral service isn’t for everyone. Recently TV presenter Colin Brazier asked mourners at his wife’s funeral to keep with tradition and wear black https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44923744, but in one study it was found that 66% of people believed funerals were becoming more of a celebration of a deceased person’s life, with a third saying that when it came to their own funeral they’d like it to be a party.

You might not want elves and sauce fountains at your loved one’s funeral but you may like to personalise the service to reflect their fun side. Whatever you decide, we’re here to help and support you.

* To talk to us about planning a funeral or cremation, please contact Austin’s on 01438 316623.

Shave for the community video

July 26th, 2018    Author: