Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services Blog

Introducing The Kingfisher Funerals Community Charity

Kingfisher Funerals of St Neots and Huntingdon are very proud to introduce The Kingfisher Funerals Community Charity which has been established to support the communities of St Neots, St Ives, Huntingdon and the surrounding villages.

The charity is registered with the Charity Commission (registration number 1183152) and provides grants and awards to local organisations which benefit the communities.

The charity has its own dedicated website at www.kingfishercommunitycharity.org

Grants and awards must be charitable, and therefore will usually fall into the following categories:
• The relief of poverty
• The advancement of education
• The saving of lives
• The advancement of community development
• The advancement of the arts and culture
• The advancement of amateur sport
• The advancement of environmental protection and improvement.

Nine years ago, Kingfisher Funerals took the first steps into business in St Neots with a vision to change the way funerals are perceived and arranged in the area. Today we are well established as the only independent funeral directors in both St Neots and Huntingdon, and we have plans to bring our unique service to St Ives in the near future. This is our way to give something back to the communities which have supported us and put their faith in us at their time of need.

Community groups which meet the criteria for applying for a grant are invited to submit an application to the charity.

For more information please see our charity website or call in to our offices in Cemetery Road, St Neots or Princes Street, Huntingdon.

You are welcome to call us on St Neots (01480) 471001 or Huntingdon (01480) 412938 and ask for Scott or Andrew, but please bear in mind that these are our funeral offices and we may not be able to deal with your enquiry immediately due to other work commitments.

Yet Another False Scare in the News

The BBC News website recently carried an article entitled ‘EU embalming fluid ban to change UK funerals‘ and claimed that “grieving loved ones may no longer be able to pay their last respects to dead relatives when the EU bans the chemical in embalming fluid.”

Sadly the article was not well-researched, and contained many inaccuracies which served only to scare those who are in desperate need of better information.

Quite where the BBC obtained the information for the article is questionable. It may be “the fear of Britain’s funeral directors” that if the use of formaldehyde is restricted it will be the end of embalming as we know it now, but isn’t that a good thing?

Embalming has its place. There are certain instances when it is necessary, even. For example, when a person who has died is being transported abroad, regulations state that the body must be embalmed.

However, in the vast majority of cases, embalming is simply a waste of time. It is an invasive process, that if described in detail to most people would be shunned immediately. To say that “the culture around Christian burials and cremations will have to change” is absurd.

The only people who will suffer as a result of restricting embalming are greedy funeral directors who tell their clients that embalming is a necessity if they wish to see their loved one between death and the funeral.

We frequently meet prospective clients who have been told by corporate funeral directors that embalming is advisable, or even necessary. This is simply a sales tactic to increase the client’s spend. When we tell clients that embalming is, in the majority of cases, totally unnecessary, they respect us for being honest, and generally stay with us as funeral directors.

To claim that the length of time between death and a funeral is increasing because of delays in obtaining paperwork, leading to a more prevalent practice of embalming in recent years is complete rubbish.

The delay in funerals is, in many cases, caused by large corporations taking over small funeral directors, and then having a smaller number of staff and vehicles to conduct a larger number of funerals.

Funeral directors tell clients that there are delays at crematoria, and many clients believe them. Some don’t, and come to see us to ask the same question. We tell them the truth, and very often then arrange the funeral within two weeks.

It is rare that we see any significant deterioration between death and a funeral. As long as someone who has died is cooled efficiently and within around 18 hours of death, the bacteria in the body cannot survive, and therefore the process is slowed sufficiently.

There is a strong case that it is unhelpful to see someone “with lifelike appearance” after he or she has died, and that a gradual acceptance of death is much easier if natural deterioration is seen. This does not mean decay or decomposition, but small changes such as dryness of the lips, highlighting of the bone structure around the eyes, and pallor of the skin on the hands and face.

“Embalming remains a common funeral choice in the UK” because it is sold as a necessity, to help corporate funeral directors increase their profits. We know of some companies who incentivise their staff to sell embalming, and reward them for doing so.

We (and many other funeral directors we know) strongly contest the ‘briefing note from the industry’ which says “for the close viewing of the deceased to take place, it is essential for the deceased to be embalmed so the person viewing is safe, and that the deceased’s remains are fixed and stable and do not chemically break down or decompose and/or release embarrassing odours from decomposition.”

If you were given two choices, either that a relative could be treated with gentle respect, washed, dressed and left in peace, or that he or she could be pumped full of toxic chemicals and have a long metal spike pushed violently into all the internal organs, would you really opt for the latter?

Christmas and New Year 2017/18

During the Christmas holiday period this year, our St Neots and Huntingdon offices will close in the mid-afternoon of Friday 22nd December and re-open on Wednesday 27th December. On Wednesday 27th, Thursday 28th and Friday 29th December, the offices will be open for reduced hours. Over New Year we will only be closed on Monday 1st January 2018. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

We will be providing a telephone service between 8.00am and 6.00pm each day over the holiday period, and should you require our assistance, please just call us on (01480) 471001 or (01480) 412938. The answerphone will be on outside these hours, and we will respond to any messages at 8.00am.

Wednesday 27th December 2017 – both offices open 10.30am – 2.30pm
Thursday 28th December 2017 – St Neots office open 10.00am – 3.00pm
Thursday 28th December 2017 – Huntingdon office open 10am – 12.15pm & 1.15 – 3.00pm
Friday 29th December 2017 – both offices open 10.00am – 2.00pm
Saturday 30th December 2017 – both offices closed
Sunday 31st December 2017 – both offices closed
Monday 1st January 2018 – both offices closed
Tuesday 2nd January 2018 – both offices open as usual

Scott, Philip and Andrew would like to wish everyone a very peaceful Christmas, and a prosperous and happy 2018.

Great Paxton Church Tower Sit-In

Sarah Symonds and Janet Williams like the church tower at Great Paxton so much they are planning a tower sit-in on Sunday 3rd December 2017 from 1.00pm to 3.00pm in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. They will climb to the top of the tower, through the hatch and onto the roof, and sit up there for two hours. At 2.00pm it is hoped that people will come along and sing carols and drink mulled wine – and make a donation to the work of Macmillan nurses at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Janet writes “In September this year I trekked the Great Wall of China to raise money for Macmillan in memory of my father, with funds going to the new cancer unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. This was a personal challenge for me but it was all in a good cause. When my friend Sarah suggested we sit on a church roof for two hours, it seemed easy in comparison. However a practice run showed us this wouldn’t be the case. Just getting out onto the roof will be a challenge – a narrow winding staircase, a short wooden ladder over a sharp drop, navigating round rather large bells, then more ladders to get up to a small hole in the wall to reach the roof – plus our fears of heights. So once up there we shall be staying put until the end. Being up there will have a mix of emotions- but please come along and join us in the fun and help us raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.”

Mulled wine and mince pies will be available from 1.00pm onwards. Sarah is a member of the congregation at Little Paxton Church, and a holistic therapy practitioner in the village. Janet is a therapist friend.

The team at Kingfisher Funerals wish Sarah and Janet the very best with their challenge.

The Fair Funeral Pledge

fair_funerals_pledge_RGBLogo_for_FDS-page-0Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services have recently committed to the enhanced Fair Funerals pledge designed by Quaker Social Action to encourage funeral directors to put their prices online.

We believe this is a fundamental requirement for any business, and we have openly displayed our prices since the first day we opened our doors. We designed and promoted our estimate generator to allow potential clients to see how different options affected the overall cost of a funeral, as well as introducing and advertising fixed-price funerals which allow people to budget without any worry.

Not very long ago, a funeral director was interviewed on Radio 2 and asked how much a funeral cost. His answer was that he wasn’t prepared to discuss “commercially sensitive” material in public. Imagine how the general public would react if supermarkets didn’t display prices! Why are funeral directors any different?

We are also aware of a local funeral director quoting a potential client nearly £4,000 for a fairly basic funeral. The client came to see us and we quoted £2,200. The client then returned to the first funeral director and asked why they were so much more expensive. That funeral director promptly reduced his or her price to £2,000!

This lack of openness makes it difficult for people without much money to shop around and find a funeral within their budget. There are very large differences between what funeral directors charge, but without being able to check prices before speaking to a funeral director, many people don’t realise this and end up spending more than they can afford, which often leads to crippling debts.

We quote the same price to everyone. Because we openly advertise our prices, we have to. We just wouldn’t feel comfortable halving the price we quoted a potential client in order to undercut another funeral director.

We recommend and encourage potential clients to talk to several funeral directors before appointing one. Shopping around is quite acceptable, and the difference in service is sometimes unbelievable.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in Huntingdon and St Neots. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

Kingfisher Funerals win UK Funeral Services of the Year 2016

Certificate 2016 BoSNWe are very proud to have won the title of UK Funeral Services of the Year for the second year running.

The competition is organised by The Best Of – a UK-wide business with franchises in many towns and cities in the country. Winners are chosen based on the number of positive testimonials they receive from clients during the year. The testimonials are verified before being accepted.

We strive to be the best funeral directors in our local area, and in particular in Huntingdon and St Neots. Our independence allows us to stand out amongst local competitors because we are able to encourage our clients to do whatever is right for them when it comes to arranging a funeral. We are not under any pressure to sell expensive or unnecessary items, and we genuinely make sure that each and every one of our clients is treated as an individual.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services continues to grow as a business. As more and more local funeral directors are bought by large, faceless, corporate companies, we thrive on being open and honest about our ownership, our services and our costs. We believe that we are the only funeral directors in Cambridgeshire to openly display all of our prices on our website.

We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).We are very proud to have won the title of UK Funeral Services of the Year for the second year running.

 

Avoid Delays Before Funerals by Choosing an Independent Funeral Director

Kingfisher - Hunts Post Full Page - Jan-2016 - ARTWORKHere’s our latest full page advert, which appeared in The Hunts Post last week. Click on it to bring it up to full size.

Particularly at this time of year, we often hear about long delays between death and a funeral, and how funeral directors tell their clients that the crematorium is full.

In reality, by being flexible, we can almost always find a way of organising a funeral without a lengthy delay.

Large, corporate funeral directors are often conducting funerals for many different offices, so are restricted by the practicalities of vehicle movements and staff whereabouts. But instead of telling their clients this, they blame it on the crematorium.

Small, independent funeral directors are focussed on providing a service to their clients rather than maximising profits for their shareholders. Because of this, we can usually avoid delays with funerals.

We recommend and encourage potential clients to talk to several funeral directors before appointing one. Shopping around is quite acceptable, and the difference in service is sometimes unbelievable.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in Huntingdon and St Neots. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

Rise in Number of ‘Pauper’ Funerals

PH funeral graphMedia attention continues to focus on the rise in the number of ‘pauper’ funerals (ie those provided by the local council because families cannot afford them).

As prices of funerals soar, so the number of people facing financial difficulty to fund them rises.

As a company, we are committed to keeping the cost of funerals as low as possible. We do this by rejecting the corporate approach of upselling, and by focussing on the emotional benefit of a funeral.

“We don’t tell you what you need, we listen to what you want.”

Look out for our new, full page advert which is due to appear in The Hunts Post this week. It explains that funerals don’t have to be expensive, and encourages people to speak to several funeral directors before making their decision who to appoint.

We recently saved a client over £1500 simply because she shopped around.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in Huntingdon and St Neots. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

Helping Make Huntingdon Dementia-Friendly

VDT KIFD poster version 3In recent months the forecast increase of dementia has been highlighted in the media and recognised as a global health challenge. With a predicted 40% increase in the next 12 years there will be few of us whose lives are not affected directly or indirectly by dementia.

We have offered our premises in Huntingdon on Monday 16th November 2015 to ‘training2care’ to enable them to carry out the Virtual Dementia Tour. This training is the only scientifically proven method of giving people with a healthy brain an experience of what dementia might be like.

The Virtual Dementia Tour is a unique, interactive training experience that is proven to improve communication and care for professionals in the health and care industries, those caring for their loved ones or individuals just wanting to know more about dementia. Meeting someone with dementia can be a daunting experience, because sometimes we do not know how to deal with the situation.

This ‘tour’ will hopefully enable people to identify with and better understand the behaviours and needs of those affected by dementia.  There is a fee of £23.99 for each participant. If you would like more information about the tour or to book a place please call us on (01480) 412938.

Please Support our Easter Egg Appeal

Easter EggsKingfisher Funerals of St Neots and Huntingdon are collecting Easter Eggs to give to sick children this Easter. We will present all the eggs we collect to children on Holly Ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in the hope that we can bring smiles to some small faces at this celebratory time of year.

The Hunts Post carries a picture of Scott, Nicola and Philip clutching as many eggs as possible, on page 2 this week.

We have already been astounded by the generosity of people dropping Easter Eggs in to our offices, and we assure you that every gift, no matter how small, really will be gratefully received.

If you would like to donate an Easter Egg, please feel free to drop it in to either of our offices during normal opening hours.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in Huntingdon and St Neots. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).