Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services Blog

Coronavirus and Funerals … Updated 7th June 2020

As the lockdown continues to ease, we have taken the decision to re-open our offices in a controlled manner in order to protect our staff and visitors, with effect from Monday 8th June 2020.

Our offices in St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives will be open by appointment only from Monday to Friday, between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

We ask for no more than two people to visit our offices at a time please, with the exception of those attending a funeral ceremony at any of our premises, at which the maximum number of attendees is 8 people.

Please do not come to our offices if you have been in contact with anyone with Covid-19 in the last two weeks, or if you are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19.

We have installed automatic hand gel dispensers at the entrance to each of our premises. Please use these as you come in, and again as you leave.

We regret that whilst the pandemic is ongoing, we will not be offering drinks to clients. We will be making as many funeral arrangements as possible by telephone and e-mail, and asking you to attend the offices only if absolutely necessary. We ask you to keep your visit times to a minimum.

Our chapels of rest will be open once again, subject to restrictions which we will discuss with you if necessary.

We will be undertaking rigorous cleaning regimes every day, and after every visit from clients. This is why we need to ask you to make an appointment to visit us.

We can offer the facility to broadcast funerals which are held at our premises via Zoom, which enables up to 100 people to be connected and watch the funeral.

Stay safe. Stay home where possible. Stay well.

Coronavirus and Funerals … Further Updates

Yesterday (1st April 2020) it was announced that the daily death toll from Covid-19-related deaths had risen considerably to 563 cases in 24 hours. This is a clear indication that the pandemic is taking hold in the UK. The government expect this number to increase considerably by the end of this week.

We have therefore taken the difficult decision to close our offices completely to the public, except for funeral ceremonies which will be strictly controlled.

We have not taken this decision lightly. We understand that it will cause heartache at a time when there are already many restrictions in place, for example in the number of people who can attend funerals, and the service that can be provided.

However, we are a responsible business, and we take the health of our staff and our clients extremely seriously. If the pandemic causes issues with the death rate in this area, we will need to be healthy and available to help. That’s why we’re designated as key workers. That’s the nature of our business.

We regret that it means visits to our chapel of rest are temporarily suspended. We know that many responsible, independent funeral directors are taking the same stance as us. We also know that some of the larger corporate funeral directors are staying open and saying there is no issue. That is their choice. We prefer to stay safe and protect our staff and our clients.

If you would like to talk about this, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to explain our reasons for making this decision in more detail.

Stay safe. Stay home. Stay well.

 

Coronavirus and Funeral … Updated Information

How are we adapting our business during the coronavirus pandemic, and what are we offering the community?

During this pandemic, many will assume that those in our profession will be the last people to worry about their businesses. Nothing could be further from the truth, and at Kingfisher Funerals we are making massive changes. We want to retain our reputation for being innovative, whilst still providing an essential service to our community.

It is clear that funerals will have to change during the pandemic, and perhaps for some considerable time thereafter. The government has instructed mass gatherings of families and friends to be avoided. In the last week we have seen a dramatic drop in the number of attendees at funerals. Local crematoria are taking steps to limit the spread of the virus. Yeovil Crematorium in Somerset has cancelled public services, and it may not be long before others follow suit.

 We have always offered the facility to hold funerals at our premises. We will continue to offer this facility, but we will restrict the number of attendees to immediate family only, and we will practise social distancing during ceremonies. Our music playing facilities and ability to truly personalise ceremonies are unaffected. We have the facility to live stream the funeral service or ceremony so that those unable to attend the funeral can watch it from home as it happens. If you can’t come to the funeral, we’ll bring it to you.

We have ceremony rooms at our premises in St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives, and can offer these facilities in all three towns.

Our staff are now working from home in order to protect themselves and their families. We need them to be healthy so we can cope with any rise in demand that the virus brings. They have full access to our computer system, our diary and our phone system. All phone calls and emails will be answered as normal.

We will be arranging funerals by telephone and email wherever possible. We have video facilities for clients who would like some visual interaction.

We have two members of staff who will look after our mortuaries and the people in our care. If both members of staff are in the same place they will wear the necessary PPE to protect themselves from each other and from any risk of infection in the mortuary.

We have closed our offices to the general public in order to provide what we believe will become an essential community service. This will enable us to thoroughly clean our premises between each funeral ceremony, and to take necessary precautions to limit the spread of Covid-19.

For further information, please visit any of our websites, or call St Neots (01480 471001), Huntingdon (01480 412938) or St Ives (01480 573080).

Coronavirus and Funerals

Yesterday the government issued advice to avoid mass gatherings with friends and family, as well as large gatherings and crowded places.

Whilst there was no official guidance related to funerals, there is a clear link between a “gathering of friends and family” and a “funeral”.

At the moment funeral ceremonies and services are going ahead as planned.

Our advice at this stage is to use common sense to decide whether to attend a funeral, particularly if you are in a high-risk group (over the age of 70, pregnant or with a chronic illness). If you feel unwell, have travelled through and affected area, or you have symptoms such as a fever or a dry persistent cough which indicate you could be carrying the virus, please do not attend funerals.

As a business we are monitoring the situation very closely, and adapting our practices daily. We have documented our current views and intentions, which we are putting in place to protect our clients and our staff. You can access this document here Kingfisher Policy for Coronavirus Protection

We have always been forward-thinking and creative in arranging funerals, and we continue to have this attitude. We are able to offer the facility to hold funeral ceremonies our premises in St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives. Ceremonies held at our premises are intimate, relaxed and meaningful. They lend themselves to small gatherings, and enable families to come together in a single place for a funeral. For more information please see the relevant pages on our website for St Neots, for Huntingdon and for St Ives.

It may become necessary to change the way funerals “look” – for instance it may be prudent for cremation or burial to take place with no mourners present, and to have a memorial ceremony at a later date. We are able and happy to advise on this option, and more details can be found here Direct Cremation Option 1 and here Direct Cremation Option 2

We remain committed to providing a personal and professional service to all who need us, and we will work with every client individually to create the right funeral in these testing and unprecedented times.

If you require any help or guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us on St Neots (01480 471001), Huntingdon (01480 412938) or St Ives (01480 573080).

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors with offices in St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives.

The Fair Funerals 2020 Pledge

We are delighted that we have been accepted as one of the first signatories of the Fair Funerals 2020 Pledge.

The 2020 Pledge is Quaker Social Action‘s campaign to highlight funeral directors who are committed to price transparency, by displaying their prices openly and prominently on their websites, enabling potential clients to research costs of funerals before signing up to something they may not be able to afford.

When we established our business in 2010, we were insistent that our prices would be online, despite many funeral directors warning us against this. We were seen as bringing the profession into disrepute by being open about everything.

We knew that clients should be able to see what we charged before committing to our services, and we were very pleased when we started to become known as the funeral directors with our prices online. Other funeral directors around the country who were thinking of doing the same thing started to contact us and ask if it was detrimental to our business, as they had been led to believe it would be.

Now, 10 years later, more and more funeral directors are publishing their prices online, and being open and honest about their charges.

However, there are still not enough.

The Competition and Markets Authority yesterday published some research as part of their investigation into funeral directors and the way the profession operates. The Ipsos Mori survey has interesting results. 74 funeral directors were emailed and asked for a price list. A staggeringly low 18 funeral directors responded, and of those 18, only 11 actually sent one.

The corporate funeral directors are keen to point out that they are being open, and the trade associations are similarly quick to say that they encourage their members to be open.

The reality is clearly different.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services of St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives are proud to be entirely open and honest about everything involved in arranging a funeral. We continue to make all of our prices clearly available online, over the telephone, and in our offices. We believe that we are the only funeral directors in Cambridgeshire to do this (but we’d love to be proved wrong).

For more information please call any of our offices St Neots (01480) 471001, Huntingdon (01480) 412938 or St Ives (01480) 573080.

Kingfisher Funerals Opens New Office in St Ives, Cambridgeshire

We are very proud to announce the opening of our third office in the region, in New Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire.

After what seems like years of searching for the right place, we finally found Cemas House in October 2019, and moved in during January 2020.

Whilst we had looked at several smaller premises in the town centre, we knew that we wanted to offer something different in the area, namely the facility to hold a funeral ceremony within our premises. We offer this in St Neots and Huntingdon already, and our clients really appreciate the ability to hold a small, intimate service in the town, rather than needing to travel to a crematorium.

Our ceremony room in St Ives can seat 35 people comfortably, and clients can decorate the room as they wish, with flowers, photographs and memorabilia. The funeral can be religious, non-religious or semi-religious, and can be as unique as the person who has died.

 

Of course, we can also arrange traditional funerals, and funerals using a combination of traditional and modern aspects, for example a church service followed by a woodland burial.

We specialise in listening to what you want, rather than telling you what you need. We love a challenge, and we dislike saying ‘no’ so much that we make it our policy not to!

For more details about our service, please feel free to call in to any of our branches, or telephone us at St Neots (01480) 471001, Huntingdon (01480) 412938 or St Ives (01480) 573080.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only independent funeral directors with offices in St Ives, Huntingdon and St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

 

Christmas and New Year 2019/2020

During the Christmas holiday period this year, our St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives offices will close in the early afternoon of Tuesday 24th December and re-open on Monday 30th December.

On Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st December, the offices will be open for reduced hours.

Over New Year we will only be closed on Wednesday 1st January 2020. Normal hours will resume on Thursday 2nd January 2020.

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 or (01480) 573080. The answerphone will be on outside these hours, and we will respond to any messages at 8.00am.

 

Wednesday 25th December 2019 – all offices closed

Thursday 26th December 2019 – all offices closed

Friday 27th December 2019 – all offices closed (phone lines open)

Saturday 28th December 2019 – all offices closed

Sunday 29th December 2019 – all offices closed

Monday 30th December 2019 – all offices open 10.00am – 2.00pm

Tuesday 31st December 2019 – all offices open 10.00am – 2.00pm

Wednesday 1st January 2020  – all offices closed

Thursday 2nd January 2020 – all offices open as usual

Scott, Philip, Claire, Carol and Andrew would like to wish everyone a very peaceful Christmas, and a prosperous and happy new decade.

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.