A. H. Freemantle Funeral Directors

Visual tributes at funeral services

July 26th, 2019

More and more people are beginning to view funerals as a celebration of life and we’re seeing a rise in services starting to reflect this unique view.

A visual tribute can be used as a way to personalise a funeral service by sharing the stories and memories of a persons life. There are many different ways this can be done including the use of different types of media such as photographs, videos and music.

We’ve put together a brief explanation of each one to help you decide which is more suited to your service and the life you want to share.

Visual life tribute

A visual life tribute is a combination of family photos, images and home videos accompanied by your loved one’s favourite music which is then played on screen at the funeral.

This ‘life story’ tribute can complement the words of a eulogy and leave you with a lasting tribute to share with family and friends.

Photography and video recording

This involves photographers discreetly filming and recording the funeral service for those unable to attend the funeral, or for the family of the deceased to keep as a memory of an emotional day.

The photographers can capture all, or just some, elements of the funeral depending on your wishes. The idea of funeral photography can be intriguing to some and an unwanted feature to others but can be an opportunity to begin the healing process.

Online sharing

At certain venues, you can transmit live chapel proceedings via a link online, which is only accessible to an invited set of people. Using the latest network technologies, a private and secure virtual environment is created so that any absent family and friends can also view the service.


Losing a loved one is painful, but a visual tribute can remind you of the life that they lived, and ensure that everyone is able to be a part of the ceremony.

If this is something you would like for a loved ones funeral then we can help you arrange this. Give us a ring on 01329 842115, contact us online or simply pop into one of our offices in Titchfield, Botley or Park Gate and someone will be happy to help.

Deleting digital – how to remove your digital footprint

June 26th, 2019

Consider your position in the digital world and the size of your ‘digital footprint’ in a highly progressive online world.

digital footprint

Your digital footprint represents all the information about you that exists on the internet as a result of your online activity. This could be from what you post on social media pages, your emails to colleagues and friends or even just what you have previously searched on google.

Many of you will have accounts set up across the web, some of which you use frequently and some you probably don’t remember creating. From ordering something on Amazon to setting up a newspaper prescription through a website, it’s easy to lose track of where you started and what terms and conditions you’ve agreed to.

So, what can you do about your digital footprint after you’ve gone? While some people may not mind that information about them online can always be accessed, others are more concerned about their ‘online personality’ outliving them.

Here’s what you can do…

  • Appoint someone as your online executor.
    • Pick someone you trust as you will be figuratively giving them a key to your online world. This will allow your chosen someone to either memorialise your accounts (popular for social media pages) or to close accounts down completely in order to protect your online presence from issues like identity theft.
  • Make sure you understand the privacy settings of the websites you have signed up for and are aware of all your passwords.
    • Unless you leave your ‘online executor’ all your passwords, you should be aware that it can be very difficult to shut down your accounts. Google and Facebook in particular have a very lengthy process, which is not always successful, to allow someone to gain access to someone’s account without the passwords.
  • Have a formal document statement prepared regarding how you want your online accounts to be handled.
    • Do you want them shut down? Do you want them to remain as a memorial where people can share memories and anecdotes? Do you want emails to be sent to inform people of your passing? This will all have to be in writing.

Make sure you take the time to have a conversation with your family and close friends about the finer details and how you want your digital footprint handled when you’re gone.

Alternative sympathy gifts instead of flowers

November 13th, 2018

Sending sympathy flowers to the family of a deceased loved one is a wide-spread tradition across the UK and across the world.

However, an abundance of flower arrangements can sometimes feel overwhelming for the bereaved family. Some might even start to think of it as reminiscent of the death in the weeks after the funeral.

If you’re looking for a unique way to show that you care, have a look at the following list we have put together about some alternative sympathy gifts.

1. A blanket, pillow or cuddly toy
During the process of grief, a little bit of comfort can go a long way. Giving a warm blanket, quilted pillow or a toy to hug can really show you care and make that stage of grief that little bit easier to cope with. If you are close personally with the bereaved family there is even the option to make something yourself to include a further personal touch.

2. A self-care package
Consider the person who has lost someone; they will be feeling lost, confused and lonely. Why not put together a small basket of self-care type products: A DVD, some slippers, a bottle of bubble bath etc. Give them the chance to recuperate at home while letting them know you’re thinking of them.

3. A tree or shrub
Donating a small tree or shrub to the family of a bereaved can be a great way to memorialise a lost loved one. Make sure the bereaved family has space in the garden before this donation, and if they don’t, a potted plant can also work well as they live longer than regular fresh-cut flowers and the pot can then be re-used for something else.

4. A charitable donation
For events such as funerals, birthdays and sometimes weddings, people have begun asking their friends and family to donate to a particular charity instead of providing them with a present. If the person who died suffered from a particular illness or disease, making a donation to a charity that is fighting that illness, in particular, can be a greatly appreciated gesture from the view of the bereaved family.

5. Something for the kids
Depending on the situation of the passing, the children of a bereaved family can often feel confused and unsure about the process of grief. Being able to give the children a way to express their feelings through a colouring book, activity sheets or a journal, for example, can be a way to keep the children occupied.

Funeral arrangement thoughts

September 5th, 2018

This morning someone asked very simply what key things they needed to consider when a loved one passed away. Without a face to face conversation covering every nuance and option, this was a tough question! We hope you never have to arrange a funeral, but most of us at some point will so here we have some pointers to help you.

  1. Registration: when anyone passes away, their death needs to be registered. Very broadly speaking, if it was expected you will need to pick up the medical certificate from either the local GP or from the hospital, depending on where they passed away. If it was unexpected then the coroner may be involved and they and the funeral director will guide you through what happens next and the time frame.
  2. Choose the funeral director: you don’t normally have the funeral director on speed dial. It’s an important, brief relationship and if you don’t like the company once you meet them you can change. It is very straightforward. No one will shout at you for changing your mind. If you don’t want to go to the funeral director’s premises, they should offer to come to you.
  3. Avoid emotional overspending: ‘the rules are there are no rules’, so if you do not want limousines or lots of flowers or a solid mahogany coffin then don’t be made to feel that they are the norm. Spending more money doesn’t mean you loved them any more than if you didn’t. If the funeral is over your budget talk to your funeral director.
  4. Consider the finer details: which include some significant matters. Such as where the refreshments after the funeral will be held, how will you let people know when the funeral is, and an appropriate order of service that will reflect the person who has died and whether money donated to charity in memory is a better option than lots of flowers?
  5. Settling the estate: There’s usually nothing complicated about being an executor or settling someone’s estate, but it can be time-consuming. You may decide to do it yourself, or you may decide to pass some or all of it to a solicitor to deal with. They will be paid from the estate.

We will break these points down further in future issues but if you have any specific questions please to email mail@ahfreemantle.co.uk

What to do with a loved ones ashes?

September 5th, 2018

When I joined the company in 2005 we had a cupboard with ashes dating back to 1970…and we still do. In fact, in 2018 we now have 2 cupboards. 73% of all funerals A H Freemantle completed last year were cremations. For some, the ashes of a loved one hold no meaning while for others, they are the very embodiment of the person who has died. If you have chosen a cremation funeral the next step is to decide on what to do with the ashes. So here are some ideas for you:

A scattering

Scatter them in the person’s favourite place. Be aware some grounds such as cemeteries or private land require permission to scatter ashes. Do it carefully and remember to stand upwind!

Bury / Inter them

Put simply this is placing the ashes somewhere permanent such as a cemetery or above ground chamber (columbarium). This particularly suits those of a religious faith, those with family graves, or those who like the idea of stability and tradition.

At home

Many feel their loved ones ashes should be close to them. You may want to consider the container they are in, particularly if they are on display

Made shiny!

Want some bling to remember your loved one? Ashes can be turned into jewellery, hand-blown glass or stained glass that you can appreciate and admire for a long time.

Plant them

The ashes are mixed with nutrients and placed in an urn used to grow a tree in the persons memory.

Memorial tattoo

Some tattoo artists will mix a portion of your loved one’s ashes with ink to create a memorial tattoo you can keep with you for life.

With a bang

Loved ones ashes can be placed in a firework for a colourful/loud send off. In America, a company called ‘Holy Smoke’ will even turn ashes into ammunition!

Losing a loved one is often a gut-wrenching experience and it can be difficult to figure out the right way to remember them and honour their last wishes if known. But whether you’re considering creating a working vinyl record complete with cover or sending them into space, please don’t leave them in your funeral directors cupboard.