Arranging a Funeral
From the time you first contact us, either by telephone or personally at one of our offices, we assure you of our personal care and confidentiality.
You can trust us to look after your loved one with the utmost care and always have your family’s best interest at heart. We are committed to providing the highest levels of bereavement care to every family we have the privilege to serve.
You can trust our family, to care for your family.
When a Death Occurs
Whether a death has been expected or not, a qualified doctor (either the GP or the duty doctor) should, on every occasion, be contacted to attend and confirm the death. Once a doctor has certified the death, we are then able to remove the deceased. Most families ask us to take the deceased to our chapel of rest as soon as possible, although some prefer to stay with their loved one for a short period. We always respect your wishes and take care and carry out the removal whenever it is preferred.
In a care home
Although professional nursing staff are normally in attendance, a qualified doctor will normally be required to confirm the death before we can remove the deceased. The duty officer would, on behalf of the family, arrange for the Funeral Director to remove the deceased back to our chapel of rest.
Our staff at West & Coe are fully aware of the need to be discreet and respectful at all times whilst removing a deceased person. We always endeavour to respond within an hour of receiving a call locally 24 hours a day.
In a hospital
When a death occurs in a hospital, the medical staff will take care of immediate arrangements and will have the deceased taken to the hospital mortuary. The family would then be requested to attend the hospital bereavement office to collect the necessary forms and personal effects.
In situations where a death is unexpected and the cause of death is unclear, or when the death is of a suspicious nature, an accident or industrial disease, the certifying doctor is legally bound to report the circumstances to the Coroner. In most cases, the involvement of a Coroner is a formality and although an examination will normally be made to ascertain the cause of death, it should not delay the funeral from taking place. When the Coroner feels that the death is not due to natural causes or is a result of industrial disease, a formal inquest may be held at a later date. If this is the case, you will be kept informed by the Coroner of the necessary procedures.
Arranging a Funeral
From the time you first contact us to the time when all arrangements are completed, we assure you of our personal care, confidentiality, and genuine desire to support you through this difficult time.
We can give you careful guidance and explain all the necessary procedures step by step, especially regarding registration. We offer a 24-hour personal telephone service for such information. Full arrangements may then be made at a convenient time at our offices or if preferred, at your home.
It may be wishes for a funeral have been expressed prior to death in a conversation, in the form of a will or a prepaid funeral plan. Alternatively, you may be unclear as to what might be appropriate. It is reassuring to know that our staff are fully trained to take their time to explain and discuss with you all the options available.
We understand that everyone is an individual and want to ensure that the type of funeral arrangements you make are a personal reflection of a life lived.
Whether your wishes are elaborate or simple, your choice will always be respected, our flexible approach means we can respond to your request and do everything we can to meet your wishes.
When making funeral arrangements many practical details need to be discussed. The person making the arrangements must have authority of the family to do so and be able to make decisions and give instructions.
We will liaise with the cemetery/crematorium, church, and ministers on your behalf and in all aspects of the funeral arrangements will explain the procedures and legal requirements. Whilst arranging the funeral, we will advise on costs and charges to be incurred, culminating in a full written estimate which will be given to the person responsible for the arrangements before the day of the funeral.
Our website is here to take you through all the different steps you will need for the arrangements. Enabling the funeral to feel right and to be fitting both for the person you have lost and for the ones who are left behind.
Date & Time of the funeral
There is no time frame for a funeral to take place within. Today, funerals usually take place within 10-14 days after a death has occurred, giving you the necessary time to make the arrangements. We are of course able to complete arrangements more quickly or, alternatively, delay proceedings to allow people to travel to the UK from abroad. For religious reasons, some funerals must be carried out within a certain time. Naturally, we always do all we can to accommodate each request.
Funerals are normally carried out Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm, depending, of course, on the crematorium or cemetery availability. However, service times are available at some crematoriums earlier and at weekend although these vary in price and at some crematoria there are restrictions on services.
Types of Service
It is entirely your decision which type of service to have, many people feel it is important to have a meaningful, personal service to reflect the deceased’s life.
Our experienced staff can advise you on all types of funeral service and how your choice of service might influence other aspects of the funeral.
We will observe all religious and cultural customs and assist you in arranging the other elements of the funeral to fit with your religious service.
Different religions mark the passing of life with their own unique ceremonies and rituals according to the rules and traditions of the religion. We have experience of arranging funerals for all religions and can suggest appropriate service venues for all beliefs, as well as liaising with the venue to make practical arrangements. Your religious leader will be able to advise you on the composition of an appropriate service in honour of your loved one.
Whether religious in nature or not, services can be held beforehand followed by a short committal or hold the full service at the chapel of the cemetery or crematorium.
We will discuss your wishes and guide you to a minister, celebrant, humanist, or religious leader who we feel will carry out the type of service you have requested.
Music can play an important part of any funeral service. You may like to select hymns or songs that have a special meaning for your family. We will be happy to advise and source any particular music requests you have. We can also arrange for an organist, soloists or even a piper to be present.
Whatever your choice we will endeavour to provide it.
Coffins & Caskets
It can be an emotionally difficult process choosing a coffin or casket, but our team is here to guide you and decide upon the best possible option for your preferences and budget. We have a wide selection of cremation and burial coffins in a variety of woods and alternative materials and finishes. All coffins and caskets chosen from our standard range are made from eco-friendly materials and comply with either cremation or burial protocols.
Requests for bespoke designed coffins are also catered for upon request. All our coffins are fitted in our own in-house workshop, to the families’ specification, with some of our range still traditionally hand made by our master craftsman. All our coffins and caskets have fully furnished interiors with quality gowns and frills available in a variety of colours.
Your choice of coffin or casket can add an individual touch to the funeral, so that you can truly honour the character of your loved one.
Our staff are on hand to help with any questions or queries that you may have, to help you make the choice that feels right for you and a verbal estimate for each specific coffin or casket will be given at the time to help you decide which is appropriate.
Please see our gallery of coffins & caskets available.
Over the years we have taken great pride in providing the highest quality vehicles available, we operate a unique fleet of black Bentley Hearses & Limousines, recognised to be one of the finest in the country. Our limousines offer comfortable, prestigious seating for up to six mourners. To avoid confusion on the day we always recommend seating arrangements are made before the day of the funeral.
Alternative fleets of black Jaguar and Rolls Royce vehicles are available upon request, plus a wide range of alternative modes of transport; from vintage vehicles & horse drawn hearses to London Route-master Buses all to make your final farewell personal to your loved one.
We will ensure every part of your journey to and from the funeral is taken care of and can always accommodate any special wishes if there is a certain route, or to go past a special place.
Whatever your choice of vehicle we will endeavour to provide it.
Please see our gallery of our Vehicles available.
Horse Drawn Carriages
Our horses and carriages working in a pair or as a team of four, are the most dignified and impressive cortege possible, and a fitting tribute to the passing of a life.
We offer horse-drawn hearses and mourning coaches in either black or white. These 19th century vehicles are drawn by black Friesian horses or white Hungarian horses and are driven by highly experienced coachmen providing an elegant and traditional appearance.
We offer a variety of coloured plumes which can personalise the horse-drawn hearse for the day.
Please see our gallery of our Horses & Carriages available.
Visiting the chapel of rest
For many people the decision to visit the chapel of rest to see a loved one is not an easy one to make. It is a very personal decision to visit the deceased, for some, the experience can be helpful and comforting whilst for others it may be too upsetting. If you are unsure, we will always be pleased to talk this through with you.
When arranging the funeral, we will discuss with you any specific wishes of how the deceased should be dressed. You may, for example, have fond memories of a person in a favourite item of clothing or outfit, like a football shirt, suit, uniform, or a dress. We also have funeral gowns which you might find a good alternative.
If dentures or glasses were typically worn, we suggest you let us have these, as it will help our skilled and caring staff to do all they can to present the deceased looking as natural as possible.
Many people find great comfort in the peace and quietness of a private chapels. Just being with their loved, holding their hands and talking to them to say their last farewells can mean so much.
You may also find it comforting to bring a photograph or letter, a flower of something else of personal significance to place in the coffin. We will ensure that those items remain undisturbed.
All items of jewellery and personal effects are immediately recorded when they are brought to the chapel and the wishes of the family as to whether to have them removed or not will be obtained. It is customary for jewellery to be removed, especially when cremation is chosen.
Families who, for personal or religious reasons, wish to prepare the body are fully welcome to use our facilities.
Please see our gallery some of our chapels available.
Burial or Cremation
The decision whether to choose burial or cremation is usually agreed collectively by family members of the deceased. A person’s wishes may have been expressed verbally prior to death or in the form of a will or a prepaid funeral plan.
The staff at West & Coe are always pleased to give advice on the different cemeteries and crematoriums and would encourage families to carefully consider all options before making their final choice.
If a burial is chosen, you have various options regarding the ceremony, including a graveside service, holding the service in the Cemetery’s chapel or elsewhere and then going to the churchyard or cemetery. When it comes to the burial it may be in an existing or new grave.
If there is an existing grave, the documentation, deeds, or information about the previous burial would be required.
Within all local boroughs there are adequate facilities for new graves to be purchased and in many cases, there is a choice of the type of grave and location. It is therefore advisable to visit the cemetery beforehand. Many Cemeteries accept both religious and non-religious burials, although some are reserved exclusively for a single faith.
The charges for buying a new grave, opening a grave or removing a headstone will be itemised fully at the time of the arrangement. The charges vary by area and if the deceased is to be buried in a district or borough where they have not been resident, the burial fees may be considerably more.
There are other options too, including burial in vaults, at sea or in woodlands. The City of London Cemetery in Manor Park has a designated woodland area and there are local cemeteries solely for woodland burials in Herongate, Brentwood and Theydon Bois.
Facilities for Webcasts and recordings for those who cannot be at the service to watch it via the internet or on a DVD are available but varies by each cemetery.
Many families tend to choose cremation today. Most Crematoria have chapels, you can either hold the full service there, or just have a short committal at the crematorium after having the main service somewhere else.
Service times vary by each Crematorium but if you require additional time the service can be extended, please inform us at the time of the arrangement to ensure your wishes are accommodated.
Facilities for Webcasts and recordings for those who cannot be at the service to watch it via the internet or on a DVD are available but varies by each crematorium.
Each cremation is carried out individually and in a respectful and dignified way. A cremation usually takes place on the same day as the funeral. Great care is given to looking after the cremated remains. These are then placed in a separate container and kept in the chapel area at the crematorium.
We can print Orders of Service for any funeral service. designed to be a lasting and fitting keepsake for everyone to have and cherish. We offer a wide choice of borders and print styles, and we will be pleased to create a bespoke design on request. We can also personalise them with photographs in black and white or colour. A selection of sample service sheets are available at our offices.
We can also arrange attendance cards, condolence books, memorial cards and bookmarks which can also be given out at the funeral or after the funeral as a keepsake.
If you would prefer, you can ask people to give a donation to a charity or other organisation in lieu of flowers.
Donations in memory of your loved one can also be made on our Donation pages. We offer a personalised online Obituary page option, which may include photographs, a life story and service details as well as the opportunity to leave messages of condolence and charity donations.
We can help with the collection of at the end of the service, we collect donations for six weeks from the date of the funeral, after which time we will forward the donations to the chosen charity.
We will write to whoever has arranged the funeral to advise them of the overall total collected, along with the names of the donors. We will also send any cards or letters received.
You can choose to have an obituary notice in a local or national newspaper.
We can help you to create and design the notice and will arrange for the placement of these on your behalf.
As well as being able to arrange funerals in any part of the United Kingdom. We are also experienced at arranging funerals to and from other countries. Our staff are fully trained with the government regulations and the documentation required for repatriations throughout the world.
Serving All Faiths and Communities
Britain is now a very diverse and multi-cultural community. We as independent funeral directors have broadened our knowledge and understanding over years of experience to service the needs of all communities.
Our fully trained staff are qualified to understand these particular needs to help you, at your time of need.
We have full washing and dressing facilities, as well as religious and non religious viewing rooms.
Please feel free to contact us, at the time of death or in fact prior to discuss options available and what we can offer for your needs and requirements. We offer tours of our premises and we are open to building strong community links, to ensure you receive the best and highest quality of care at a fair and honest cost at your time of need.
It can be comforting to have something to help remind you of the person you have lost.
We offer a wide range of keepsakes and memorial jewellery, which can incorporate a small amount of cremated remains, a lock of hair or a fingerprint of your loved one. Please ask for more information, or view some of our selection in our gallery.
Receptions & Catering
After the service we can advise you on where is appropriate to hold a reception. We can offer a wide range of suitable venues for you.
We also work closely with a catering company who can cater for your requirements within your home.
We understand the important role flowers can play in helping to say goodbye. For your convenience, floral tributes may be sent to our funeral home on the day of the funeral.
After the funeral, we can collect the cards that came with all the flowers and deliver them to you in our flower card holder for you to remember peoples kind words.
We can, if you wish, pass on the flowers to places that would be glad to receive them such as hospitals and nursing homes.
Many people find comfort in the symbolism of a dove release following a funeral and will happily arrange this for you. We can arrange for more doves according to your requirements.
24 Hour Help
Bereavement is a time when careful guidance and advice is needed most, a time to express personal wishes and to make sure that every detail, large and small, has been considered and attended to.
Following a death there are a number of practical steps which need to be taken at an early stage. This is normally the time when family and close friends are suffering from shock and emotional stress. It is vital therefore, that we offer you professional guidance and our 24-hour telephone line does just that.
Our fully trained staff are available day and night to help with any enquiry you may have. If you would like to talk to someone please call us (24 hours a day) on 020 8592 0164.
If you prefer to visit our offices in person, they are open from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm each Saturday.
We will guide you through the funeral choices available at your pace and give you a clear, written estimate of how much the funeral will cost based on the arrangements you have chosen. You will never be rushed, and you do not have to arrange everything in one go.
Every funeral we arrange is unique and it is the choices that you make that will determine the final cost of the funeral. Whatever is requested of us, we will never compromise our high quality of service. There are no hidden extras.
These are payments we make on your behalf to third parties (disbursements) (Clergy, Crematorium or Cemetery, Doctors, Newspapers etc) as required, and we will include these on our itemised invoice.
Planning and paying for a funeral in advance is a particularly comforting way of relieving your loved ones of some of the pressure after you have passed away.
Our Plans are the most comprehensive and flexible available, enabling you to personalise a plan to your needs.
Whatever your wishes, whatever your budget, we are here to help
Methods of Payment
You can pay with cash, cheque, electronic transfer, credit or debit cards. We also accept card payment over the phone.
On request we can provide a pro-forma invoice for all funeral expenses, Most banks and building societies will arrange to pay the funeral account directly if there is sufficient money in the account to cover the costs even if the account is frozen.
Help with Payments
We know that money can be difficult at this time. Should this be so, we will always look at ways we can help to tailor our cost. If you do not think you have the money to pay for the funeral, please let us know as soon as possible. You might be able to claim money for the funeral from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). We can advise you how to make a claim.
If you need any assistance with prices and quotations, then please do not hesitate to call us on 020 8592 0164 and one of our professionally trained and compassionate team will be able to help you.