Fireworks and bubbles - must be a funeral ...

Staff at The Co-operative Funeral Care, Ormskirk Road, Pemberton: James Cave, manager, Susan Woods, admin arranger, left, and Nicola Disley, funeral director
Staff at The Co-operative Funeral Care, Ormskirk Road, Pemberton: James Cave, manager, Susan Woods, admin arranger, left, and Nicola Disley, funeral director

PINK Cadillacs, milk-floats and bubble machines are not what you would normally associate with funerals, but in Wigan there is a growing trend for the ‘fun send-off!’

Research by The Co-operative Funeralcare has shown that football themes and other unusual requests have become the norm at one in three funerals. Half are now held as a celebratory event and one in 10 no longer include religion.

Funeral directors at The Co-operative Funeralcare, which operates six funeral homes around Wigan, report that mourners watching firework displays, blowing bubbles and releasing balloons is becoming the norm.

Steve Jelly, regional manager for The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “Our research is the largest study of funeral customs ever carried out – and has revealed a significant shift in attitude across the region. Funeral directors are going to great lengths to accommodate special requests for funerals in Wigan, as the events become more personalised.”

The study also found that a new dress code is replacing traditional black with people increasingly being asked to wear bright colours.

The Co-operative Funeralcare employees are often asked to co-ordinate their clothing with the colour theme and there is a move away from hymns to popular music - with Frank Sinatra’s My Way the most requested song.

Leading funeral historian, Dr Julian Litten added: “Funerals such as Princess Diana’s and Jade Goody’s have opened peoples’ eyes to the array of choices available from cars to coffins, pop songs to white doves.

“Today’s funerals are increasingly a celebration of life rather than mourning loss.”