The Service

Arranging a celebrant

Traditionally it was the role of the local parish priest or vicar to conduct the funeral service either at the cemetery or crematorium, in these times of wider beliefs and cultures this is not always the case, of course a religious service is still the choice for many people but there are alternatives for those who have decided that a religious service is not for them. There are, for instance funeral celebrants who will conduct a mainly non religious service. This type of service is generally more informal than a church service and focuses on celebrating a life as well as acknowledging a death. Celebrants will however if requested, include a short prayer. A Humanist service is completely non religious though not anti-religious, there can be a period of quiet contemplation included during the service when those attending a Humanist service can, if they wish and have a religious belief, say a silent prayer.


The resilience and enduring popularity of traditional religious funeral ceremonies is explained, in part, by the overriding human need for structure, in times of sorrow and loss. The familiar format of a religious ceremony, whatever the interpretation, fulfils that very need. 

What all traditional religious funeral ceremonies, across all faiths, religions and cultures have in common is the ability to offer comfort and closure to the bereaved, particularly for those who share the same belief system.

Even for those who are non-believers in a particular faith, the actual rituals associated with traditional religious ceremonies can provide a powerful channel for expressing their grief. 

Non Religious

Humanist Funerals and Memorials

The death of someone we have known and loved, whether someone in our extended family, a friend or colleague, an elderly person, a parent, sibling, child or baby, is no less sad, shocking or painful for those of us who have chosen to live without religion.

A funeral director is the professional most likely to deal with all the practical arrangements of a funeral, but we are all entitled to specify the kind of funeral ceremony we want.

A Humanist funeral is increasingly common. It’s simply more appropriate for those who neither lived according to religious principles, nor accepted religious views of life or death. A Humanist Funeral or memorial ceremony recognises no ‘after-life’, but instead uniquely and affectionately celebrates the life of the person who has died. Proper tribute is paid to them, to the life they lived, the connections they made and have left behind.

Nothing in a Humanist funeral or memorial ceremony should be offensive to those who are religious. It will focus sincerely and affectionately on the person who has died. Humanist funerals, or memorials, allow friends, relatives and acquaintances to express their feelings and to share their memories. They have warmth and sincerity. Many bereaved people find them helpful and are pleased to have provided a ceremony their loved ones would have wanted.


Floral Tributes

We also offer a full range of funeral flowers that are available through any of our branches. Our Floral Tributes are arranged by Roses Florists, Bedlington Station.

From wreaths, posies and coffin sprays to more specialist tributes such as words and animal shapes.

We also understand that floral tributes can be a very personal choice and our staff are available to help you with your decision. John Grenfell & Son can also offer bespoke floral tributes in order for you to choose your own style, flowers and colours. Simply contact us at any of our branches where our experienced team will be happy to help you.

We can also arrange for the flowers to be taken to a place of your choice, including your home or placed on a family grave. If you would like us to do this, please let us know. 

Following the funeral you may decide that some floral tributes could be used to benefit others, such as a hospital, nursing home or other organisations. Subject to them wishing to receive them, we will be happy to arrange this for you. 

Newspaper notice

The obituary notice is an important opportunity to publicly announce the death and funeral details, and can also be used to pay tribute to the deceased, for example, by including a verse. Additionally, details of where any donations or flowers can be sent may be included.

An obituary notice can normally be placed in a local or national newspaper. Additionally, you may wish to place a notice in an alternative local newspaper if the deceased lived in another town or city at sometime.

We will be happy to help you create and arrange the obituary notices.


Favourite pieces of music played during the funeral service can add that extra personal touch. Specific music can range from organ music, CDs supplied by family or even musicians, a Scottish piper for example.

The location of the funeral service may dictate certain restrictions with regards to the music, but our funeral directors will advise accordingly.

The majority of crematoria have:

  • A music system on which you can supply a CD of your choice.  Please note: Blyth Crematorium does not accept CDs, as the new internet based Wesley System has been installed. 
  • Pre recorded music from which you can choose.

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