Co-op Funeralcare is to offer a cut price option to mourners from the spring, with the launch of “direct cremations”.
Rather than a service with mourners present, the more basic option will carry out the cremation without family and friends in attendance, allowing them to simply scatter or bury the ashes together afterwards.
It follows a growing interest in a cheaper option after David Bowie’s death in 2016. The singer told his family he did not want a funeral, and his ashes were scattered in Bali.
The direct cremation option will cost around £1,500, which is about half the average funeral cost of £2,500-£3,000.
David Collingwood, Co-op Funeralcare director, told The Guardian: “We know that talking about death is one of the hardest conversations people have to have and many choose to avoid it.
“But having to make lots of decisions under pressure can add to the stress and pain of bereavement. We would really encourage people to discuss or write down their wishes.”
Co-op is also launching a national survey to break taboos in Britain around death, and hopes to quiz at least 20,000 adults about bereavement.
An initial poll showed half of those surveyed said they would have preferred to have had more open conversations about death because it would have helped them deal with bereavement.
Most Britons will suffer their first loss of a loved one by the time they are 21-years-old. The survey revealed 41% of people were unable to express their emotions the first time they experienced bereavement.
Robert MacLachlan, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, said: “If we had more open conversations about this topic, just think of the positive outcomes that could be achieved.
“Making arrangements for a loved one’s funeral is a huge responsibility, with everyone having their own personal wishes.
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“No one likes to think about their own mortality, but having a discussion and planning ahead can have huge benefits in terms of being able to do the right thing for loved ones when the time comes.”
The poll will be run with other charities including Sue Ryder.