Design for life: The personalised coffins fast becoming a funeral favourite

Posted on 8:15 AM by Sameer Shah

On The Buses actor Reg Varney had a blooming good send off at his funeral last month, after it was revealed his coffin was adorned with a specially painted poppy.

The comic actor who died at the age of 92 following a short illness, had a specially designed poppy coffin for his funeral in Budleigh Salterton, Devon.

Ben Sharpe, manager of Palmers Funeral Service in Exmouth, which made the coffin, said personalised coffins are increasingly popular with customers being able to choose an existing design such as a sporting motif, or poetry, or having a coffin printed with their own photograph or idea.

Palmers has been offering the colourful coffins for the past year, and its window display featuring a coffin with a tranquil scene from the lake district, has been drawing the stares of curious passers-by.

The company which makes the coffins has, in the past, provided bespoke designs including sporting team colours and a countryside scene showing sheep in a field.

Mr Sharpe said that the business had decided to offer the service because of customer demand for personalised coffins, and because they had found a company able to provide the printing. He said: 'It's something that I have seen families bring up sometimes.

'Every now and again you get people that want things personalised.

'There's more and more choice out there for people and we have been trying to make people aware of it by putting something in the window.

'We have been offering them for the past 12 months.

'They are becoming popular - they tend to be sold as an option for the green funeral because the way they are made is to try to cut down on the carbon footprint.'

Claire Harding, a funeral arranger at Palmers, said: 'They're getting more and more popular as more and more people hear about them.

'There's no particular design which is more popular - it just depends on individual tastes. For example, if someone had a favourite view, their family can choose that.

'It really personalises the day and makes it focus on what that person wanted. They are a reflection of what that person was like.'

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