Choice of Funerals

Funerals in the 21st Century reflect the many changes in the profile of the society in which we live. For over 90 years our family has built a reputation for the quality and dignity with which we arrange and carry out every funeral service. We pride ourselves on the meticulous and personal attention given to every detail, from the moment of first contact with the family, throughout making all the arrangements, right through to the care we offer before, on and following the day of the funeral. Our experienced team ensures the individual requests and wishes of each family are truly reflected in the funeral arrangements of every funeral we look after.

Below are examples of the different types of funeral options available:

Traditional Funeral

Whilst each funeral we arrange is uniquely different, they all fall into two categories; being either Cremation or Burial. Since the early 19th century the increase in cremations over burials, for a variety of different reasons, has resulted in cremation overtaking burial as the preferred option.

The decision as to which option to go for is very personal to each family we look after. Decisions may have been taken by the deceased prior to their passing, whilst for others the family will want to explore the different options available before arriving at their choice. Whether it be a funeral service at the crematorium; or in church first, followed by cremation or burial; or a private cremation followed by a service in church, whatever the many options available our experienced team will gently talk through each one in detail, fully explaining the differences, thereby empowering each family to arrive at an informed decision to match their wishes.

Simple Funeral

For some families an elaborate funeral is the very last thing they wish for. This is not a problem, as we can arrange a very dignified, simple cremation or burial, to meet the requirements of the family. There is no need for a minister or celebrant to take the service and some families may prefer to either take the service themselves, or to not have any form of service prior to the cremation or burial taking place. C. Waterhouse & Sons and Heathfield Funeral Service have a wealth of experience in accommodating and arranging simple, no frills, funerals.

Humanist & Non-Religious

For many families they wish the service for their loved one to be taken by a non-religious celebrant/humanist. Whilst the content of the order of service would follow a similar vein to that of a religious funeral in many ways, the non-religious content would mean the removal of any prayers, religious blessing, and maybe hymns as well. We can recommend very experienced trained celebrants we work with to suit all requirements, who act as the master of ceremonies. As with a church minister, the celebrant meets with the family to agree the content of the service. On the day of the service the celebrant will do as much, or as little, to compliment any parts that the family and/or friends are doing within the service itself, by way of readings or tributes.

Direct Cremation Service

Not everyone wants to have a funeral service when someone dies. For some they do not want the fuss, for others they do not want the expense of a full funeral service. On occasions specific instructions may have been left by the deceased person that they do not want anyone else to be present, or prefer to separate the cremation from the funeral service itself. For whatever reason, we can help with our ‘Direct to Crematory’ option. Please note that the total cost of the Direct Cremation Service must be paid for, in full, prior to the cremation taking place.

What is included:

What is not included:

The price for this service is somewhat less than a standard funeral because several elements of a traditional funeral are not used, or do not take place. For example, there is no actual ‘Funeral Service’ in the crematorium chapel, so a minister or celebrant is therefore not required. We also do not carry out any preparation of the deceased (such as embalming or dressing them), leaving them quietly at rest until their cremation date.

Whatever the reason, the ‘Direct Cremation’ option offers a very acceptable and simple alternative to the standard style funeral service and enables families an alternative way to achieve what they want by way of looking after their loved one, without having to go down the route of having a full funeral service.

Green & Woodland Funerals

As people become more aware as to the environmental issues facing the world, families may request a burial for their loved one to take place in a specially designated area of a cemetery, or specialist woodland burial site.

The rules and regulations for these burial places can differ quite dramatically from that of a churchyard or cemetery burial. Some burial grounds may require only certain types of coffin being permitted, whilst others may prevent an actual headstone or memorial headstone being fitted. Very often nature is allowed to take hold in and around the burial plot, thereby returning the area to being as wild as nature intended.

Some woodland burial places have their own building where a service can take place prior to the burial, whilst others do not, and the funeral service would therefore take place in a nearby church, hall, or other suitable building before going onto the burial site. Whatever the requirements for a green or woodland funeral, we have have the knowledge to arrange a suitable and memorable funeral.

Death is the natural consequence of life. It is inevitable, unavoidable and will come to us all. Fundamentally, a sense of profound loss is often at the heart of anyone following the death of someone close to them.

A Funeral on the other hand, starts with you – the family of the person who has died. You can organise it your way; as a reflection and celebration of someone’s life. Our role is to support families in their choices for a funeral that is in keeping with the person who has died and we have found that increasingly, families are adopting an holistic approach to family life and family death.

Healing often starts with the funeral. Letting go often begins with getting involved, at least initially, maybe through putting together a flower arrangement, helping us to carry the coffin, or being present when the coffin is closed.

C. Waterhouse and Sons and Heathfield Funeral Service are Funeral Directors recommended by the Natural Death Centre. At the heart of our work is the family; their wishes, and an open and honest dialogue with you. We respect the environment, and we offer coffins made from ecologically friendly materials such as willow, wicker and bamboo. There are several possibilities for an ecologically sound place:

A Natural Burial Ground – there are over 260 across the UK. Closest to us is Clayton Wood, a 13 acre meadow site located inside the South Downs National Park. Please visit for more information.

Private Land – It is possible to arrange a burial on private land (not as complicated as you might think).

At Sea – For those with a love of the sea or a seafaring past, you may wish the scattering of ashes to be undertaken at sea.

We have a wide experience in the many religious and spiritual beliefs of the many families we have assisted over the years, offering a great richness in the funeral services that we have witnessed. From a full Russian Orthodox Mass, to a small discreet rural chapel; we have led a coffin through a bluebell strewn wood and stood in complete silence with two people around a grave.

But if we have learned one thing over the years, it is that people are as different in death as they are in life. If it feels like the right thing to do, it probably is – you are not organising an event, you are creating a unique memory.