Football-themed coffins and funerals on the rise in Wales, say undertakers
Family firm of funeral directors says families are increasingly buying coffins in team colours, guitar shapes or even in the shape of Doctor Who’s Tardis
Football fans are increasingly taking their love of the beautiful game literally to the grave, according to a family firm of Welsh funeral directors.
Undertakers have reported a boom in sports-inspired coffins and say there has been a growing demand in football-themed funerals in recent years.
John Edwards Funeral Directors in Morriston, Swansea, now offers a range of bespoke funerals which the business says are tailored to the specific requests of a family or the deceased.
This includes football-themed coffins supplied by specific companies such as Colourful Coffins based in Kent, which is often used by the Swansea firm.
John Edwards’ son-in-law Alan James now runs the family business.
He told the Western Mail many families are now choosing to have a coffin made in a football club’s colours.
“We’ve been looking at offering more bespoke funerals over the last few years to diversify ourselves,” he said.
“These can be funerals that match a person’s hobbies, passions and lifestyle.”
Mr James said one aspect which often comes up is football.
He said many funerals often already incorporate football into a funeral perhaps by draping a football club’s flag over the coffin or by playing music connected with the club.
Mr James, who runs the business with his wife Ceri, said specific requests would need to be made to the football clubs concerned about whether the club’s logo could be used on the coffin.
He said: “I’ve just had Southampton FC give their approval for their logo to be used on a coffin for a funeral in the next few weeks.”
But the funeral director said football-themed coffins do not necessarily mean an increase in cost.
He said most range between £500 and £600 while plain coffins, on average, can be around £500 anyway.
Meanwhile, Mr James has not just offered something for football fans.
The funeral director explained how other sports can be honoured such as cricket and even horseracing.
Mr James described how he arranged for a coffin to have a picture of the famous racehorse Red Rum on the lid with images of racehorses around the coffin’s edge.
Mr James said the deceased had loved horse racing and that it was a big part of his life.
He said: “The technology available does make anything possible. Even if you had a particular photograph you could have that printed on the coffin.
“I can’t say what I’m doing is unique but I suppose what I’m trying to do is to break the image of funerals in everybody having to dress in black and being sombre and miserable.
“We’re still very much defined by the Victorian attitudes, people think there are rules you have to apply to.
“People are not aware that they can do something different. I think life should be more of a celebration, not a party, but it should be more about celebrating someone’s life.”
Mr James said some people take it further and have coffins in certain shapes such as a guitar or Doctor Who’s Tardis, while a friend of his said he wants his coffin to be like the one for Spock in Star Trek.
There is even the option of having a replica of Michael Jackson’s coffin, although this comes at a high price of around £10,000.
Mr James said the venue of a funeral is also becoming more flexible with some people now opting for hotels or even community centres.
He said: “Two years ago I did a funeral at a community centre because the person had been a volunteer there. It became a much more personal affair. They could take a bit more time rather than be restrained by the 30 minutes given at a crematorium.”