Funerals to be live streamed online


UK – Undertakers move into digital age. More funeral homes are offering streaming services to bereaved families. Sharing funerals online allows far-flung mourners to take part, say experts. Some crematoria will upload services to websites to be viewed for 30 days.

Soldiers, ex-pats and long-lost friends are among those the service most benefits, say experts, with more people tuning in from overseas to bid farewell to their loved ones.

In some cases, funeral directors will make footage of the service available for 30 days by uploading it to their website.

While some families request professional filming of services, others have asked directors to set up Skype while the ceremony is carried out, experts said.

‘‘There are often people who can’t physically be at the funeral. This is a way of them being able to say their goodbyes without actually being in the service themselves,’ a spokesman for the National Association of Funeral Directors told MailOnline.

‘It’s technology enabling people to say farewell. What we’ve seen is a change in how people are thinking about planning and arranging a funeral.

‘Families are thinking about different ways of incorporating elements of tradition and things that are unique and special to the person that’s died.

‘Talking to our members, they’re all being requested on a fairly regular basis. They’re either working with crematoria that have the facilities or some members are using a mobile handset or another digital device and doing Skype.

‘Funeral directors are there to organise the funeral for the family and to give them the funeral they want.

‘They’ll go to great lengths to do that.’

Among homes offering the services in England is Stafford Crematorium Bereavement Services.

A post on its website advertises: ‘Sometimes it’s not possible to attend a funeral in person. Illness, incapacity and sheer distance prevent many people from attending the funerals of those they have lost.

‘Now there is an opportunity for friends and relatives to view a live video stream of the funeral service on a secure, password protected page on the internet.

‘The event can be available to review for up to 30 days afterwards, and DVDs are also available on request.’

The cost of offering the service varies depending on whether funeral directors own their own chapel or crematorium, or whether they must pay the council for filming on their premises.

Warren Knight, a digital commerce expert, said the trend of was in keeping with an increasingly tech-savvy age.

‘The need for real-time access is becoming a ‘must have’. The funeral industry is no different.’

Funeral services given for public figures have been streamed in the past to allow fans and admirers to mourn.

The trend is becoming increasingly popular however. In August the family of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager shot dead by police, allowed for his funeral to be streamed online.

The funeral of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes was streamed live by local media. It was also shown on national television.

Originally published by the Daily Mail, author Jennifer Smith.