A FUNERAL director has praised his brave staff who he says are "putting their own lives at risk to ensure dignified end of life care" for people who have died after contracting coronavirus.

Matthew Jackson raised concerns about the daily risks his staff are facing taking care of the dead and supporting families during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Jackson, founder of Jackson Family Funeral Directors, has said staff are in direct contact with the victims of the coronavirus and their families and are put at further risk by lack of basic protective equipment such as masks, gloves and hand sanitiser being in short supply.

Mr Jackson said he also wanted to dispel the misconception that funeral homes are “cashing in” from the coronavirus and that whilst social distancing measures continue to be in place, the care and support for families does not change.

Mr Jackson, who has funeral homes in Worcester, Malvern, Pershore and Upton, said: “We’ve always tried to be open and honest about the funeral industry and this couldn’t be more so in the current crisis that threatens everybody and everything.

“The misconception that funeral directors must be ‘cashing in’ from the coronavirus couldn’t be further from the truth.

“All funeral directors have a duty of care to families in their darkest hour and although current restrictions are in place that limit traditional funerals, due to social distancing rules, our level of care never waivers.”

Mr Jackson has said the short supply of protective equipment, a problem faced by all on the frontline, has also affected funeral directors.

“My concerns also lie with the safety of my team,” he said. “Everyday we are in direct contact with the victims of coronavirus and their families, with limited supplies to keep them safe.

“In addition to the heroic efforts of the NHS and all frontline staff, I will also be clapping this Thursday at 8pm for all funeral staff across the globe who are putting their own lives at risk, to ensure dignified end of life care.”

Mr Jackson said families rarely want to talk about death and funerals at ‘normal’ times but as the daily death toll due to the coronavirus reached its peak, the public needed to be made aware of the risks to all keyworkers, including funeral directors, to protect communities and strop the spread of the deadly virus.

Mark Campion, another of the three directors at Jackson Family Funeral Directors, said last month how the he had not seen “anything like it in 36 years” when describing how the funeral home had been affected by the coronavirus.

Worcester City Council has already put in place restrictive measures at the city’s crematorium and cemeteries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The crematorium and cemeteries in Astwood Road and in St John’s are closed to the public except for funeral and burials.

A maximum of five mourners are allowed at burials and cremations and they must be family or very close friends.

Hymn books have been removed and the standard social distancing measures and the council has been advising mourners and attendees not to touch, kiss or come into contact with the coffin.

Funeral services can also be livestreamed free of charge.