Direct cremation has become increasingly popular as people’s budgets have tightened and Covid restrictions have prevented more traditional funeral services. There is certainly a healthy amount of television advertising on the topic to remind us.

However, as the leading UK trade association for independent funeral directors, we are increasingly concerned by the level of misunderstanding around direct cremation. We have spoken to members in your area who are independent funeral directors and share these concerns.

Research shows that many people do not fully understand what direct cremation entails, nor are they aware of how little involvement they can have. For example, families tend to be barred from visiting their loved one or attending a committal, and it’s often the case that direct cremations take place at a hub location far away from the deceased’s home, making it logistically difficult and potentially very distressing if the next of kin change their mind about the service.

The public’s lack of understanding can be easily perpetuated by 30-second soundbites on a TV advertisement which focuses on the simplicity of such services.

Bereavement is one of the most challenging times in someone’s life. People must fully understand the choices available. I would urge anyone who has concerns or questions about direct cremation to write to Citizens Advice or their local MP, or of course to speak to their local SAIF independent funeral director or to visit

Terry Tennens

Chief executive, National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors


Bonfire Night might seem a long way away, but now is actually the perfect time to be helping your dog to start to prepare for the bangs and flashes on November 5.

We know the devastating effect fireworks can have on our pets. In the UK 70% of owners report their pets being affected, some being physically sick and too frightened to leave the house for days after the fireworks have stopped.

Blue Cross’s animal behaviour team has put together a step-by-step guide and video you can use to work with your dog over the next few months to help prepare them for fireworks season and also provides information on how to get more help if needed for your pet ahead of November. To find our advice on how you can help your dog visit

Claire Stallard

Animal behaviourist, Blue Cross