As modern and ethical funeral directors, we’re committed to working honestly and transparently. If we haven't answered your question here, you can always call us on 020 3291 3426 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Poetic Endings?
Poetic Endings is a modern, ethical and independent funeral service based in London. We put together funerals of style and substance, relevance and meaning. People contact us from far and wide to ask us to help with arranging a funeral.
We're not typical funeral directors; we provide the kind of funeral service we believe needs to exist, because we couldn't find it anywhere else.
Poetic Endings is founded on the belief that a good funeral can be profound and transformational in helping to accept and acknowledge that someone has died. Facing death can be an overwhelming, traumatic and confusing time. We want you to feel fully supported in all the decisions you have to make.
Who is behind Poetic Endings?
Poetic Endings was founded by Louise Winter. She was dissatisfied with the funeral services currently on offer in London and believed that funerals can be put together with kindness, thoughtfulness and flexibility. She firmly believes that good funerals are incredibly important to our long-term wellbeing.
Louise worked as a funeral celebrant before training as a funeral director with a traditional funeral service in West London. Her experiences led her to believe that Poetic Endings needs to exist. As well as running Poetic Endings, she's also the director of Life. Death. Whatever. and was previously editor of the Good Funeral Guide. Louise is writing a book, which will be published by Bloomsbury in April 2020.
She runs Poetic Endings with the assistance of Joanna Shears, Clare Harriott and Annika Caswell and works in partnership with an extended team of enlightened funeral professionals with years of experience at Greens.
Someone has died. Can you help me arrange their funeral?
Of course. Please get in touch any time of the day or night and we can talk it through. If we don’t answer your call right away, please leave a message and we’ll call you back as soon as we can.
Where do you take care of the person who has died?
We work in partnership with Greens, who have brand new mortuary facilities in South East London (SE6 and BR1), where our team takes gentle and sensitive care of everyone who is with us. We’re very proud of the facilities we use, which adhere to industry codes of practice.
After someone has died and been collected in a private ambulance (shown below), they need to be kept in cold facilities. We welcome you to have a look around the mortuary facilities at any time. We can also help you to wash and dress the person who has died, if you’d like to be involved in their care.
Can I see the person who has died?
Of course. We believe that spending time with the person who has died in a beautiful environment can be a profound and transformative experience. We can facilitate this happening in a peaceful modern family room (also known as a chapel of rest) in Bromley, where you’ll be able to say goodbye in your own way.
We can also facilitate spending time with the person who has died in other spaces - whether that’s a beautiful, light filled room in a grade two listed house on the river in West London (additional fee applies), or in a homely space in Nunhead with the guidance of our end-of-life specialist Anna Lyons (additional fee applies). We can also bring the person who has died home, if that would work for you.
How do I arrange a funeral?
Louise has written a comprehensive guide to arranging a funeral which can be found here.
If you have any questions or would just like to find out whether we’re a good fit for you, you can call or email us, when you're ready. We're here to guide you and support you every step of the way.
What happens when someone dies at home?
When someone dies at home, a doctor will need to certify the death. Sometimes this will be the person's registered GP, sometimes it will be the on-call doctor. After someone has died, you can spend time with them, if you want to do so. You may want to play some music and light a candle. Whenever you're ready, you can call us on 020 3291 3426 and we'll bring the person who has died into our care in South East London, providing the death has been certified. If the death was expected, the GP will provide a medical certificate showing the cause of death, which you will need to register the death.
When we arrive at the house, the on-call team will introduce themselves to you and clearly explain everything that’s going to happen next. You can be as involved in the process as you feel comfortable.
What kind of funeral can I have?
There are no rules. The funeral can be whatever you want and need it to be.
The funeral may be joyful, solemn, sad, relaxed or formal, depending on the circumstances.
Whether you're full of ideas or don't know where to start, get in touch and we can talk it through.
Do I have to hold a funeral in a church or a crematorium?
No, you can do whatever you want to do (within reason). We work with venues in and around London to host funerals and wakes outside of traditional settings. You may be surprised at what is possible, from restored chapels to art galleries, barns and museums. You can even hold the funeral at home, or in your garden.
Do you adhere to a code of practice?
We work with an experienced team of funeral professionals and adhere to industry codes of practice to ensure we deliver a high level of service. We are recommended by the Good Funeral Guide, the only not-for-profit independent resource for funeral advice in the UK, who inspect us regularly and hold us to account. You can learn more about the high standards expected of us as a Good Funeral Guide recommended funeral director on their website.
How much does it cost?
We believe that beautiful personalised funerals should be affordable for everyone.
We've created a new kind of funeral service so you can create a funeral which fits your needs. We offer the essentials and then allow you to make the funeral your own by adding the extras you want. This allows us to create simple, stylish and affordable funerals that cater to your individual needs.
We pride ourselves on working transparently, so all of our services and prices are listed on our website. We will also provide you with a printed price list when we meet you for the first time.
During our initial meeting, we’ll talk through the options available and then send an email with an estimate of the total cost of the funeral. We’ll do everything we can to ensure you understand the range of services we offer and how much the funeral will cost including any known disbursements (the fees to be paid on your behalf to doctors, ministers, cemetery or crematoria authorities and other third parties).
If you are struggling to find the funds for the funeral, please get in touch and we’ll do everything we can to help you to have the funeral you want. You can find more information about the help available to you here.
What if something goes wrong?
We hope that you will have a positive experience of working with our team, but should the need arise, we have procedures in place to ensure your concerns are addressed to your satisfaction. Please contact us at email@example.com or on 020 3291 3426 in the first instance and we will do our best to address your concerns. If we are unable to resolve the matter to your satisfaction, you will be put in touch with the Good Funeral Guide, who will investigate your complaint or concerns and take action, if appropriate.
Do you have any examples of families who have done it differently?
Funerals don't have to fit into the conventional format. You can read about a natural burial where everyone wore white and no one said anything here. The only sound was the singing of the birds and the rustling of the wind in the trees. It was powerful, moving and very brave.
Our friend Jon Underwood died unexpectedly at the age of 44. You can read about his inspiring and brave Buddhist funeral here.
When Josh Edmonds died in an accident whilst travelling, his family decided they didn't want a traditional funeral. This moving film tells the story of the healing power of creating a funeral ritual without using conventional funeral directors.
Can you help me plan my own funeral?
Find out more about planning your funeral here.
I'm a celebrant looking to work with a modern funeral director. Can we talk?
Louise began her journey into the world of funerals as a celebrant. Frustrated by the way most funeral directors work, she launched Poetic Endings as a way of prioritising the more emotional aspects of a funeral such as the ceremony over funeral hardware such as coffins and cars.
If you share her philosophy and would like to offer a truly incredible and holistic funeral service to your clients, read more about how we work with celebrants here.
We are extremely selective about the celebrants we work with and won't consider anyone who works from templates.
I'm really interested in the work you're doing and I want to know more!
If you're intrigued by what you've read so far and would like to learn more about the world of modern funerals:
Louise has written a book about her experiences as a funeral director with end-of-life doula Anna Lyons. Life. Death. Whatever. will be published by Bloomsbury in April 2020. You can pre-order a copy here.
Have a look at the not-for-profit, independent guide to all things funeral related at the Good Funeral Guide, managed by Fran Hall. The GFG is a small team who go above and beyond in their commitment to improve the world of funerals, and have had a big impact on forcing the industry to behave transparently. They know where you can find good funeral directors so if Poetic Endings isn't the right funeral director for you, have a look at the GFG's list of recommended funeral directors.
The Natural Death Centre has been helping people stay informed and empowered for 22 years. The charity's three part handbook is fascinating and totally life-changing. It opens up a world of options and is essential reading for anyone who works in the world of death and dying, or is just curious about how things can be done differently.
If you're struggling to pay for a funeral, call Fiona at Quaker Social Action's Down to Earth. She'll help you to reduce the cost of a funeral, and access government support and charitable grants. Don't let the cost of a funeral force you into debt. Fiona's on hand to help.
Based in New York? Please take a look at Amy Cunningham's new funeral service, Fitting Tribute Funerals in Brooklyn. She runs a much needed service for people who want something inspired and inspiring. We wouldn't hesitate to use her services for our own loved ones, if we were based in New York.
If you're curious about making preparations for the end of life, follow Anna Lyons on Twitter. She's an end-of-life doula and art lecturer, and posts informative and interesting content on issues related to death and dying.