Recently, listeners of Radio 4’s The Archers, were left reeling after the sudden death of young mum Nic Grundy from sepsis.
Nic was a sweet family orientated young woman, who days after scratching her arm, deteriorated rapidly and died.
As a huge fan of the programme, I thought it so useful that the profile was raised of this terrible condition, and the insightful discussions that followed in the media raised the awareness to many.
Nic’s widower, Will was obviously devastated, but we have heard, that despite not being able to make many decisions in his distraught state, he has chosen for Nic to have a Green Burial, and the date is set for Tuesday 20th March 2018.
At first this might seem quite a radical choice. After all Nic was a churchgoer and ran the crèche during Sunday services, and it seems as if the funeral ceremony will be conducted by the local Vicar Alan Franks, and will follow the normal religious rules and conventions.
We don’t yet know if the children will attend. For Nic’s 3 children and a stepson, a “traditional” funeral could be daunting, and the cemetery, full of old, dark headstones could be terrifying.
Green burials are not a new concept but are a world away from the Church Cemetery, but what do we know about them?
What is a Green Funeral?
“Compared to a traditional burial site, an eco-friendly or green burial site is unrecognisable as they are intended to look as close to forests as possible. As graves are not marked with a headstone or anything distinguishable.”
“The essence of a green funeral is age-old elemental simplicity. It rejects the so-called traditional funeral with its stuffy, Victorian, urban look, in favour of an outdoorsy, homespun, back-to-nature look. It prefers an unspoilt landscape to that of a regimented conventional cemetery. If it’s a look you like, natural burial is as lovely as it gets.”
For many, a Green Burial site is a far more natural and peaceful location, especially for children. Think of dancing butterflies and dappled sunshine in a woodland.
Such sites often ensure that negative products and processes such as embalming and hard to break down commercially produced caskets, are eliminated from the process to ensure a more environmentally sound burial, that has minimal impact on the earth.
Green burial sites work with religious leaders and also celebrants, who are able to deliver bespoke, personal ceremonies that celebrate the life of the deceased, and independent celebrants can include as little or as much religious or spiritual content as the family wishes.
Green burial sites are becoming more common and if you are considering this option, you should ideally visit a few to ensure that you get what you are looking for as facilities and atmosphere vary enormously.
For example, Fenns Meadow Green Burial Site advertise a meadow environment in Shropshire, and Arnos Vale Natural Burial Woodland promotes itself as “Green Heart of Bristol”
A list of members of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds can be found here:
It should be a beautiful and heartfelt burial for Nic Grundy.
Maybe next time however, Archers scriptwriters; you should consider an Independent Celebrant for a funeral ceremony!
The Archers is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 7pm and repeated at 2pm the following day with the Omnibus edition on Sundays mornings.
Sharon Peak is an Independent Celebrant creating bespoke ceremonies for Weddings, Vow Renewals, Funerals and other milestone events.