Co-op tackles death taboo at Devon County show

Figures published by Co-op Funeralcare reveal a worrying gap in end of life planning across Devon, with as many as 91% of adults in the region yet to create a funeral plan and almost a quarter (21%) yet to communicate their funeral wishes to anyone.

The findings come as Co-op embarks on its annual tour of the UK’s County Shows, kicking off with Devon County Show, which takes place at Westpoint until Saturday (20th May).

Seeking to close the gap in end of life planning, Co-op Funeralcare’s stand will feature an alternative tandem cycle hearse, a picture coffin and a range of other funeral options. It is hoped that the stand will help to encourage visitors to share and discuss their funeral wishes in addition to raising awareness of the many options available for personalisation at funerals.

The research highlights the extent to which local residents don’t currently talk about death. Over three quarters (77%) of adults in Devon have made the decision as to whether they want to be buried or cremated, however, as 91% are without a funeral plan there is a risk that these wishes will not be communicated.

Out of the 42% of adults living in Devon who’ve had to plan a funeral, almost a fifth (17%) of them didn’t know what their loved one wanted which led to almost a quarter (20%) finding it a highly stressful time.

Jack Walsh, Head of Operations for Co-op Funeralcare said: “It has never been more important that we plan ahead and have conversations with our friends and family about our wishes. Not only so that we take our final journey in the way we would’ve wanted, but also to alleviate some of the pain for our grieving families by removing those important decisions which can cause distress.’

“Talking about funerals isn’t something that comes naturally to a lot of people, so we’re hoping that our presence at this year’s County Show changes that and encourages people to talk more openly about they would want.’’