Take-a-with you: Most unique coffin keepsakes revealed

14 October 2019

A Chinese takeaway, a false leg and a Wizard of Oz costume have been revealed as some of the most unique items Brits have asked to be buried with, according to the UK’s largest report into funeral trends from Co-op.¹

Based on insight from its funeral directors from over 500,000 funerals conducted in the last five years and the views of 4000 British adults, the report reveals the most unique things people have asked to take with them and highlights future expectations when it comes to coffin keepsakes.

Top 20 most unusual items Co-op’s been asked to place inside a coffin

  1. Chinese takeaway
  2. A false leg
  3. A mobile phone
  4. Wizard of Oz costume
  5. A violin
  6. A pair of clown shoes
  7. A set of skis
  8. Argos catalogue
  9. Guitar
  10. Pork pie
  11. A scone, cream and jam
  12. Toffee crisp
  13. Broomstick
  14. An autographed tennis ball
  15. Dustpan and brush
  16. Playing cards
  17. Fishing rod
  18. Half a bar of chocolate
  19. A wedding dress
  20. A Russian doll

When it comes to Brits’ final resting places, it’s clear that what lies beside them is important.

Despite the fact that almost half (46%) of people have given their funeral not very much or no thought at all, a fifth (22%) of people have already made decisions about what they would want placed inside their coffin when their time does come.²

Almost half (49%) would choose photographs, over a quarter (27%) would want a teddy bear and over a fifth (22%) would choose jewellery.

Almost a fifth (17%) would opt for letters, over a tenth (13%) would choose a book and a further tenth (12%) would want a bottle of their favourite tipple.

Furthermore, British humour rings true as a sixth (15%) of people anticipate a great escape, opting for torches and mobile phones within their coffins. Others wanted an alarm button.

Items Brits would want beside them in their coffins are as follows:

• Half (49%) would choose photographs
• A quarter (27%) want a teddy bear
• A fifth (22%) want jewellery
• Almost a fifth (17%) want letters
• Over a tenth (13%) would want a book
• A tenth (12%) would choose a bottle of their favourite tipple
• A tenth (9%) want a mobile phone within their reach
• A tenth (8%) would want their glasses
• Whilst 6% would want a torch close by

David Collingwood, Director of Funerals at the Co-op said:

“Placing items inside coffins dates back centuries, but what we’re seeing now is a shift in more people choosing exactly which personal items they want to be buried with. Sometimes, those items are sentimental to the deceased such as love letters, photographs and wedding rings. Others choose items specifically to make people laugh such as a Chinese takeaway, it can be a real talking point for those left behind.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

Co-op’s Funeral Trends media report can be found here: https://www.co-operativefuneralcare.co.uk/campaigns/funeral-trends/

¹ Co-op is the UK’s largest national funeral provider, with over 1000 funeral homes, conducting 100,000 funerals annually. This report is compiled of Co-op’s own business data from 2014 to date and insight from Co-op’s funeral arrangers and directors between June and July 2019.

² Total sample size was 4186 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th - 11th July 2019. The survey was carried out online with YouGov.Plc. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Media Contacts:

Emily Penkett: Emily.Penkett@coop.co.uk
Sarah Pyatt: Sarah.Pyatt@coop.co.uk

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