Themed funerals: Co-op reveals 2018’s quirkiest send offs

21 January 2019

  • Two fifths of UK adults want their funeral to be a celebration
  • Co-op has seen requests for alternative hearses rise by a fifth in three years

McDonalds Funeral

Co-op Funeralcare has today unveiled the top 5 unique funerals of 2018, as the leading funeral provider reports a continued shift away from sombre send offs. From Christmas in July to a send-off fit for a superhero, personalisation is proving to be a growing priority for Brits when planning a final farewell.

It’s not just the ceremony people are personalising as Co-op reveals Brits want to arrive in style. Over the last three years, the national funeral provider has seen the number of requests for unique hearses increase by a fifth (21%)*. These range from a Rainbow hearse to land rovers to a hearse showered with 100 red poppies.

Further highlighting a trend of Brits moving away from traditional funerals, Co-op’s biggest ever survey into death, dying and bereavement, conducted among 30,000 Brits, reveals that two fifths (41%) would like their funeral to be a celebration of life, rather than a sad occasion. A further one in five (20%) want mourners to wear bright colours at their funeral.**

Marking this trend, Co-op has identified the most unique tributes conducted over the last 12 months. These are:

  • Magician Funeral – carefully tailored, right down to the red noses, this funeral celebrated the life of a magician. Unique touches streamed throughout the service including Co-op’s rainbow hearse and a coffin printed with a deck of cards, this funeral was like no other. Furthermore, the family opted for a broken wand ceremony. During a magician’s funeral, a ritual is performed in which a wand is broken indicating that the wand is no longer needed as the magician has passed away.
  • Christmas in July – with Santa, Rudolph and Santa’s little helpers in attendance, this funeral gave the best send-off possible for a Christmas lover. In the heat of the summer, family and friends came together dressed in Christmas jumpers to celebrate the life of their loved one.
  • Fancy Dress Funeral – With Scooby Doo, Kevin the Minion and a Ninja Turtle in attendance, this funeral was a real representation of a fun and high spirited individual. With the Funeral Director dressed as He-Man, guests included Elvis Presley, Red Riding Hood and a Medieval Punk Rocker.
  • Only Fools and Horses Funeral – A send-off fit for a comedy enthusiast, this funeral was based on popular TV show, Only Fools and Horses. The family wanted spirits to be high and the funeral to have the fun factor so chose to use the Reliant Regal hearse.
  • McDonald’s Funeral – This ceremony was for a teenager who was a huge fan of McDonald’s. The funeral precession drove via the local McDonald’s, through the drive through and parked in the car park to allow family and friends to let off balloons. After the funeral, the family returned to the fast food restaurant for the wake – a place where the teenager spent a lot of his time with friends and family.

David Collingwood, Director of Funerals at Co-op, commented:

“We all lead unique lives and our final goodbye should definitely reflect that. Personalised touches don’t need to be extravagant – it can be something as small as changing the funeral directing team’s ties.

“The trend really highlights the importance of planning ahead and having 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 when the time comes.”


Notes to Editors:
Images of the funerals and unique hearses available upon request.
Case studies available for media interview
*According to Co-op Funeralcare’s own business data from 2015-2017

**Co-op’s biggest ever survey into death dying and bereavement was conducted by YouGov from 7th May to 25th June 2018 among over 30,000 UK adults. Further detail on the study can be found in Co-op’s media report

Full funeral details of unique tributes available on request

For further information please contact:
Claire Newmarch: or 07808 609 944
Sarah Pyatt: 07850 002 312

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About the Co-op
The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives and has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 employees and an annual turnover of over £9 billion.

Home to the UK’s leading funeral provider, Co-op Funeralcare conducts almost 100,000 funerals annually across over 1,000 funeral homes. Combined with its leading legal services business, the Co-op is also a national provider of later life products and services ranging from funeral plans, through to wills and probate.