Armstrongs Independent Funeral Service

01284 723 889
43 St Andrew’s Street North Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1TH

"You made a very difficult time easier to deal with in the compassion and consideration you and your staff showed to us all"

Family Comment

Answering your questions

We get a lot of questions, and we’re always happy to answer. The most convenient way to get your answer is to give us a call on 01284 723 889, but we have also outlined some of the common questions we get here on our website.

Before we meet to make funeral arrangements it helps if you can discuss some of the basic details with the rest of the family – even if it is just to decide whether it is burial or cremation. When we meet, we help to arrange the kind of funeral you think your loved one would have wanted, by asking lots of questions – but the answers are down to you. We will guide you and make suggestions, but the decisions are ultimately yours. Once we have built a picture of the kind of funeral you require,

we turn to completing all the necessary documentation and paperwork. Please download our

“Things we need to ask” document for some ideas of things we will need to know.

We bring your loved one into our care as soon as we are able to, as soon as the relevant paperwork is completed. Unfortunately the legal paperwork can sometimes take up to 5 days and is beyond our control.

Yes, Armstrongs is open and available monday to friday 9-5. If you wish to visit our private chapel, please ring and inform us when you would like to come and we will be pleased to arrange for a member of staff to give you their full attention. If you cannot come during normal hours we will try our best to accommodate you.

Yes. There is an increasing shortage of space in cemeteries and the price of a grave has increased dramatically in recent years. Bury St. Edmunds borough cemetery has no space for new burials. Also there is the cost of a headstone to consider.

When the funeral is a cremation, two doctors MUST attend and certify death. The FIRST doctor must be the doctor who attended the deceased during his/her last illness. The duty of the SECOND doctor is essentially one of confirmation. This doctor must not be related to the first doctor either through family or practice. For this service, each doctor makes a separate charge, which we, the Funeral Directors, usually pay on behalf of the deceased’s family.

In each limousine there is room for six people in the rear compartment and room for one in the front with the chauffeur.

On the day of the funeral the Funeral Director is there to help and guide you, your family and friends. If you are unsure of anything please ask the Funeral Director. For more information please visit What Happens On The Day?

Yes, although we would ask that you contact us as soon as possible to ensure that it is safe to do so. We are planning on adding a video showing the correct way to bear the coffin soon.

Yes, and it is encouraged. Whether it is to do a reading or to write a special message, to play a musical instrument or to bear the coffin in to the ceremony, it all helps to make the day personal and special.

Not necessarily. Although it is customary, like all areas of funeral etiquette it is getting more relaxed. You may feel that a sombre colour such as grey or navy blue is more suitable. Sometimes, families may request that mourners wear bright colours, or to not dress in black. The important thing is to feel comfortable and to fit in with the sense of occasion.

Yes, we can advise you on an alternative to a wooden coffin, arrange woodland burials and offer advice on how to reduced the impact of the funeral on the environment. We are the local agents for the Woodland Burial site at Culford.

No. We can do. We can take all of the arrangements out of your hands, following our initial meeting with you, and arrange everything so that the funeral is exactly how you want it to be – giving you time to look after yourself and the rest of the family. However, if there are areas where you wish to be more involved, it is certainly possible and we will assist you every step of the way. Our role is to guide and support you.

Yes, If you have a special request or would like a particular piece of music playing either as you walk into or out of the Crematorium Chapel, please let us know as soon as possible.

Yes! There is no restriction on what you can or cannot have played. There are restrictions on timings at the crematorium, so we need to know in advance if a double slot is required. Some churches will not allow certain music, but it can be played at the committal.

Don’t worry. We can arrange for a member of the clergy to contact you and to take the service. All you need to do is arrange a suitable time with them to come and visit you to discuss funeral arrangements. This is often the case.

Yes, you can have a Humanist funeral. This is a non-religious funeral with no reference to God, the Bible and no hymns are sung (although non-religious music can be played). You can have a service in the crematorium chapel, and if it is to be a burial you can have a graveside service.

The best thing is to talk to us about it but it is possible to have a religious funeral (which includes the Lord’s Prayer) but is mainly focussed on the life of the person who has died or to have a Civil Funeral, which is carried out by a member of the Institute of Civil Funerals, which can be tailored to your exact requirements in terms of content. We have an excellent civil celebrant we can call upon.

No. After the service has ended, the coffin does not move until all relatives and friends have left the Crematorium Chapel. At West Suffolk Crematorium there are curtains that close at the head of the coffin.

No. There are strict laws regarding cremation. Nothing may be removed from the coffin before cremation without the permission of the Home Office.

Yes. The identity of the coffin name plate is checked by the Crematorium Attendant before it is placed in the Cremation Chamber. This only holds one coffin or casket at a time and again there are rules that must be abided by.

Yes. Once the cremation has taken place, the cremated remains are removed and left to cool before being placed in an urn. This urn is clearly identified as to whose remains they are.

We always ask mourners to fill out pew cards and these will be made available to you as soon as the service is over.

If you require catering after the funeral you can make your own arrangements or contact us to make a booking at a hotel or restaurant. Alternatively we can arrange catering and staff at your home.

Yes, if donations to charity are requested in lieu of flowers, we will accept and list donations on your behalf and forward them to the charity of your choice.

There are various forms of memorial available at the crematorium; you will receive information on these from the crematorium after the funeral.

1. You can place them in the Garden of Remembrance and you will be given a map stating where they are.

2. You may wish to purchase a grave just for the purpose of interring the cremated remains. This allows you to have a headstone and have other members of the family buried there in the future.

3. You may keep them at home in a special urn or memorial.

4. You may scatter them in a special place.

5. The remains may be buried in an existing family grave.

If you would like to discuss any of the above alternatives, please contact us and we will be pleased to help you.

Yes. We have a selection of lightweight caskets and urns that would be suitable to take as hand luggage plus we would arrange all the necessary paperwork and declarations. We also have a range of smaller sized caskets and urns if you only wanted to take a small amount with you.

Yes, absolutely. They can go back to your house or to a family grave. They can be used in the chapel at the crematorium or our local hospice, St Nicholas; who will be pleased to receive them. Simply let us know what you would like to do.

The Funeral Account is sent to the person responsible for the arrangements or the solicitor, when necessary, about a week after the funeral.

Please be honest with us. We are a family firm and there are very few rules that are set in stone. If you tell us your situation we can offer advice and arrange a funeral closest to your budget. We can help you apply for grants from the Department for Work and Pensions. If we don’t know, we can’t help. Please don’t be embarrassed.

If the grave is ‘earth’ rather than ‘bricked’ then the grave can take up to six months or more before the ground is firm enough to place the weight of a headstone. If the grave is ‘bricked’ inside, then it does not take as long. The actual time depends on the soil and the size of the stone.

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