‘Funerals don’t have to be dark and horrible anymore’

Funeral director Lucy Jane has been  nominated for an award. Picture: OX69525 Jon Lewis

Funeral director Lucy Jane has been nominated for an award. Picture: OX69525 Jon Lewis Buy this photo

First published in News
Last updated
by

LUCY Jane has a simple philosophy for running her Oxford funeral business: “Nothing’s too silly that you can’t ask.”

The 32-year-old’s approach has led to her being nominated as Funeral Director of the Year in a national industry awards less than a year after she opened her doors as The Individual Funeral Company in Rose Hill.

“There’s been a general change,” she said of the funeral industry, in which she has worked for 12 years.

“It doesn’t have to be this dark, horrible, traditional thing anymore.”

Ms Jane, who offers a bespoke service rather than one-size fits all, said most of her clients opt for coloured cardboard coffins, or others made from bamboo, banana leaf or wicker, rather than the orthodox wood casket.

People are becoming less afraid to ask for personal touches, she added.

It is not uncommon for the deceased to be buried with day-to-day items in their pockets, like cigarettes, whisky bottles or mints, in a contemporary twist on the habit of Egyptian pharaohs of taking belongings with them to the afterlife.

Before starting her own business, Ms Jane’s eye for the unorthodox was honed while working for Motorcyle Funerals, which specialises in providing a hearse as a side-car attached to a motorbike.

“I used to go up and down the country taking people for their last rides,” said Ms Jane, who was based in Oxford at the time.

Ms Jane was inspired to work with dead people after observing the passion her mother, Suzie Jane, had for her job as a hospital mortuary manager.

“Mum gave me some advice on my first day,” she said. “It’s not your grief to have, it’s somebody else’s.”

At 19 she began working in the funeral industry with the Co-operative Funeralcare, in Cowley, before moving on to Motorcyle Funerals.

Ms Jane, who is single, was spurred on to set up her own business, which she opened in September 2013 in the belief people in Oxford were not being offered enough choice for something different in their funeral.

“We ask them questions as opposed to telling them what they’re going to have.”

Her mother helps wash and dress the bodies, while her sister, Hannah Jane, assists in the reception and her brother, Guy Jane, a builder, maintains the office building.

The Good Funeral Awards organiser, Charles Cowling, of Redditch, said Ms Jane received 10 nominations from clients and industry peers. “They regard her as being extremely passionate and she has sufficient business sense,” he added.

Ms Jane is up against nine other nominees for the main award.

There are 15 categories in all, including Embalmer of the Year, Florist of the Year and Gravedigger of the Year.

The awards, to be held on September 6 in Bournville and now in their third year, are renowned for their light-hearted approach to death.

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Send your Letter to the Editor

11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.


Our top stories

Army will apologise to paratrooper after bullying claim at RAF Brize Norton upheld

Oxford Mail:

4:11pm Wednesday 1st October 2014

THE Army has said it will apologise to a paratrooper who lost three limbs in Afghanistan after his complaint of bullying was upheld.

Witney job centre cordoned off after suspicious package scare

Oxford Mail:

11:38am Wednesday 1st October 2014

A job centre was cordoned off after reports of a suspicious package.

Two road closures next week on A34 and in Oxford

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

10:52am Wednesday 1st October 2014

PARTS of the A34 and Walton Street will be closed next week as roadworks are carried out.

Thames Water under fire from residents who say they’ve been left in the dark

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Wednesday 1st October 2014

ANGRY residents flooded out of their homes say they are being left in the dark by Thames Water a week after disaster struck.

One lane of Botley Road shut for emergency work

Oxford Mail: Burst water main closes Lower Hall Lane in Chingford

9:00am Wednesday 1st October 2014

THAMES Water started emergency roadworks in Botley Road last night.

WATCH: Right royal occasion as RAF hands on helicopters + video

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Wednesday 1st October 2014

PRINCE Andrew joined RAF personnel and Royal Navy staff as they paraded at RAF Benson yesterday to mark one of the base’s helicopter squadrons being officially disbanded.

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:23pm Fri 5 Sep 14

townandgown says...

Seriously? You had to state that she was single? What does her marital status matter to the story or her achievement? Amazed she could be a successful businesswoman without a husband? Try to be a little 21st Century Oxford Times.
Seriously? You had to state that she was single? What does her marital status matter to the story or her achievement? Amazed she could be a successful businesswoman without a husband? Try to be a little 21st Century Oxford Times. townandgown
  • Score: 5

8:13am Sat 6 Sep 14

hanz85 says...

So out of the whole story you decided to dig at the fact it says she's single? I think it's great that she's been open a year and has been nominated for an award already. She must be doing a fantastic job in helping others at such a sad time! Well done and good luck
So out of the whole story you decided to dig at the fact it says she's single? I think it's great that she's been open a year and has been nominated for an award already. She must be doing a fantastic job in helping others at such a sad time! Well done and good luck hanz85
  • Score: 2
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree