The Funeral Ceremony

The Funeral Ceremony

Celebrating your loved one's life - how and where?

Hardy's funeral directors will help create the right ceremony for you. We are aware of all the issues such as timing and other practicalities that you need to bear in mind. We also know what is possible at your chosen venue, for example how many people can be accommodated, if there is wheelchair access, and whether there is an organist or if recorded music can be played.

We will work closely with your chosen minister or celebrant, managing all the small details to ensure the ceremony is a truly fitting farewell.


Religious or Non-religious?

One of our roles is to work out the correct pairing between a minister/celebrant and the family to best fulfil your wishes and needs. We glean snippets of information and subtle clues as we listen.  Some families may say ‘oh dad wasn’t religious so we aren’t going to church’ but may still want a hymn or a prayer to be included in the service.

We will ask you if your loved one had any favourite pieces of music or singers, if anyone would like to say anything on the day of the funeral and also ask you to think of anecdotes and a timeline of events relevant to them.

  • Religious Ceremonies

    You can choose which faith leader you wish to conduct the ceremony or ask us for appropriate suggestions.

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  • Celebrant Led

    Civil Funeral Celebrants conduct non-religious ceremonies which focus on celebrating the life of the deceased, although they can include some religious practice, e.g. a hymn and/or prayer. 

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  • Humanist Funerals

    The British Humanist Association offers completely secular ceremonies conducted by their humanist officiants.

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We will work closely with your chosen minister or celebrant, managing all the small details to ensure the ceremony is a truly fitting farewell. 

Religious Ceremonies

For the funeral of a person with a particular faith or religion we will support you fully in appointing an appropriate minister for a church service or a service at a crematorium.

Most local ministers are familiar with issues of time and the practicalities of the funeral, but we will guide them as well as you about these matters.

Religious services can be conducted at the chosen place of worship, followed by a short commital ceremony at the crematorium or graveside; or you may wish to hold the full ceremony at the graveside or crematorium.

If you are having hymns or religious readings, we will make sure you are happy with the actual text that will be spoken, as there may be different translations/versions, and the tunes to which the hymns will be sung. Many ministers will agree to incorporate a personal element into a funeral, such as recorded music or a non-religious reading. A period of silence as well as formal prayers may also be appropriate.

willington church

Non-religious – Celebrant Led

Most people think that a non-religious service is conducted by a humanist however most of our non-religious funerals are conducted by a celebrant.

An independent celebrant has no affiliation to any church or humanist society, which means that they are therefore able to offer bereaved families the most appropriate and meaningful funeral ceremony, reflecting the wishes and values of the deceased and the people who are closest to them.

The ceremony will celebrate and recollect the life of the person who has passed away and will be respectful and highly personal.

The ceremony can be religious, non-religious or have some religious or spiritual content included, such as prayers or hymns. Speeches, poems or songs to commemorate the deceased and reflect the beliefs and values of the deceased and the bereaved family are also often included.

Humanist Funerals

A Humanist ceremony is increasingly common, and is one with no religious content at all. It can be more appropriate for those who neither lived according to religious principles, nor accepted religious views of life or death.

A Humanist Funeral or memorial ceremony recognises no ‘after-life’, but instead uniquely and affectionately celebrates the life of the person who has died. Proper tribute is paid to them, to the life they lived, the connections they made and have left behind, and as with “traditional” funerals, friends, relatives and acquaintances can express their feelings and share their memories.


Hymn's and Poems

We have provided below a selection of hymn's and poems, please feel free to download these items.

Our Guide To The Most Popular Funeral Songs

It is sometimes quite hard to find the appropriate songs for a loved one’s funeral. Sometimes they have had a favourite artist or a favourite song and have made this an easier task for you. Sometimes you need to think what they would have liked – poignant, happy or their favourite theme tune from a TV programme.

Choosing funeral songs that mean something to your family can be very challenging. In times gone by there wasn’t really a choice. If you were going into church the organist would play, now it’s more likely to be songs like the ones listed below.

Please use these songs as inspiration

  • I’ll See You Again – Westlife
  • Over the Rainbow - Eva Cassidy
  • Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
  • Nothing Compares to You - Sinead O’Connor
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  • Bring Me Sunshine – Morecambe and Wise
  • Don’t Worry. Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
  • What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
  • You Are the Sunshine of My Life – Stevie Wonder
  • Like a River - Carly Simon
  • You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
  • Mama - Il Divo
  • Goodbye’s the Saddest Word - Celine Dion
  • One Sweet Day – Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
  • Thank You for Being My Dad - Jon Barker
  • In the Living Years - Mike & the Mechanics
  • My Father’s Eyes - Eric Clapton
  • Dance With My Father – Luther Vandross
  • Hero – Mariah Carey
  • Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds
  • Stand By Me – Ben E King
  • Smile – Nat King Cole
  • You’ll Never Walk Alone – Judy Garland / Gerry and the Pacemakers
  • Perfect Day – Lou Reed

A different take on a funeral song

If you can’t find an appropriate song, why not the theme tune from their favourite TV show? For footy fans there’s ‘Match of the Day’ and for daytime telly addicts, how about the ‘Countdown’ clock music?

TV themes popular as funeral songs

  • Only Fools and Horses
  • Coronation Street
  • Match of the Day
  • Great British Bake Off
  • Test Match Special - Booker T & the MGs ‘Soul Limbo’

Perhaps the most touching song choices are those made by the deceased in their lifetime - songs they hoped would reassure and comfort the loved ones they left behind.

  • We’ll Meet Again - Vera Lynn
  • I’ll See You Again – Westlife
  • You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson
  • Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
  • Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx
  • Ave Maria – Schubert
  • Nessum Dorma – Puccini
  • Amazing Grace – Various artists
  • Pie Jesu – Faure
  • Song for Athene – Sir John Tavener

Times have changed. It’s now more acceptable to have a mix of funeral hymns and popular music at a religious funeral service.

  • Abide With Me
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • The Old Rugged Cross
  • The Lord’s My Shepherd
  • Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Good funeral songs for a last laugh

Choosing songs for your funeral can be a great way to make everyone smile and have the last laugh (literally). Rumour has it a schoolmistress known for her strict ways chose the song ‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’ as her parting shot!

  • Highway to Hell – ACDC
  • I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead – Bon Jovi
  • Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
  • Ding Dong the Witch is Dead – From Wizard of Oz
  • Going Underground – The Jam

Modern song choices follow trends

Every year the latest pop songs join the ranks of popular funeral songs. Some come and go quickly with changing trends. Others like Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’ become a favourite almost instantly and remain popular.

  • Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve
  • Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
  • Lay Me Down - Sam Smith
  • Someone Like You - Adele
  • My Immortal – Evanescence
  • Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum/Doctor and the Medics
  • Dancing Queen - Abba
  • We Are the Champions – Queen
  • Celebration – Kool and the Gang
  • I’m Still Standing – Elton John

5 all-time favourites

  • My Way – Frank Sinatra/Shirley Bassey
  • Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler/Celine Dion
  • Time to Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli
  • Angels – Robbie Williams
  • Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy

Please get in touch - we're here to help

Crook 01388 765 069
Willington 01388 747 747
Durham 0191 377 8065