Matters worrying you – Your concerns

Grace Mary House, Eachelhurst Road

As people only arrange a few funerals in their lifetime, we are sure that you will have concerns and questions.

Hopefully, below, are some of the answers to those questions. If the question troubling you is not mentioned, then please ask one of our team for help. We are here to answer all of your concerns.

How much will the funeral cost?  We provide a Standardised Price List. This is designed to help families to think through options and help to make choices and is very specific on pricing. We are also upfront with our bespoke funeral costs.

We have no money, savings or insurance cover and cannot afford a funeral. What will happen? 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, and if the worst comes to the worst, we can set up a payment scheme. If we don’t know, we can’t help. Please don’t be embarrassed.

Is a burial more expensive than a cremation? Yes. There is an increasing shortage of space in cemeteries and the price of a grave has increased dramatically in recent years. Some cemeteries have no space for new burials.

Does the Funeral Director have to do everything? No. We can do. We can take all of the arrangements out of your hands, following our initial consultation 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.

I don’t go to church, so I do not know a vicar to take the service. 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.

I’m an Atheist. Can I still have a funeral? 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 or a service in our funeral home.

We have a mix of religions and faiths in our family. What do we do? 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.

What happens in a funeral arrangement? 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.

I want some rock music played. Will I be allowed to? Yes! There is no restriction on what you can or cannot have played, as long as it is on an original CD and therefore legal.  There are restrictions on timings at the chapel, 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.

Can a member of the family take part in the service? 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.

Where is my relative taken between the time of death and the funeral? When can we see them? We transfer your loved one as soon as we are able to, after the relevant paperwork is completed.  In the majority of cases your loved one will remain at Grace Mary House until the time of the funeral. We try our very hardest for you so that you can come and see your loved one as quickly as possible after the death. So, once all the legalities are complete, we dress them and place them in their coffin, and transfer them to their own room within Grace Mary House, where in most cases they will stay.

Can I be buried at home, in my back garden? Actually, yes, and if you want it to happen, just mention it.  The information has to be put on the title deeds and we have to inform Severn Trent Water. If you make it known this is your wish we will sort the arrangements and try to obtain permission.

Is there such a thing as a more ecological funeral? Yes, and we have been members of the Association of Green Funeral Directors since the beginning.  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.

Do I have to wear black to a funeral? 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.

What is embalming? A process which slows down the natural biological processes, maintains a healthy and safe environment for visits to the chapel of rest and allows the deceased to maintain a dignified and restful pose when in the coffin.  We recommend the procedure if you wish to spend time with your loved one at our funeral home in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield.

What happens to the coffin once the service at the crematorium finishes? Sometimes the crematorium has curtains which close around the coffin at the end of the service.  When this happens, you cannot see the coffin but it is still there.  The cremation does not happen behind the curtains. The coffin does not move whilst you are in the chapel.  Once the chapel is empty the coffin is taken from its platform (known as the “catafalque”) through to a different area of the building for the cremation.

Are the handles taken off the coffin before the cremation? What happens to the jewellery and photos we left in the coffin? There are very strict laws surrounding cremation in the UK. As Funeral Directors, we take the coffin exactly how you left it, and when the crematorium receive it from us in the chapel the coffin cannot be opened, or interfered with in any way, without permission from the Department of Constitutional Affairs (formerly the Home Office).

How can I be sure they are the cremated remains of my loved one?Every coffin is cremated individually. At the funeral home, we check the identification of the person against that of the name plate on the coffin. At the Crematorium, the Attendant checks the identification on the coffin before it is placed in the cremator. The cremator is only big enough to accomodate one coffin at a time, plus the law states that “coffins must be cremated separately”. The cremator is identified on the outside, and once the cremation has taken place and the cremated remains are cooled they are placed in to the urn, which is also identified.

I want to take the cremated remains to our favourite holiday destination to be scattered. Is that possible? Yes.  We have a side selection of light weight 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.

It seems such a waste to leave the flowers at the crematorium, can I take them away? Yes, absolutely.  They can go back to your house or to a family grave.  Sometimes, they are taken back to nursing homes if they are suitable but this practice is getting rarer, as different homes have policies in place, and we have to obtain permission first.

International Repatriation – taking someone home

In today’s world, it is quite common for people to pass away not only away from home, but not even in the same continent. This requires ‘repatriation’. We can provide a repatriation service to any part of the world.  Each country and airline has their own regulations so full advice, guidance and price can only be given upon application.

As a general rule, you will need to know of a funeral director in the home country who will receive the coffin and make arrangements for the funeral, once the coffin has arrived.

It is possible to have a funeral locally prior to leaving for the airport. You may also wish to travel on the same aeroplane, once we know the details.

Through consultation we are able to provide a bespoke service to you and your family. We may need to bring third parties in to the arrangements, particularly where a translation of documents is needed.

If you are wishing to repatriate your loved one (in Birmingham it is quite common to repatriate to areas of Eire, for example) then try to remember to tell the Registrar when you attend to register the death.

Our services are provided as per our funerals carried out locally in areas around Sutton Coldfield and Erdington. We will arrange for any specialist coffin required, and if you wish to visit your loved one in the chapel of rest at our funeral home in Eachelhurst Road, Walmley, prior to the repatriation, then you are welcome.

This service is often not as expensive or as complicated as people first think. The only additional costs generally come from the transport costs by the airline, and the fact that two Funeral Directors have to be involved (one in each country).

Helping bereaved adolescents

Children’s grief will often take them on an emotional roller-coaster but everyone’s bereavement journey will be unique. Grief is normal and necessary and should not be bottled up or covered up, and it is not something you can get over like an illness.  Society tends to think that children should either be “completely protected” or that they are resilient and will “bounce back” without any support.  In our experience, bereaved children experience the bewildering pain of grief, but with support of those who love them they heal.

It is important too that you and other members of the family also have permission to grieve and that you can help each other through this awful experience. Children look to the adults around them to see how to behave when something happens, and this is no different when someone has died. It is not going to damage the children if they see you cry in front of them or with them. It is helpful if you can explain your feelings, “I was just having a little cry because I miss her and sometimes it is hard”.  Saying things out loud helps children to understand their world.  Children are very sensitive to their surroundings and they pick up on feelings and atmosphere within the family. They are likely to worry or blame themselves and may think they shouldn’t talk about the person who has died or show their feelings.  It will help their grieving if they see you are grieving too.

Within families, every member is different and so will grieve differently and unconsciously try to balance each other out – so if one is sad, another might support them by trying to cheer them up. It is done with the best of intentions, but it can stop people from being open about their grief through fear of upsetting the others. Not talking about it doesn’t stop the child from being affected.

When you do talk it is important not to have any expectations. Talk in language that is easy for them to understand but try and stay clear of euphemisms. It is important to be honest, but sensitive. They will value the trust you are placing in them by being honest, which will keep the lines of communication open in future.  They might only listen to begin with, or only take in chunks of information and have to go over the same ground at a later date. The important thing is that they feel able to talk.

The dynamics of the family have also changed and it is not unheard of for a child to try and assume the role that the person who has died – for instance feel duty bound to take on the “adult” role – and it is important that the adults in the family allow them to act their age.

The first year is very significant for everyone.  Children develop at different rates at the best of times and so it is hard to pinpoint exactly how much they understand about what has happened. By early teens, however it is closer to the adult understanding.

At this age children are much more aware of the finality of death and the impact it has on them.  They can understand death as both concrete and abstract. They may experience difficulties in interaction with their peers, and the death can make them feel different at a time they want to be like everybody else. It is important to find ways to build their self esteem. Children of this age are starting to think of the longer term impact of the loss.  They start to think of the important events and milestones that the person will not be part of. At this age they are starting to move away from dependence on the family and this can destabilise them.  Emotional releases and mood swings are common and they will appreciate knowing that their feelings are normal.

Friends and peers are particularly important to them, as they begin to develop their own ideas as to who they are. They want to be accepted, their bodies are changing and they are more aware of their future. It is quite common for risk taking behaviour to increase in adolescents.  They might start to ponder the “meaning of life” or they may be so busy doing different activities they don’t stop to reflect. This can be a way of keeping their intense feelings under wraps if they are worried about emotional outbursts.  Teenagers may withdraw significantly but don’t push them, just remain there for them.

Of course, the school also provides a valuable resource. The routine is useful for all ages of child and they like the continuity and things that remain “normal”.We are always happy to help schools with extra support if they need it.

Anniversaries, birthdays and other special days can be particularly hard on the whole family. Some do not feel they can celebrate. It helps to try and plan these days. Prepare for it to be a challenge though. Put aside a special time of day to remember the person, to light a candle or to make something for the memory box or scrapbook. Some families choose to do this in the lead up to a big event rather than on the actual day. Children find this very hard as they naturally look forward to events like Christmas.

Activities that may help

  • Telling the story of what happened or how they are feeling by writing, drawing pictures, making a cartoon strip or writing poetry.  The key here is that they can express themselves, but the finished article can be put away, by them, when they are ready to do so.
  • Creating a memory box
  • Planting some seeds – maybe writing a special message  and placing it in the soil under the seeds as a permanent reminder.
  • Winston’s Wish website has a graffiti wall and a sky scape which can help
  • Creating a family tree

It is important to let them know that it is okay to experience the wide range of emotions – including being happy and enjoying life.

Environmentally friendly funerals

Environmentally friendly funerals


Environmentally friendly funerals are otherwise known as “Green Funerals”.  We are the Only Green Funeral Directors in Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth and Lichfield.

Some families are concerned that a funeral may not be environmentally friendly and may opt for an alternative.

To be classified as ‘green’ a funeral needs to have at least 3 of the following:

  1. Eco friendly coffin made with natural and biodegradable materials.
  2. Burial in a Natural Burial Ground or on the family’s own land.
  3. Limousines and cars kept to a minimum.
  4. No embalming.
  5. No ‘cremfilm’ or plastic lining in the coffin.
  6. Journey kept to a minimum.
  7. Flowers used all bought within 10 mile radius of FD.
  8. A tree plant or other plant(s) instead of headstone.
Of course we can help with any of these things, or if perhaps you just want to “do your bit” for the environment and, for example, choose from one of our many Eco-coffins including bamboo, sea-grass, willow, water hyacinth, banana leaf, wool and cotton, then we are glad to work with you.
We are members of the Association of Green Funeral Directors and the only funeral home in Sutton Coldfield (and one of only two in the West Midlands) to be recommended by the Natural Death Centre.
For more information on environmental issues and woodlands burials please contact us.  We also provide the option of green funerals within our funeral pre-payment plans.

“We are all extremely happy with the way dad’s funeral went. It was an utterly appropriate way to mark the end of his life. And its hard to imagine how it would have worked out without Sarah and Danny’s help. Your enthusiasm and flexibility in accommodating our plans was really appreciated. I personally was particularly glad of your support on the day, where I thought Danny did a superb job of keeping us organised in a completely unobtrusive manner.”

Funeral Service in Sutton Coldfield

The old fashioned “Funeral parlour” has now been replaced by a funeral home, where the deceased can rest and their family welcomed. We offer the complete funeral service in Sutton Coldfield at Grace Mary House, our funeral home, and have an emphasis on high standards of care for your family and a funeral to be proud of. We are extremely proud of the funeral services we offer and believe them to be some of the best available.

All of the Daniel Ross team strive to help you in your time of need, and to ensure we provide the utmost level of care and service, we always follow our own set of quality standards which includes the feedback we get from the families we serve. Excerpts from this feedback can be found in our Testimonials section.

Arrangements for a funeral service in Sutton Coldfield may be made at our funeral home on Eachelhurst Road, Walmley, West Midlands or we can come to your home if you would prefer.

  • We offer a 24 hour cover service, every day of the year including Bank Holidays.
  • Your loved one will be brought to Grace Mary House as soon as possible, and will rest there until the day of the funeral.
  • Your family will receive the highest care from fully qualified  and licensed staff
  • We provide a wide choice of coffins and caskets and will aim to fulfill any special request or bespoke item.
  • As members of the Association of Green Funeral Directors we also offer the choice of an evironmentally friendly funeral, tailored to your requirements.
  • We use Daimler hearses and limousines, with traditionally attired chauffeurs and bearers as standard for all of our funerals.
  • Fresh flowers and floral tributes are created by our own in house florist, who can meet with you to discuss your requirements.
  • Dedicated private Chapels of Rest to spend time with your loved one.
  • Large Chapel to hold the funeral service for small family and private funerals.
  • A private lounge is available as a pre-funeral assembly room or for gatherings when visiting the Chapel of Rest.
  • Placement of all newspaper notices on your behalf, including funeral announcements and acknowledgements.
  • Printing of mourning stationery from a wide range of choices and bespoke full colour designs.
  • Advise on catering and funeral venues within your local area.
  • A full monumental service from a family owned, BRAMM registered memorial mason
  • Private Parking
  • The personal involvement of a Funeral Director in overseeing the care of you, your family and your loved one to ensure that the funeral is conducted to your requirements and in a manner that is befitting to the deceased.
  • Open and honest receipt of In Memoriam donations.
  • Family to family specialist care

Daniel Ross Funerals would be honoured to serve you and your family in your time of need and to excel your expectations by providing a truly personal funeral service in Sutton Coldfield.

Walmley funeral director opens new funeral home

There was a lot of media coverage surrounding the opening of our brand new funeral home in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield.

Grace Mary House was opened on 12th November 2009 by the Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Michael Wilkes & the Lady Mayoress of Birmingham, Mrs Vivienne Wilkes.

There were many special guests in attendance including the Vice President of the British Institute of Funeral Directors and local clergy. A symbolic dove release marked the official opening, and then the chapels of rest were dedicated and blessed.

Based half a mile outside Walmley village centre, the funeral home has a large frontage and enjoys a prime corner position.  Major refurbishment involved taking the building back to a shell and then reconfiguring the space to create a large reception, arranging room, general office, preparation area and mortuary.  The premises also have two chapels, the larger of which is capable of being used for a small funeral service accommodating up to 20 people.  The room can also be partitioned to create two smaller viewing chapels.

Owner, Sarah Wolsey, a qualified and licensed Funeral Director,  is passionate about achieving and upholding the highest standards.  She says: “I think the industry should be regulated.  For us, there was never any question about Daniel Ross Funerals seeking membership of the National Association of Funeral Directors.  To my mind, the fact that we are expected to abide by a Code of Practice and that we provide a formal complaints/redress system shows families we are committed to doing the job to the best of our ability. We are also proud to announce that we are also members of the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors and the Association of Green Funeral Directors.”