Advertising

Coffin carrying is dying out

Dudley | News | Published:

Coffins are being wheeled into church on trolleys for funerals rather than the traditional method of being carried in by pallbearers due to health and safety fears. The trolleys are known as biers.

coffin.jpgCoffins are being wheeled into church on trolleys for funerals rather than the traditional method of being carried in by pallbearers due to health and safety fears. The trolleys are known as biers.

They are increasingly common in the Midlands to ensure pallbearers do not injure themselves carrying heavy coffins. Jan Cope, funeral administrator at Roy Quinton Funeral Directors in School Road, Wolverhampton, said: "The vast majority of our funerals use this method now."

"It has to be around 99 per cent and it's because of health and safety regulations. However, if a family makes a special request for the coffin to be carried in then we will do it. If relatives want to carry the coffin themselves we will give them advice of what to do," added the administrator.

J Freeman & Son, in St Peters Road, Netherton, also uses biers for funerals. One worker, who asked not to be named, said: "They are all we've ever used and every other funeral director uses them too as far as I know. Sometimes coffins have to be carried for quite a distance, which would be quite difficult without the biers".

Use of the biers has caused upset among a family in Essex after their war hero relative was pushed into church on the trolley.

Colin Blackwell, who is from Kelvedon, in Essex, said his family was disgusted when the coffin bearing the 89-year-old, who weighed about nine stone, was pushed into church rather than carried to save pall bearers any injury.

However in Walsall, funeral directors said coffins were still carried in the majority of cases.

"Coffins are still carried in the traditional manner by pallbearers for the vast majority of funerals we carry out," explained Oliver Du Croz, who is the spokesman for The Midcounties Co-operative Funeral Service, which has outlets across the Black Country.

"However, in a small number of cases this is not possible for reasons such as access from the hearse to the church. If a wheel bier is required, families are informed at the earliest possible opportunity, while the dignity of the deceased and their family always remains our first priority," he said.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Advertising

Top Stories

Advertising

More from the Express & Star

Advertising

UK & International News