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How to be a Pallbearer

Being asked to be a pallbearer at a funeral is considered to be a great honour for most people, as this involvement at the celebration of a person’s life, and their final goodbye, is representative of the relationship. It can, understandably, be a daunting task for some people, so – to put minds at rest – we have put together this quick guide covering what might be expected of you as a pallbearer.

What Pallbearers Wear

Unless otherwise requested, funeral guests should wear conservative, smart clothing in dark colours. The colour black is traditionally worn as it has long been associated with mourning. Because of the prominent role a pallbearer has, it’s important that their clothing is particularly smart. A dark suit or dress is considered widely appropriate.

Transport for Pallbearers

Depending on their relationship with the deceased, a pallbearer might be part of the funeral procession. This is not always the case, however, and sometimes a pallbearer will need to make their own way to the venue.

How to Carry a Coffin

On the day, the funeral director will be there to instruct you on the proper way to lift and carry a coffin. In the UK, conventionally the coffin is carried by four or six pallbearers on their shoulders; however it can also be carried using the handles if preferred. Tips on how to carry a coffin include:

  • Arrange pallbearers in pairs according to height – with shorter people at the front
  • Make sure the route is completely clear
  • Have people at either end of the coffin to help stabilise it before moving
  • Keep the coffin close to your body
  • Make sure you are wearing appropriate shoes (no heels and non-slip)
  • Keep a good posture – do not stoop or squat
  • Make sure you keep your head up so you properly see your way

Guidance on the Day

Pallbearers can rest assured that they will be fully supported by the funeral director on the day of the funeral. They will be on hand to make sure the coffin is properly lifted, and to make sure that you all know what is expected of you and when.

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How to be a Pallbearer

Has Someone Passed Away?

We understand at this difficult time you need someone to guide you through it all. We’re on hand to help after someone you love dies.

Arranging a Funeral

We’ll talk you through the process and what’s involved, so that you can make the right decision both for you and your loved ones.

Pre-Paid Funeral Agreement

We’re here to help if you want to make sure your funeral is both planned and paid for in advance.

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A Few Kind Words...

“Dear John,

Thank you for the wonderful service, support and help you offered me and the way you looked after my partner Bob, after he passed away.

From the professionalism and courtesy your team showed on that most traumatic moment – taking Bob from our house – to your kindness, and surefooted advice, the recommendation of the Celebrant, and then your kindness in coming to the cremation as well.

It’s been the hardest month or so of my life and yet I was so pleased with how the service went, the wonderful order of service you arranged and helped me with and of course the music as well. Throughout it all you treated me with respect, dignity and gave me such helpful advice. I’m not sure I would have managed well without that. Even more, I can now look back and reflect that the day went well and represented my partner and our love so well.

I think it’s important to thank people when they have done such a great job.”

Douglas

“You make an extremely difficult time easier. Dad’s service was very fitting and I was so pleased to see him dressed in his uniform and hold his had one last time, Jess you did a lovely job. Thank you so so much.”

Clare

“Dear Beth,

Just a short note from all of us to say “Thank You” for all the effort that you applied to ensure that Sarah’s funeral passed so seamlessly.

If it can be described as a “Great Day” (which I know will sound odd) I mean it purely in terms of the balance between sadness and celebration was met – that also the weather was perfect, the co-ordination between service and committal was excellent, the flowers so beautiful and everyone played their part so well. It was largely down to you that it did work so well.

So a “Big Thank You”

Barry, Jemma, Matthew, Josie and William

“Dear Judy,

Thank you for all your hard work and great communication for the arrangement of mum’s funeral. Even though the restrictions limited certain things, everything ran so smoothly. We were able to celebrate mum’s life with a lovely service and great help from you and all at Alan Greenwood funeral services on the day.”

Yvonne and Peter Richardson

Dear Chloe,

We just wanted to all thank you and the rest of Alan Greenwood team for providing excellent service for organising and conducting our mother’s funeral – The day went perfectly.

Mike

“We would like to thank you for a friendly and professional service and especially Adam who made a good job of the service, and a big thanks to Jane who was a great help and showed much kindness. We would recommend your company.”

Chris & Mike Whalen

“We would like to thank you very much for looking after Mum and for all the arrangements you made for her funeral last Thursday. Your professionalism, help and ready advice together with your sensitivity at such a difficult time was much appreciated by us all. Our best regards.”

Nigel, Colin Ian & Coraine Ferguson

“I would like to say a big thank you for everything. I had nothing to worry about, it all went so smoothly from the day of his death to the end of the funeral and in the circumstances could not have been better. Thank you so much.

I don’t have a great deal of experience in these matters, but compared to the other funeral directors I had to deal with, Greenwoods are the tops and you personally were a pleasure to deal with, you hit absolutely the right note.”

Ann Bishop

“Lynn, Bruce and I thank you so much for the wonderful understanding and help you have given us over the past days.It has been a difficult time but made so much easier by your guidance. With your kindness, we feel we managed to say our goodbyes to ‘Roger’, ‘Dad’ and ‘Grandy’ – showing our love and thanks to him for looking after us so perfectly over the years.”

Pat Clark

“I just wanted to drop you a line to say a massive thank you for everything you have done over the last two weeks. When I walked into Alan Greenwood’s on the 5th November I didn’t know where or how I was going to organise my lovely Mum’s funeral and the thought of it horrified me, you made a daunting job so much easier and were there to guide me all the way until the day of the funeral.”

I can’t thank you enough for your kind words, thoughts and help during this very difficult time. Losing someone as precious as mum is very hard but you helped so much. Thank you for everything you have done for mum, myself and my family.”

Sue, Mundy, Luke and Faye

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