Bereavement support as well as funeral services
TOTNES-based Green Fuse Funerals has expanded to open a new facility in Buckfastleigh.
The company will offer bereavement support as well as traditional funeral services from its new Riverstone centre.
The refurbished premises located in part of an old paper mill, will also serve as a space for relatives and friends to hold vigils, ceremonies or wakes for their loved ones.
Services can be held at Riverstone because, unlike weddings, a licence is not needed to hold a funeral. Its new ceremony hall will also serve as a bereavement centre, where people can come to meet, talk and find support following the death of a loved one.
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The opening of the new premises also marked the launch of the Curve Coffin created by Kent-based Wealden Coffins.
Green Fuse was established by Simon Smith and Jane Morell in 1999. It offers a bespoke service and for those who preferred not to have a formal hearse it can offer Black Betty, a 1965 VW camper van as an alternative.
Mixing contemporary facilities with the traditional, as well as a mortuary and chapel of rest, the new Buckfastleigh centre will also be the hub for the Green Fuse Training Centre, with its guidance for industry professionals forming a key component of the business.
The company trains both undertakers and celebrants in what it describes as "modern" funeral directing.
"Half our business is funeral directing and half is training," said Mr Smith.
"Over the last four years, since we have been running the training, we have had 200 people – some coming from as far as Australia and America.
"There is a lot of attention to detail, to make it a more meaningful occasion for people. It is about both celebrating a life and mourning a loss."
In 2011, Mr Smith became just one of 10 UK funeral directors – and the first in Devon and Cornwall – is to graduate with the inaugural Foundation Degree in Funeral Services from Bath University.
The Good Funeral Guide named Green Fuse, along with The Green Funeral Company, also based in Totnes, as its joint Funeral Directors of the Year 2012, for their enlightened and contemporary approach. Bidwell Woodland Burial Ground at Rattery was named cemetery of the year.