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Sept 26 2012 -Time to Wake up to a Corporate Funeral Industry that Fails both the Living and the Dead


Death does not become us. The British Way of Death - the title of an explosive undercover documentary that airs on ITV on Wednesday night - will shock audiences by revealing the dark side of a hugely profitable funeral business. In it, undercover journalists discover shocking examples of racism and gross disrespect of both the living and the dead.

Driven, articulate and determined to hold profit-led funeral businesses to account, the Natural Death Centre Charity is calling for a new approach based on truth and transparency.

‘We have known about dark practices for many years in the conventional funeral industry and are disgusted by the most recent examples and allegations which will be shown in Wednesday’s programme,’ says Rosie Inman-Cook, manager of the charity. ‘The programme will further illustrate that there are areas of the British funeral industry that are not fit for purpose.’

‘It’s a national disgrace; the reality is that within the funeral industry there are juggernaut firms committed to feeding share-holders and venture capitalists at the expense of the customer, where the most vulnerable are often subjected to hard sell tactics and robbed of dignity.’

While responses to Wednesday’s programme will likely include calls for more regulation, Fran Hall, Chairman of Trustees of the charity warns; ‘This is a typical knee jerk response and will achieve nothing. It is impossible for regulation processes set up by trade bodies to be impartial and fair, together with the knowledge that there is no government appetite for regulation.’

‘The key to change and the way forward is an open, honest approach from the funeral industry, alongside an informed and discriminating public,’ says Rosie. ‘The Natural Death Centre (NDC) has long pioneered good practice whereby the public take control of their dead and their funerals.’


The Natural Death Centre retaliates against the Death Machine with the fifth edition of its radical empowering publication, The Natural Death Handbook. Filled with practical information, it is a no holds barred exposé on the funeral industry and the first step to inspire everyone to take back control of their dead. ‘It is time to kick out tyranny and greed in the funeral industry and replace it with empathy and humanity,’ says Ru Callender of the NDC. ‘Every home should have a copy of this book,’ says Natural Death Centre co-founder and patron Josefine Speyer.


We are available to provide further response to this important debate pre and post screening of the British Way of Death and on The Natural Death Handbook.

Please contact:

Rosie Inman-Cook (Manager of the NDC) on 01962 712690

Comment is also available from one of our living patrons, journalist and broadcaster Lucy Siegle.

Sadly comment is not available from our ancestral patrons, founder of the NDC Nicholas Albery and Lord Michael Young of Dartington, as they are no longer alive.

- EXPOSURE: THE BRITISH WAY OF DEATH airs ITV1 Wednesday 26 September 2012, 9pm. It is A Hardcash production for ITV1.

Notes for the editor:

-   The Natural Death Centre Charity was set up in 1991. Its purpose is to educate, inform and empower the public in all aspects of dying, death and funerals.

-   The Natural Death Handbook is for all who like to make their own minds up, based on the facts. Our deaths are unavoidable, but we have the ability to shape our dying, much as we have the ability to shape our living. Both demand information, courage and imagination.

RRP £24.00 (including post and packaging)

Available exclusively from the Natural Death Centre Charity website: www.naturaldeath.org.uk

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The New Natural Death Handbook fifth edition is out now, this book is a must read for everyone. Completely revised and expanded into a boxed set of three books... Read more

Credit to Will Whipple (photographer)



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