After a loved one has died, their body is normally stored in a Chapel of Rest until the date of the funeral services. Alternatively, the body may be kept in another safe location until the funeral takes place. However, in the majority of cases, the remains must take one final journey to the place of the service, cremation or burial. There are very few rules and regulations about how a body can be transported, meaning that those who are arranging the funeral have a lot more freedom to give their loved one a fitting send off. Here are some of the types of transportation that are used for funerals.
A traditional motor hearse is a long black vehicle with a special extended area for the coffin. A hearse may also be referred to as a funeral coach by some people in the UK. Before transportation, the coffin will be secured, so that it cannot move around during transit. The coffin will normally be visible through the large windows of the vehicle, meaning that people will be able to see the coffin as the hearse drives past. Many people will put a floral tribute on top of the coffin to add another unique personal touch which can be viewed through the windows of the vehicle. However, if you want more privacy for the coffin, some funeral directors may be able to offer curtaining to obscure the windows or a hearse with darkened glass.
Whilst the vast majority of hearses which are in use in the United Kingdom are a traditional black colour, there has recently been an increase in the demand for alternatively coloured vehicles. White, silver and pink hearses are all available in the United Kingdom for people who do not feel that black is an appropriate colour for their loved one’s funeral.
A hearsette is a modern take on the traditional hearse. These vehicles tend to be smaller and more inconspicuous than a traditional hearse, because they are shaped more like a family car or people carrier. They usually have darkened glass rather than large windows. They are a good choice for people who value privacy or for people who are concerned that a traditional hearse may seem too large for a small coffin. Hearsettes are also regularly utilised as “first response vehicles” to transport recently deceased persons from their place of death to the chapel of rest.
Horse Drawn Hearse
Historically, all hearses in the United Kingdom were horse-drawn vehicles. Once funeral directors started to use motorised hearses, the horse-drawn option started to fall out of fashion. However, horse drawn models are still preferred by some people, including those from the gypsy and traveller community. This type of vehicle is also a wonderful option for those who like traditional or historical modes of transportation.
A horse-drawn hearse is styled like a traditional horse-drawn coach, but large windows mean that the coffin is prominently displayed. The coffin will sit much higher on the road than it would sit in a motorised hearse. Using a horse-drawn hearse means that the final journey will be conducted at a much slower pace, so it is important that you plan accordingly. There may also be some restrictions on the route that the horse-drawn hearse can travel along. The coachman should be able to offer advice about this to help you to plan the funeral accordingly.
A motorcycle hearse is a specially adapted motorbike or trike which pulls a hearse-style carriage. In most cases, the hearse-style carriage will be drawn alongside the bike like a traditional side car. In some cases, it may be pulled to the rear of a trike, like a trailer. The hearse-style compartment has many of the same features as a traditional motor hearse, such as the large windows which enable people to view the coffin as it drives past. Motorcycle hearses are becoming increasing popular as a fitting send off for those who were enthusiastic about motorcycles during their lives.
In some circumstances, including religious funeral rites, the coffin may be carried for a distance by pallbearers or casket bearers. Pallbearers were traditionally male members of the family, but they can now include a much wider selection of people. Pallbearers are normally volunteers, but extra people can be paid to take on the responsibility. It is worth noting that a coffin containing the remains of a deceased person can weigh a significant amount. This is why most coffins are normally wheeled instead of carried.
Most funeral directors will also recommend that loved ones hire a funeral limousine to follow the hearse on the final journey. These funeral cars are longer vehicles that can normally carry around 7 passengers. They help to carry mourners to the church or venue of the funeral.