How do I get service sheets made?

This is a simple process that we can do for you with minimum fuss. We have designed a number of service sheets ranging from Traditional to Modern in style that can be quickly and easily prepared for your service. You can select the style you prefer here or during the arrangement in our offices and our designers will then personalise your design with your pictures and service details. There is a nominal charge for this to cover printing costs. Of course, if you wish, you are free to design and print your own service sheets.

What is Southend Crematorium like?

Southend is a pleasant facility that provides two chapels for funeral services. It has the South Chapel, which is perfect for smaller gatherings of up to 50 people, and the West Chapel, which is designed for larger services of up to 120 people seated. Both are well furnished modern facilities with a traditional feel. Use of either chapel is included in all prices quoted on this site. See local cemeteries and crematoria

What happens if I want to use a different Crematorium?

This is not a problem. Please take a look at our Local Cemeteries and Crematoria page to see the locations we most usually serve in Essex. If you wish to use a Crematorium that is not on our site please call us 01702 436000 to discuss this.

What do I do in the event of a death?

This can seem like a very daunting situation but don’t worry, there are a few simple steps to take. What you need to do will change depending on where the death has occurred so we have covered every scenario for you. If you go to our First Steps page  and select the relevant place of death then you will find a short and clear description of exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it.

When should I contact a funeral director?

This depends to a degree on the situation you are in. For example, if your loved one is taken into a care home or a hospice it is advisable to decide on your preferred funeral director ahead of time and make the home/hospice aware of your choice so that they can take the correct action when required. You will find a brief and clear explanation of when it is best to contact a funeral director by clicking here. Of course we are more than happy to give you advice on this if you wish, just call us on 01702 436000 and we will talk you through it and answer all your questions.

Are coffins ever re-used?

Absolutely not. During a cremation the coffin is always burned. Out of respect for the deceased and the family a coffin would never be reused under any circumstances.

Do you get all the ashes back after a cremation?

Yes, you get absolutely all of the ashes returned to you. Each crematorium has very careful procedures to ensure that all cremated remains are fully collected for the family. People sometimes wonder if there is any contamination with other ashes, but rest assured that crematoria maintain strict practices to ensure that no ashes are every close to, or mixed with, any other cremated remains.

How soon can we have the service?

We advise that 2 weeks is a good period of time for arranging a funeral service. This gives time for all details to be sorted out, service sheets to be designed and printed and for people to make arrangements to attend. The average time for arranging a service is between one and a half and two and a half weeks. It is possible to do this more quickly, for example a funeral can be arranged in a week but it may not be possible to have service sheets ready. In exceptional circumstances where there is no complication or coroner’s involvement a service can be arranged as fast as two days but this is very rare. Please note that if the coroner is involved it can take several weeks for the body to be released and funeral arrangements cannot be finalised until this has happened.

What documents do I need to arrange a funeral
  • The form that your funeral director will require is the “Green Form” that you will be given by the registrar at the time you register the death. This is the form that gives your funeral director the legal authority to go ahead and conduct the funeral for you. Please note that you can go ahead and make all arrangements with your funeral director before you have this form, however the funeral cannot be completed until you have submitted this form to the funeral director.
  • If the death is examined by the Coroner’s Office then no green form is required. The relevant form will be sent directly to your nominated Funeral Director by the Coroner.
When can I make the funeral arrangements with the funeral director

The most helpful answer here is “when it is convenient for you”. Most families like to visit their funeral director and go through all the arrangements between one and three days after their loved one has passed. However there is no rush, so if it takes you a week or so for you to feel ready to visit your funeral director that is OK. A common misunderstanding is that you cannot arrange the funeral until you have registered the death and received the green form. This is not true.

You are free to arrange the funeral before you have registered the death, just be aware that the funeral cannot be completed until the green form has been given to your funeral director. In some circumstances people like to go through all the arrangements prior to the point of death and this is completely fine. Most details and choices can be sorted out and agreed at this time, but of course the actually date and time of the funeral cannot be arranged or decided prior to the date of passing.

What is the payment called 'Doctor's Fees' for

Doctor’s fees are only charged for a cremation, not for a burial. The reason for this is that, unlike a burial, no investigation can take place after a cremation has been performed. For this reason the government stipulates that the deceased’s doctor must view the deceased and certify that the cause of death is as specified and that there is nothing suspicious about the circumstances.

Previously two doctor’s certificates were required  but since the arrival of the Coronavirus the regulations have changed so only one doctor is required. This has reduced the doctors’ fees from £164 to £82.

If a Post Mortem is carried out by the Coroner’s office then no doctor’s certificate is requires so there is no charge.

Can I see my loved one while they are at Penrose Funerals?

Yes, of course you can. We will dress your loved one in whatever clothes you choose to provide, or they can be dressed in a traditional gown for viewing. You can arrange for viewing in our chapel of rest and we will make sure everything is ready for you to say a private and serene goodbye.

Is it necessary for the deceased to be embalmed?

No, this is usually an unnecessary expense. Contrary to some common practice it is not usually necessary for the deceased to be embalmed even when viewing is desired. We will, of course, provide embalming where requested and, in some circumstances where it is deemed necessary we will advise that embalming is required for a viewing. Embalming is invasive, adds to the cost of a funeral and most often it is not required so we advise against this procedure unless it is necessary for viewing purposes.

Can I put anything in the coffin?
  • Yes, you can put small items and memorabilia in the coffin. Items that are commonly placed in a coffin are teddybears, clothing (mostly natural fibres), cards and letters, blankets and other small combustible items. For a cremation it is not permitted to put metal objects, large books, alcohol or glass (including glasses) into the coffin. If you have other items in mind we can advise you at the time.
  • For a burial there are fewer limitations because most items above are limited due to the cremation procedure.
If family members are coming a long way can we delay the funeral?

Yes. It is not uncommon for a funeral to be delayed between 2 to 4 weeks for family arrangements and we are happy to do this. We do not charge for long term care of the deceased unless the delay is longer than 3 months.

If I want to pre-pay for a funeral what happens to the money I pay?

When you pre-pay for a funeral the money is never held by the funeral director. Your money is held by a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This means that your money is legally protected and cannot be lost even if your chosen funeral director goes out of business. Should this happen then the company holding the money will arrange for your funeral to be conducted by another reputable independent funeral director in your area.

Can family members and friends carry the coffin at the funeral?

Yes, of course. You can choose during the arrangement for family and friends to carry the coffin, but even if you decide at the last minute that some people want to help carry the coffin this will not present a problem. You can select anything from 1 to 6 bearers but not more than 6. We will instruct the bearers carefully on the procedure for carrying the coffin and then remain in close attendance while it is being carried in. Please note that we always attend with a full team of bearers so even if you have arranged for 4 people to carry the coffin but they decide not to at the last minute then we can continue without any delay.

Do family and friends have to carry the coffin at the funeral?

No, you will never be required to carry the coffin. Penrose Funerals always attend each funeral with a full team of bearers even if the family have arranged to carry the coffin themselves. This is to ensure that the funeral will always proceed without any delay or problem even if the family decide not to bear the coffin at the last minute. No responsible funeral director will ever ask or require any family or friends to act as bearers for a funeral. Bearing is done on a purely voluntary basis.

When should I register a death?

It is a legal requirement that a death is registered within 5 days unless the death is being investigated by the Coroner. You will find more information about when to register a death and the documents you will require here as well as contact details for your local registrar which you will find here.

Who can register a death?

Death can be registered by any of the following

  • A relative of the deceased
  • An executor for the estate or other legal representative
  • The person arranging the funeral (not including the funeral director)
Where is my local Registrar Office for registering a death?

This depends on where you live in Essex. If you live in Southend then you must register the death with the Southend Registrar or at the Southend Hospital Bereavement Centre if the death occurred in Southend Hospital. If you live in Thurrock then you must go to the Thurrock Registrar. If you live anywhere else in Essex then you must register the death with the Essex Registrar in Benfleet. The addresses and contact numbers for all of these offices are available in full if you click here.

What exactly is a Direct Cremation?
  • A direct cremation is a cremation with no service or mourners in attendance. The coffin is still driven to the chapel in our hearse and taken into the chapel with full honours, just as in a traditional service. Everything else, from collection through to all of our professional support remain the same as for a traditional cremation. However, because we can reduce our professional fees for a direct cremation, and because the crematorium also charges less for this service, a direct cremation is around £1,150 less expensive than a traditional cremation.
  • Please note that we can arrange for an independent service to be held at a time and place of your choosing, including evenings and weekends, with a celebrant who will lead you through exactly the service you want. There is a standard fee of £205 for the celebrant but the total cost will still be considerably less than a traditional cremation.


Thank you to all at Penrose for helping both of us through what could have been a difficult time under very trying circumstances.

The caring way you dealt with my Mother, Flossie’s, funeral over the telephone, your kindness in fulfilling all our wishes and the respect and professionalism shown today made it a day we shall always treasure.

Thank you again,

Julie and Martin - February 2021

To all at Penrose

Thank you so much for making a terrible day more bearable, you all acted with the utmost respect and support from beginning to end.

Keep up the good work,

Nicola and Kevin - July 2020

Dear Brendon,

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the kindness you have shown over the past few weeks. From the very moment we met you we knew you were the perfect person to provide Dad with the care he truly deserved. Your empathy and support has meant a lot to us and we will never forget everything you have done for us. You are a credit to Penrose.

Margaret, Lauren and Jessica Hudson - July 2021

To all at Penrose Funerals,

Just to let you know how much your kindness means, a huge thanks, you done us all proud. I cannot speak highly enough of you all. On behalf of ‘Doris Davis’ (service 30th Jan 2020 @ 1.40pm) we thank you from our hearts.

Kind regards,

Tracey Williams, Keith and family - February 2020

Thank you so much for all you have done for us and for Justin. We appreciate how amazing and accommodating you have been. Thank you for giving Justin the dignity and respect he needs.

Sarah, Tracey and all of Justin’s family - December 2017

Dear Nathan,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the caring way you helped me plan my beautiful mum’s funeral. As it is a time of terrible loss and sadness I cannot think of anyone else who could have made it more bearable. Thank you so much and God Bless you.

Eleanor R - August 2017

Nathan, Jeremy and the Penrose Team,

​My wife, myself and our family would like to say a heartfelt thank you for the wonderful service we received from Penrose. We could not have asked for kinder or more helpful people and certainly everyone who attended David’s funeral gave high praise indeed to the whole event.​

I cannot recommend Penrose highly enough on the amazing service provided and wish you all the very best in the future.

Steve and Brenda Bester - December 2017

To all the staff at Penrose

I am writing on behalf of my son Steven and myself to say thank you for the dignified and respectful way you conducted the funeral of my late partner Derek.

It was greatly appreciated

Yours sincerely

Jean Pegrum - Sept 2021
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