Personalised coffins offered to reflect lives of loved ones

A firm of undertakers is causing a stir with its unique approach to giving death a personal touch.

Thursday, 29th December 2016, 12:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:12 pm
Picture; Jon Savage

The company – called Go As You Please – promises to make coffins in any style the “customer” wants, including Nessie, an Irn Bru can or a Buckfast bottle.

Set in the office previously occupied by former Edinburgh Eastern MSP and justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, the Newcastle-based firm said they hoped to change people’s perceptions about funerals.

The Willowbrae Road undertaker has suffered some criticism from locals accusing it of “bad taste”, but has insisted it means no disrespect.

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The Edinburgh branch is the company’s first in Scotland.

Boss Jason Ridley said: “When families come to see us they are in a distraught state. Funerals can be a celebration of life, that’s why when they look at the coffins, they can see it’s a celebration of their loved one’s life and who they were.

“We offer traditional but also personal designed coffins so if a family wants to choose a unique style they can.

“We’ve made one for the family of a deceased man who loved fishing which featured rods and salmon and on another occasion, a snooker table one. We’ve made a wine bottle one for someone who loved wine as a hobby. The coffin looked like a crate with the bottle inside it. We can make pretty much any coffin with photos and logos to give personal touches.”

He added: “Who knows what the future holds, there could be a Nessie one. The world’s your oyster when it comes to what we would do.”

Go As You Please, founded 15 years ago, typically charges £300-£400 for its coffins.

One message posted on the firm’s Facebook page read: “This funeral parlour has just opened in Edinburgh and I have to say their window display is dreadful. It is full of coffins. Very poor taste.”

But Jason said: “A lot of storefronts look dark and dingy but we want to look light and welcoming.

“We’ve had a little bit of negativity from people coming past because we are not what they’re used to. I knew there would be though. We’ve had a couple of people come in and say it doesn’t look good or that it’s slightly disrespectful.

“Our whole ethos is to be open and honest. People’s perceptions are changing.”