One of the borough’s biggest and longest-established firms of undertakers has put out an appeal for people to show a bit of old-fashioned respect.
Rowland Brothers, who have six branches of their funeral directors’ business around the borough, made their plea to the public asking them to demonstrate a mode of conduct which was commonplace in working-class neighbourhoods at least until the end of the last century.
Since the pandemic lockdown began, instead of organising a funeral service as usual, some undertakers have been forced to go straight to crematoriums, with mourners at the service restricted to five or 10, depending on the cemetery.
There were reports that at one local cemetery, 80 mourners turned up for a funeral earlier this month, though expressly told not to. That cemetery now locks the gates and the undertakers have to phone when they arrive and an official counts the number attending to meet the strict social isolation rules.
This is, then, clearly a very difficult time for all affected, whether their family member has suffered from covid-19 or other causes.
The head of the firm, Tony Rowland, in making the appeal, is seeking to help the bereaved.
“Could we ask all people of the Croydon communities for some help at this very difficult time,” the Rowland Brothers announcement said.
“If you see a hearse, could you stop, stand for a moment as it passes, perhaps take off your cap, and bow your head?
“In these times where funerals are restricted, our chance to support people during bereavement is limited. So, we wondered if we could revive an old tradition that would show people that their loss is noticed and shared by us all?
“It would mean the world to families in a time of sadness.”
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Well said. At a time like this we certainly need even more self-discipline, together with respect and compassion for the suffering and loss people are going through.