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Family Owned Crematoria Company Celebrates After Winning Prestigious National Award

Crematoria operator Memoria are today celebrating after their South Oxfordshire Crematorium & Memorial Park was named as ‘Best Crematorium in the UK’ at the Good Funeral Awards. It was a great day for Memoria who also won an award in the ‘Best Low Cost Funeral Provider’ category.

The Awards which are organised by The Good Funeral Guide are widely renowned as ‘The Oscars of the Funeral Industry’ with this year’s awards taking place at an impressive ceremony at Porchester Hall in London and attracting the most talented individuals and companies in the industry. All of those present had been nominated for their outstanding services to bereaved families.

Memoria’s reputation as the leading provider of excellence in facilities and service was underlined after being shortlisted in this year’s awards 11 times and across 4 separate categories, more than double that of any other company nominated.

Memoria CEO Howard Hodgson said, “We are absolutely delighted to win the award for “Best Crematorium in the UK” along with a second award in the “Best Low Cost Funeral Provider” category. It is our mission to provide excellent facilities to bereaved families and with 282 crematoria in the UK, it is fantastically rewarding to see our Crematoria recognised as the very best by not just taking top spot but also dominating the category with 7 of the 13 shortlisted finalists coming from our sites”.

The award in the “Low Cost Funeral Provider” category came as a very topical one just a week after the release of the annual Royal London Funeral Cost Index Report revealed that after a “False Dawn” drop in the average funeral cost in 2016, prices have now risen sharply again.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Paul Reed – Managing Executive of Memoria’s Low Cost Funeral Ltd said “The findings in the Royal London Report of an over the rate of inflation (3%) increase in the average cost of funerals will come as a bitter pill to swallow for families who are struggling to meet the already significant financial requirements of a funeral. Memoria have shown here today that the very best standards of service and facility can be achieved without busting the bank and there is a real alternative for those families who want a 5-star service at a very affordable price”.

Good Funeral Guide Awards 2017
Memoria receiving the “Best Crematorium in the UK” award at the Good Funeral Guide Awards 2017

Delight as our Crematorium receives nomination for National Award in “The Oscars of the Funeral Trade”

Good Funeral Guide - 2017 Award NomineeWaveney Memorial Park & Crematorium are delighted to announce that after our recent nomination for a National Award as the ‘Best Crematorium in the UK’ we have just had news to inform us we have been shortlisted as a finalist into the elite few in this category. The Awards are held annually by the Good Funeral Guide and are recognised as the flagship awards ceremony in our industry. We are naturally very excited and truly humbled to be receiving a nomination for the awards which are largely made by members of the public.

These awards are seen by many as the ‘Oscars of the Funeral Trade’ and this year the awards will be held at a glittering lunchtime ceremony in central London on 7th September.

The Good Funeral Guide said: Since 2012 we’ve been recognising the great work of the country’s best gravediggers, embalmers and funeral directors. The awards ceremony is a bridge between the general public and the much-misunderstood funeral industry. We’ve championed the entrepreneurs, pioneers and progressives. Our winners have gone on to make media appearances and dispel some of the myths around what happens when we die. We listen to the general public and get their views on the standard of customer service. We collate their views, offer them to the judges for verification, and then draw up a list of nominees. Winning a Good Funeral Award is a sign that the public can come to you and enjoy the high-quality service they deserve”.

The Award nomination comes as one of many received in multiple categories by Memoria and demonstrates the recognition of our ethos of providing exceptional standards of service and facility to the bereaved families.

Memoria CEO Howard Hodgson said: “We are delighted to receive this nomination in one of the most prestigious awards within the industry. At Memoria, we always judge our success by the levels of our client’s satisfaction rather than by our levels of profit because we firmly believe the first leads to the second. Therefore, to be nominated as the ‘Best Crematorium in the UK’ is testament not only to the hard work of our dedicated staff but also to the opinion of our clients who really appreciate the professional people we have working for us and recognise that our teams strive to offer exceptional service to bereaved families at the time they need it most”.

Official Opening 17 May 2016

Thank you to all that attended the Waveney Memorial Park and Crematorium Official Opening, which was a lovely day and very well supported. I would also like to say a big thank you to The Right Reverend Dr Mike Harrison Bishop of Dunwich for the consecration of the chapel and grounds, and Father Martin Gowman (RC), Rev. John Sigsworth (Methodist) and Mr John Wilkinson (Humanist) for being part of the multi faith service.

Crematorium boss hits back at claims funeral costs are forcing poorer families into debt

Howard HodgsonA flamboyant crematoria boss has hit back at government attacks over the cost of funerals pushing poorer families into worry inducing debt.

By JAMES MURRAY, The Sunday Express

Howard Hodgson rejected claims that funerals were too expensive.

An all party work and pensions select committee report found that poorer families were having to borrow from payday lenders to cover funeral costs, even with state picking up £700 of bills.

The damning report produced by Frank Field prompted the government to call for a review of all crematoria provision and facilities in England and Wales, which ends next month.

However, Howard Hodgson, who runs the Memoria crematoria company, says there is no need for intervention by the government or the Competition and Markets Authority.

Mr Hodgson said: “Mr Field has not done his homework because we already offer a low cost unattended cremation service for £1,100.”

“We also offer a low cost attended cremation for £1,600 or £2,000 depending on the time slot during the day. We have recognised that there that is a demand for this new service and we are reacting to it.”

“Over three days last week we had bookings for 120 cremations and 21 low cost cremations, which is about 17 per cent of the total.”

The select committee found that poorer families were forced to borrow money for funeral costs.

“We do not believe low cost direct cremations, where you don’t have the hearses and limousines, will replace traditional funerals but we do have significant evidence that it is increasing its market share at an impressive rate, signifying a distinct cultural change in the way people are approaching funerals.”

“Therefore we believe that there is not only a moral need to supply this legitimate demand, but that such provision can also reduce the cost of a funeral by around 70 per cent and that this must be good news for both the well off and the public purse.”

“Just to ignore this trend is not in the interest of either the funeral industry or the Government.”

The funeral director said that only 17 per cent of their total funerals booked were low cost, “Indeed, no costly Government intervention is necessary because the market has found a solution to the problems as it usually does in a free enterprise economy.”

“We are seeing a ground breaking change as the baby boomers end their days. This generation changed the fashion of life and now it is changing the fashion of death.”

He cited the death of David Bowie in New York last January, where there was no public funeral service and he was quickly cremated, as a sign of the times.

The flamboyant Hodgson was written two books about his experiences in the funeral business.

He added: “We believe that there is not only a moral need to supply this legitimate demand, but that such provision can also reduce the cost of a funeral by around 70 per cent and this must be good news for both the less well off and the public purse.”

Mr Hodgson has more than 50 years experience in funeral care and comes from a long line of funeral providers.

A successful author, he wrote a best selling biography of Prince Charles and has written two works of fiction based on his experiences in the funeral business.


Published in the Sunday Express, 24 April 2016.

Press release: Low Cost Cremation

Leading Bereavement Expert Says MPs’ Report On The State of Funeral Provision Is Inaccurate As British Funeral Culture Is Changing Rapidly

Howard Hodgson highlights increasing use of Low Cost Direct Cremation to cut funeral costs.

In the wake of the recent release of the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Select Committee’s damning report into the state of financially supportable funeral provision in England and Wales, a leading UK funeral expert believes the solutions to the problems already exist.

Howard Hodgson, a 5th generation funeral director with 50 years experience in the funeral industry, claims there is already a solution to the high cost of dying question without having to increase demands on the public purse or the need for Government intervention.

The Select Committee findings criticised the “opaque and outdated” state support arrangements for those unable to afford the cost of a funeral, as well as the rigid definitions around whom the Government deems to have been “close” to the deceased. Hodgson agrees, pointing out that the provisions have not been reviewed for 13 years. However, he goes on to criticise the report’s out of date assessment of the market and says that there is no need for the intervention of the competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority.

Hodgson says the report fails to recognise that the market has changed dramatically to meet increased demand for low cost direct cremation driven by financial consideration, diminished religious commitment and less desire to incur all the expense that a traditional funeral service involves. He cites the recent low cost direct cremation of David Bowie as an example that proves that this new direction is created as much by a change in funeral fashion as it is by financial necessity.

His company Memoria Ltd, which has a national network of crematoria covering England and Wales, has received so many enquiries about low cost direct cremation that it launched a number of low cost direct cremation options and reports that demand is brisk and increasing.

  • A low cost direct unattended cremation service costs a total of £1,100.00
  • A low cost direct unattended cremation is usually followed by an attended memorial service.
  • A low cost direct attended cremation service costs in total either £1,600.00 or £2,000.00 depending on the hour time slot selected during the day.
  • Full details of these services are available at www.memoria.org.uk
  • All three options are considerably less than the £3,000.00 to £6,000.00 cost of a traditional funeral service, which varies by the service provision selected or the area of the country where the funeral is taking place.

Reacting to the Select Committee’s report, Howard Hodgson, CEO of Memoria, said;

At Memoria it has become evident to us that there is an increasing desire by a growing section of the general public for a low cost direct cremation service. We do not believe that this will totally replace the traditional funeral but we do have significant evidence that it is increasing its market share at an impressive rate, signifying a distinct cultural change in the way people are approaching funerals.

Therefore, we believe that there is not only a moral need to supply this legitimate demand, but that such provision can also reduce the cost of a funeral by around 70% and that this must be good news for both the less well off and the public purse.

Just to ignore this trend is not in the interest of either the funeral industry or the Government. Indeed, no costly Government intervention is necessary because the market has found a solution to the problem as it usually does in a free enterprise economy.

We are now seeing a groundbreaking change as the baby boomers start to end their days. This generation changed the fashion of life and now it is changing the fashion of death. This is good news for families who want to select low cost direct cremation and yet does not impact at all on those who don’t.” 

Notes to editors

  • Howard Hodgson has more than 50 years experience in funeral care.
  • Mr Hodgson comes from a long family line of funeral providers, first becoming an apprentice funeral director in 1968.
  • An industry legend, Mr Hodgson was named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 1987 for his role in funeral care and the Stock Market Flotation of his company, and went on to oversee the subsequent merger with Kenyons in 1989 which resulted in then the largest funeral group in the UK. Howard sold his interests in 1991, having taken the company from one branch to 546.
  • A successful author and broadcaster, Howard Hodgson has produced a number of books including two works of fiction based on his experience in the funeral business, an autobiography entitled How To Become Dead Rich, and a bestselling biography of Prince Charles.
  • He founded Memoria (memoria.org.uk) in 2003.
  • Memoria offers cremation services across a range of services including a specialised low-cost range memoria.org.uk/services-and-facilities/low-cost-cremations/