Chesterfield funeral director on heartbreaking conversations with families amid pandemic

A Chesterfield funeral director has spoken about the ‘heartbreak’ of families who could not give loved ones the send off they had hoped for during the pandemic.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 11:28 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 1:40 pm

Mark Rothman, of Spire Funeral Services, says telling families they can only have a certain number of people at funerals has been the most difficult part of a challenging year for the industry.

Currently up to 30 mourners can attend a funeral, but earlier in the pandemic this number was only 15.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Chesterfield funeral director Mark Rothman, of Spire Funeral Services, has spoken about the challenges of the pandemic.

Mark says this left families facing the most ‘agonising of choices’.

"There were some very difficult conversations and it was so upsetting for people to be choosing one member of a family above another,” he said.

"There were people who had lost a loved one, and then had to tell members of the family ‘I’m sorry but you can’t attend their funeral’.

"Grieving families had to select which members of their family could attend.”

Mark said for many families it was an ‘impossible choice’, and they opted for a cremation without service.

"There were far more of these than normal,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking that people could not give loved ones the send off they had planned for.”

Mark is proud that Spire Funeral Services, on Derby Road, continued to allow mourning families to attend the company’s chapel of rest throughout the pandemic.

"Unlike some other funeral directors we felt it was important for families to be allowed in to dress the deceased in their own clothes and spend time with them,” he said.

The company has grown over the course of the last year, but Mark says it is unclear whether this is due to a rise in deaths caused by coronavirus or natural growth of the company.

Before Covid, Spire Funeral Services already planned to open another business in Staveley.

"This was in the pipeline before we new about the pandemic and it was difficult to continue with the project becaue of the impact of lockdowns pn building work,” he said.

"But we are pleased to be open and serving the people of Staveley.

“It is also very pleasing to see the positive feedback we have had from people via our Facebook page. After such a difficult 12 months it is good to know we have supported so many people when they needed us.”

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times Editor

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper.