Ditch the hearse, bring the kids, have a picnic: tips for a better funeral

Rupert Callender didn’t know what to do with his life until he realised he could help people mark the deaths of their loved ones. Just don’t mention pallbearers and the other traditional trappings

Sharpham Meadow doesn’t look much like a cemetery. There are no high walls, wrought iron gates or yew trees. You won’t find mausoleums or elaborate headstones. There are no signs of gothic horror. There are plenty of flowers but not the sort that come wrapped in cellophane – these ones are wild and alive. The whole place is wild and alive, with buzzing bees and birdsong.

And yet it is a cemetery or, as this land is unconsecrated, more correctly a burial ground. Spaced out evenly in rows are dozens of graves, simple mounds with a flat stone featuring just a name and dates. The view – over a Devon valley, the River Dart meandering towards its own end – is breathtaking. I wouldn’t mind ending up here.

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