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The burial service: what to expect

This page gives you an overview of a typical burial service at Haycombe, with the aim of reducing any worries you may have about what to expect before, during and following the service.

Before the service

You can choose to employ a funeral director to make the arrangements for how you would like to celebrate the life of your loved one. They can contact us with your choices about where you would like the service to be held, and arrange for any music or readings you would like. With a burial, you can choose to hold a funeral service elsewhere, and just invite a smaller number of people to the interment itself (also called the committal), or you can have both the funeral service and the committal here at Haycombe. The details below give you an idea of what we can offer for both services.

Here at Haycombe, we have a Top Chapel, immediately inside the cemetery gates, which you can use for the funeral service. This offers the following facilities:

  • Wheelchair access
  • Obitus media system that can provide the music of your choice, visual tributes, and live and recorded webcasting
  • Hearing loop system
  • Standard and large print service books
  • Organ (but you or your funeral director will need to organise the services of an organist)

We allow half an hour for a typical funeral service, but you can of course book the chapel for as long as you need to. Please see our page on fees for services at Haycombe Cemetery, for full details of the options available

To organise the burial, we will need two forms, as follows.

  • The application form for burial (if the registered owner is deceased and to be interred, you can complete this if you are the next of kin, or an executor)
  • The disposal form (or Coroner's form 6), which you will get from the Registrar, when you register the death

If you prefer, you can pass these to your funeral director to give to us. 

At the service

Wherever the funeral takes place, the hearse will be met by a member of the cemeteries staff, who will be there throughout the service to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

In preparation, the grave will be dug and 'dressed' before the service. This means placing matting over any earth that is removed to make space, and placing wood around the graveside for pall-bearers to stand on. We will ensure that the site and nearby memorials are all safety checked, and funeral staff will show you where you can stand for the graveside service.

You will have complete control over the content of the graveside service, including who speaks, and whether mourners wish to place anything on the coffin when they say their goodbyes.

After the service

Following the service, our groundsmen will backfill the grave as soon as you are ready to leave, and they will place all floral tributes on the length of the grave, where you can come and visit or add to them in the coming days.

When the earth is replaced, there will initially be a mound, to allow for sinkage as the ground settles back around the coffin. However, it is common for the level of new graves to sink well below the surrounding ground in the weeks and months directly following the funeral. In general, we allow six months for this shrinkage to stabilise, and will then 'top up' the ground level as necessary. If you are worried in this time that the ground level is sinking too far, or is becoming a safety hazard, please report this to the main office, who will alert cemeteries staff.

For more information about floral tributes and how we maintain graves within the cemetery, please see our page on managing your burial plot