Music to die for

PUBLISHED: 11:24 04 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

Jessica Kerr and Daniel Shaw, of Cecil Newling’s, with a traditional hymn book and a Celine Dion CD - 1858DW5

Jessica Kerr and Daniel Shaw, of Cecil Newling’s, with a traditional hymn book and a Celine Dion CD - 1858DW5

WHEN it comes to topping charts, the likes of Robbie Williams and Celine Dion are dead certs. A survey, carried out by more than 30 Lodge Brothers-owned funeral companies, including Cecil Newling, of Market Hill, Royston, showed pop music was increasingly

WHEN it comes to topping charts, the likes of Robbie Williams and Celine Dion are dead certs.

A survey, carried out by more than 30 Lodge Brothers-owned funeral companies, including Cecil Newling, of Market Hill, Royston, showed pop music was increasingly popular at services.

Ron Barnett, of Lodge Brothers, said: "The aim of the survey was to identify the change in tastes and trends in funerals.

"It took about three months to complete and more than 500 people took part.

"It seems that although traditional funeral hymns are still popular, there has been a real increase in personal songs.

"Cecil Newling's revealed that special family requests for the deceased favourite song was the most popular tribute."

The top modern artists were Robbie Williams, Rod Stewart, James Blunt and Celine Dion, while the top hymn choices were The Lord's My Shepherd, All Things Bright and Beautiful and Abide With Me.

Mr Barnett said: "It's good that traditional hymns are still being used, but I also believe that people should have a choice in what is played at their funerals.

"I think that it's a nice touch. The songs played can tell us a lot about the person, and it gives us an insight into what they were like."

He said: "Unfortunately, religion has started to decline and people are just not going to church and are not familiar with old hymns. What this means is that we have to be open to requests and be more adaptable to the changing requirements."

Beverley Lodge, owner and director of Cecil Newling's, said: "In many cases, mainly in urban rather than rural areas, religion plays a less significant role than it did in the past.

"We are starting to find that fewer hymns are asked for and favourite CDs now play a bigger part in planning a funeral service, especially with the increase in humanist and civil ceremonies."

The survey revealed the wide choices of favourite songs and music reflect peoples varied interests and hobbies, and cover everything from ballet, opera, classical, jazz right through to military bands.

Area manager of Cecil Newling's, Daniel Shaw, said: "I think you have to move with the times and that means the use of people's favourite songs.

"We get regular requests for modern artists and personal music. We've had Celine Dion to Chas and Dave's Snooker Loopy.

"It is up to the family and, depending on the song, it can sometimes even lift the mood of the service."

Surprise entrants included Morecambe and Wise's Bring Me Sunshine, Norman Greenbaum's Spirit in the Sky, Monty Python's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life and the EastEnders and Coronation Street theme tunes.

Cecil Newling's funeral arranger, Jessica Kerr, said: "I believe that the survey has revealed some out-of-the-ordinary requests but Royston, on the whole, is very conventional.

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