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Planning a Funeral in Oxfordshire.

What choices do I have to hold a Funeral in Oxfordshire and how do I make the end-of-life service special and personal?


I am often asked what choices a family has when they are planning a funeral for their loved one in Oxfordshire. So here are some of the areas I cover in my answer.


Where can I hold a funeral in Oxfordshire?

There are many choices of where you can hold a funeral service in Oxfordshire. You can follow the traditional route for either a burial, church, or cremation. Alternatively, you can hold the service in a place of your choosing and then follow this with a burial or cremation.


Let’s look at burials first:

Local burial plots – most local towns will have burial plots available somewhere on the outskirts of town you can call the council office direct or go through your Funeral Director and they will give you details of the cost and availability of plots.


Local Natural Burial grounds – as a local independent Celebrant, I am being asked more and more to officiate the funeral service at a Natural Burial Ground. Especially if your loved one had a special connection to nature or wanted to have an eco-friendlier funeral. The four that I have worked with in the local area are

Westmill Woodland Burial Ground on the outskirts of Swindon, Henley Woodland Burial Ground, Sheepdrove Woodland Natural Burial Ground, and North Oxfordshire Memorial Park in Tackley.


You can hold the full service by the burial plot, or you have the choice after a more traditional funeral service, to lay your loved one to rest in a natural site surrounded by nature and in a very peaceful setting.


The setting for the end-of-life celebration is much less formal and gentle than the traditional crematorium or Church service. At a recent burial at Henley Woodland Burial Ground, I was struck with both the tranquillity and beauty of a simple meadow and woodland. A perfect place to visit and reflect on your loved ones’ life and memories. From my experience of officiating at each venue, the custodians at each burial site are all helpful and knowledgeable guiding you to the right decision for you.


If a Cremation is your preferred choice:

There are 3 choices locally in Oxfordshire, each offering different size chapels and lengths of services. Do check how long you want your service to run for as some only offer a 30-minute slot, while others are more generous with 45mins slots. For longer services, some offer a double slot.

South Oxfordshire Crematorium and Memorial Park, based in Garford, where Michelle and her team take great pride in supporting the families who use this park through the grieving process. The parkland looks over uninterrupted views of the downs and has a beautiful water feature.


The Oxfordshire Crematorium, Bayswater Rd, Headington has 2 sizes of chapels and is situated just on the outskirts of Headington.


In the north of the county, we have North Oxfordshire Crematorium & Memorial Park, Tackley where they have the capacity for over 280 guests (max 400) and they have additional space that can be live-streamed to The Churchill Pavilion “which also provides a warm and comfortable space for a family gathering after the formal burial or cremation service has concluded, and light refreshments can be provided by arrangement.


Your home garden, or a special place of memory for your loved one!


There is no legal requirement to have your end-of-life celebration in a specific building, if you prefer it can take place in your garden, or a place that has significance to you or your loved one, then your funeral director can arrange to have the coffin taken to the crematorium or burial site of choice for a special family only goodbye.


Once you have decided where to have the service, the next question is how can I make the service personal and special for my loved one?


A funeral and end-of-life service led by your local Celebrant can create a ceremony that can give your loved one a beautiful, dignified, and respectful service.

Your Celebrant will meet with you, face to face, spending time before the service and giving you ample time to share stories about your loved one. This then enables them to write a service from scratch that reflects your loved one’s wishes.


  • They can include meaningful readings that reflect your loved one’s values, hobbies, interests, or sense of humour.

  • You can display up to 25 photos during the service, I see some amazing photos, which always really personalises the service.

  • Music is so emotive, and you can have music that sparks memories of your loved one or a favourite tune with the family, sing hymns, or a family member can play or sing live in the service.

  • The service can be webcast, so family & friends living overseas, or unable to travel can join you in the service.

  • You can be involved in the service, read a poem, or share a story, a grandchild could share a poem or read from a storybook that their grandparent may have read to them.

  • One family recently popped a copy of the daily newspaper and a bag of Werther’s original sweets on the coffin as they were their grandfather’s favourites and wanted him to have some with him, as their last gesture of love.

  • You can assist the pallbearers bringing your loved one into the chapel, so that their family, is the very last, to support and carry them to their final resting place.

  • You can light a candle lit to remember past family members and mention them in the service.

  • You can encourage the younger family members to visit the place where the funeral will take place before the service, this promotes acceptance and they will then be familiar with the area, which can help on the day of the funeral when emotions run high.


So, there are many ways you can make the end-of-life celebration for your loved one unique, and respectful and give you and other mourners the space and peace to say your farewells. I hope this has been helpful, do feel free to ask any further questions.



More information contact me fiona@FionaMacCelebrant.co.uk or call 07768 987040 or look browse my funerals page https://www.fionamaccelebrant.co.uk/end-of-life-ceremonies


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