I spent the day doing radio interviews for Remember a Charity, with the UK’s no 1 Funeral Director, Barry Albin Dyer, best known for ITV’s Don’t drop the coffin and the man who has planned many high-profile funerals including Jade Goody.
According to our research, nearly half the population would like to be buried in an environmentally friendly coffin, 22% would like to donate their bodies to science and a wish from 6% who would who would like their friends and family to come to their funeral dressed as comic book heroes. Most want their funeral to be happy and the number one song to be played is ‘Always look on the bright side of life’. It’s an odd world. These insights however, helped us create some old-fashioned talkabilty around peoples last wishes – and most importantly getting people to consider leaving a gift in their will. And of all the people who should know about unusual last wishes, Barry’s the man.
Headphones on, tea at our sides, brief in front, we swept through the nation presenter by presenter, region by region, station by station. Story and fact, anecdote and plea, laughter and tears. When we discussed ashes being kept in a breast implant, one presenter thought that was touching and we all convulsed in laughter. When one warned us he had just buried his parents we took the cue and respected the moment. By the end of the day we had reached 1.5 million people and using that fine mix of laughter and tears we helped make people think and talk and plan and make possible in life what’s certainly not possible in death.
As Barry said its all about life – the midwife smoothing the journey at the beginning and people like Barry smoothing the journey at the end. What’s for sure is what we do in between is up to us – and how we make more legacies happen is down to talking about it with the right mix of laughter and tears. After all, as Barry says ‘they both come from the same place’