Will a high profile death change the current C-19 funeral rules?


Last night a good friend of mine, Barry Osborne sadly experienced the death of his lovely wife Doreen. Neither of them are young (Barry is in his mid 70’s) and his wife has been ill for several years. However they are both very well known in the various circles in which they have worked and taken part for many years and Barry still has a very high profile throughout the UK and well beyond due to his work within various networks for the rural and safeguarding focus. Doreen’s funeral will probably be relatively easy to organise under the current rules but no doubt very hard for many people who know one or both of them to respond to it. Another death that was announced last night was that of Honor Blackman, she has been living in Sussex, not far from where Barry and Doreen used to live although they probably have no connections. Inevitably the life and death celebration of Honor Blackman will be recognised by many more people than the people who will want to say goodbye to Doreen but most of the thousands of people who will want to say goodbye to Honor will never have met her and so her funeral will be on a very different scale to Doreen’s.

Clearly many people who have suffered from Coronavirus over the last few weeks have died in Hospitals and they have all been obliged to have funerals which involve no one outside the immediate family. Whilst it seems very unlikely that Boris Johnson will not return to Downing Street, nevertheless one of the recent Telegraph articles has pointed out that 51% of people who go into ICU with C-19 have so far died and 46% of the people in his age group have died. If the worst happened to Boris Johnson, the image above which comes from the Funeral of Margaret Thatcher will clearly not be possible due to the current rules, but surely limiting the Funeral to one or two people is inconceivable. Another person who has been ill recently due to C-19 is the Prince of Wales and he is in his 70’s so much higher risk that Boris. If the worst thing happened to him what sort of funeral would occur then?

Perhaps in the current setting the difference between one or two people and a small group or even a dozen or so would not really change matters publicly for the Prime Minister, Prince Charles or Honor Blackman. However for the people who know someone very well to be denied access to the funeral seems very sad. Is it possible for some form of improvement to the current situation, given the tragic deaths of the 5,373 people who have so far died of C-19 along with the many others whose deaths have occurred simply because of their age and other matters!

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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