Funeral Directors Category: South West England
Heart & Soul Funerals (formerly known as Green Fuse Funerals) was created by Jane Morrell in 1999, and she was joined by her husband Simon Smith in 2005. These days, much of the day to day business is looked after by another couple, Birte and Paul who joined Jane and Simon in recent years. Birte was trained by Jane and Simon in 2005, and went on to have a rich and diverse experience working for a large funeral director in the Midlands, before returning to Devon and joining Heart and Soul.
Jointly awarded Good Funeral Guide’s Funeral Director of the Year 2012, Jane and Simon are two people who campaign tirelessly for better funerals. In addition to being funeral directors, they also train celebrants and modern funeral directors under the Green Fuse name, and are authors of the book ‘We Need To Talk About the Funeral‘. Now in its third edition and also available as a downloadable PDF, it is a beautifully illustrated book which opens your eyes to everything you can do to make a funeral memorable and meaningful.
For both Jane and Simon, it was personal experience of bereavement that brought them to it. Jane started the business to work with rites of passage, but their community drew them more and more into funerals and they realised they needed to do the whole thing in order to give families the experience they wanted to give them. “And now it’s a way of life! We’ve never done anything so constantly challenging and rewarding.”
Simon holds the Foundation Degree in Funeral Services from Bath University, the highest qualification in the funeral sector and is an accredited Member of the Society of Bereavement Practitioners. Both Simon and Jane have trained in Psychotherapy and use skills in listening, non-judgement and understanding of bereavement.
Simon and Jane believe that a funeral can be whatever the family want it to be, something moving and memorable, something to cherish, and this is the basis of their work. They will deliver whatever type of funeral the family want, whether contemporary, highly individual or quite traditional, religious, secular or something between.
Although many people are looking for a more personal Funeral ceremony, without the services of a priest, Jane and Simon have seen that bereaved people still value and appreciate a funeral that includes a sense of sacred or spiritual ritual to mark the end of a life. They believe beauty and ritual are essential to create a meaningful experience for the family and ceremony for the person who has died.
They will encourage your creative input and your participation because they are huge believers in the healing powers of involvement. They are empathic and they are also intelligent, and they will work with you collaboratively to create a richly unique ceremony. What do they wear? “We have everything from black suits style to smart but more colourful outfits.We ask families what they want us to wear. The top hat comes out occasionally.” They hire any sort of hearse you like: “we’ve used a range of hearses including a lovely classic Mercedes, brand new Jag, horse and flatbed cart, motorcycle, VW Camper, a variety of MPVs, the family’s own vehicle, procession on foot. We’ll get whatever vehicle and coffin the family want.”
Heart & Soul Funerals offer an integrated service that puts the ceremony at the centre of all discussions. They differ from most other funeral directors in this important respect: they are the celebrants at 70% of the funerals they undertake. They have an interesting and inviting funeral centre on the High Street in Totnes and a beautiful and peaceful funeral home by the River Dart with a light and spacious room for ceremonies and wakes, where you can come to talk in the kitchen or around the wood burner; visit and hold vigils; help care for the body; and participate in discussions about funerals and bereavement.
They’ll never do more than one funeral in a day. They’ll offer you all the choices there are out there. They’ll encourage your participation wherever you want, with the care of the body, the preparation of the funeral and the ceremony itself. They’ll give you a copy of their book and lend you a great compendium of words and poetry. They are absolutely transparent about price. They charge their fees, and do not mark up any of the products and services they buy in, coffins, cars, flowers etc. “We offer information, approachability and clear information on pricing and ownership on an unprecedented level.”
- Prices here.
- Your call will be answered by Jane, Simon, Birte or Paul.
- You will be looked after by the same person throughout wherever possible.
- Yes to a home visit – that’s what they normally do.
- Very happy indeed to work with home funeralists and give telephone advice (they went to California to research this – well someone had to!).
- Yes to same sex person to lay out and dress your dead person.
- No embalming unless absolutely necessary or chosen.
- Prices can be seen here. Superb value for the level of personal service and support they offer.
- Direct cremation £1,750 (plus doctor’s fee if applicable) inclusive of third-party expenses, terms and conditions here: They also offer direct burial.
- Their simplest funeral costs £2,495 all-in – terms and conditions here.
- Good variety of celebrants on their books.
- Superb, informative website.
Jane and Simon have been among the pioneers of change in the funeral sector, quietly and determinedly setting the standard for personal service for decades, and sharing their skills and knowledge through their training for funeral directors and funeral celebrants. At the last count, around forty or fifty funeral businesses have been established by people who have been trained by the couple, providing thousands of families around the country with highly skilled creative support for their funerals.
Dedicated to transparency and fairness, and to enabling clients to have beautiful, meaningful funerals, Heart & Soul Funerals continues to lead the way in how to do funerals well.
Any decisions you take on engaging the services of a funeral director should be based on your views and research. You should not rely solely upon the views and opinions offered by us.