From fights to another death – mourners reveal most bizarre things witnessed at funeral

Heightened emotions can be a recipe for disaster and lead to some shocking episodes – even at funerals

A final send off is a time for celebration of life, a time to grieve and remember a loved one.

But shockingly, things can go wrong and even result in a graveside controversy.

A new survey has uncovered what some of these unfortunate incidents are most likely to be.

According to the research, around one in five Brits have witnessed drunkenness at a funeral, whilst family rows are unfortunately the most common sight.

Howard Hodgson, founder and chief executive of Affordable Funerals said: “The vast majority of families behave with dignity at a funeral.

“However, on occasion there can be tension, verbal abuse or even physical violence.

“This usually happens when either two warring branches of a family are forced together because of a death or when someone excluded decides to attend anyway.

“The funeral of a loved one means that emotions are running high and therefore the emotion of grief can translate into anger and irrational violence very quickly.

“Drunkenness and physical fights are very unpleasant in normal life – and totally inappropriate when someone is being laid to rest.

“While these terrible scenarios are not something our staff are rarely confronted with, they do occur occasionally.”

The study discovered that 20 per cent of those quizzed had seen a family argument during funeral proceedings and 19 per cent had been in the presence of drunkenness.

Meanwhile, some 10 per cent had witnessed a physical fight and 9 per cent had seen drug taking and / or another death.

The survey, which was carried out by OnePoll, also found mourners in London and the North East were most likely to have seen a family argument, drunkenness and fisticuffs.

London once again topped the charts for another death, with a whopping 27 per cent saying that they had witnessed a further tragedy during a funeral, with Northern Ireland second at 18 per cent.

Nationally speaking, women (21 per cent) were more likely to have experienced drunkenness than men (18 per cent). It is the 18-24 year olds who have seen the highest number of unfortunate incidents – coming up top in all but one category.

Mr Hodgson, who is a fourth-generation funeral director, continued: “The funeral business is changing, with more and more people opting for either direct cremation, where there is no service to attend or celebration of life ceremonies, which focuses more on the life of the deceased over the more traditional Victorian funerals featuring hearses, limousines, pall-bearers and a religious service.

“Hopefully these changes, where the life of the deceased is remembered and celebrated with bespoke arrangements such as picture montages and modern music, will help mourners focus on why they are attending the service – because they can relate to it.”