Things to Consider When Comparing a Conventional or Eco-Funeral

Green Wooded Cemetery

When it is time to consider the arrangements for your chosen funeral or burial method, you now have a whole host of options to choose from. This could compare a wide range of conventional funeral and memorial options available, or alternatively you could choose from a variety of the growing trend of Eco-funeral options which are becoming available throughout the UK.

If you are thinking of a conventional funeral with regular cemetery burial, you will have to think about where you would like your final resting place. For this, you will need to check if there is available space in your chosen cemetery. You can check out this situation by making contact with the local church or the cemetery management. When checking this, you will also be able to consider options for funeral services in addition to which type of coffin or container you would like to be buried or cremated in. Continue reading

Discover the next generation of headstones: QR codes

Traditional memorials are going digital with the addition of interactive headstones, helping to make remembering a loved one a different yet equally touching experience.

UK gravestones could soon typically have Quick Response (QR) codes etched on to headstones and, once scanned by a smartphone, the code can lead to information about the loved one on a webpage.

The smartphone user can see a profile of the person including pictures, videos, a biography, and tributes left in memory of the deceased. Once given access to the website, users can also add their own tributes as well. People who have already used the QR code system on the memorials of their loved ones have rated it highly, and one woman even said that it helped make a hard grieving process a bit easier as it was something her husband would have been very excited by.

As well as on headstones, the QR codes can be put on memorials and tribute bench plaques, making them a really wonderful way to keep the memories of loved ones alive in the eyes of the public.

The etched QR codes will benefit from regular memorial care in order for them to continually work, but this can easily be integrated into the regular cleaning that all granite and marble headstones should undergo a couple of times a year.

Image credit: Paul Wilkinson (

How best to photograph a gravestone










Taking care of any family gravestones which have been left in your care is clearly an extremely important duty. We at AK Lander know that your relationship with the deceased does not end once a burial has taken place, and many people like to take fitting photographs of their loved ones’ memorials, in order to make sure they have another form of lasting tribute at hand. This is especially true if those in question live far away and are not able visit the graves they are responsible for looking after as often as they would like.

Perhaps the most vital thing you can remember when planning how best to capture a record of a gravestone through photographs is to demonstrate patience. Weather must be fine and light conditions appropriate in order for the perfect shot to be taken. If you do not wait for an opportune moment and instead compromise when it comes to either of these factors, your pictures will suffer accordingly. One of the most effective ways of improving the light in any memorial photo, incidentally, is to place a mirror – ideally a full-length, plastic one that is longer than the grave – close to the headstone in a way that reflects sun onto the carving.

It is also a good idea to take a number of pictures highlighting the grave from different aspects and angles. An image taking in the entire cemetery, for example, as well as ones which focus solely on your loved ones’ memorial, with another showing it centred around two or three others in the immediate vicinity, will add an important sense of context.

For more tips on memorial care and to purchase a high quality gravestone, pay a visit to AK Lander’s website or give us a call today. The priority for our experienced, expert team of professionals is to provide advice, assistance and support to our clients; going through us will guarantee that your headstone is durable, and that the service you receive is unparalleled in terms of dedication and sensitivity.

Image credit: Christopher Goodband (

What Will You Have Added to Your Memorial?

There are loads of different options when it comes to adorning your headstone or gravestone with some things to really personalise it. You might expect that carving ornamentation onto a memorial is more common, but in plenty of cases, such as with a granite memorial for instance, you may well find that adornment rather than carving gives you a much greater range of options.

The problems with carving mainly sprout from the fact that granite and other hard stones can be very difficult and time consuming to carve. This can place very real limitations on the amount of work that can be done to a headstone within a certain budget. Even if money were no option, it’s simply much more difficult, close to impossible in some cases, to get the same level of detail on carvings in granite than it is in a softer stone, such as marble.

However, the adornments that you can get more than make up for the loss of carving options that granite offers, and these adornments take much more readily to granite than to softer stones as it will hold them much more easily; they are much less likely to loosen in granite headstones than they are in marble headstones.

And the range of adornments is huge! Even the colours vary massively. You can have something as simple as lettering, right up to images of doves, angels or something that the departed enjoyed immensely in life. You can even have full images cast and attached.

Granite – The Noble Stone

I feel that the first thing which should be addressed in this blog post is that I am not referring to granite as noble in the scientific sense. Granite is, of course, durable, but it does not approach a level of low-reactivity that would qualify it for the term. As a metaphor for its longevity, however, it is useful. The main definition of granite as noble here is to describe the dignity and solemnity that a granite memorial or granite headstones bring to a cemetery.

Although granite is now available in a variety of colours, colours which can be emphasised through careful smoothing and polishing, they still tend to have a darker tone than other stone used for memorials. The typically dark colours of granite are still prevalent in cemeteries through theUKas well, lending them the more respectful, dignified looks that colourful patchworks of gravestones lack.

The ability of granite to stay true to its original carving so much longer than, say, marble also contributes to its appeal. Where as softer stones will wear away over time, losing their detail and colour, granite will remain in its intended form much longer. It will begin to degrade eventually, of course, but not before it has seen out other gravestones created at the same time. This means that the solemn, unflinching dignity of a granite memorial goes on and on and on.

You should also recognise that even when wear and tear does take place, granite memorials remain excellent gravestones. Though the details of carvings and even names may disappear from their surface, they are indisputably recognised as the marker of a grave.

Picture courtesy of Flickr user he-ryan.

Choosing an Inscription for your Headstone

Making a decision on what to display on your marble gravestone can be a very difficult and lengthy process. You might go through loads of different ideas before finding one that you like, and could end up scrapping that a few days later. It’s important to think about it though, as if your nearest and dearest know what you would like on a headstone, it’s much easier for them to get on with the process and reduces the emotional stress and pain that they’ll be going through.

As for what to actually put on your gravestone, you have the entire wealth of all languages ever to choose from, which can be a little overwhelming. If you would like to go for a traditional choice, biblical quotes are always popular, as are fond remembrances of the family role you filled (“Beloved Husband, Cherished Father, Dutiful Son” for instance).

Or you could decide to go down a different route, perhaps with a humorous or witty epitaph to bring a smile to people who see your grave? There are plenty of funny little poems or messages on gravestones all over the world. One classic that has cropped up in a number of places is “I told you I was sick/ill”.

Another of my favourites is:

“Reader -if cash thou art in want of any,
Dig four feet deep and find a Penny.”
Epitaph of John Penny, Wimborne, England.

Of course, once you have decided on a gravestone epitaph, you’ll want to ensure that it’s maintained for future generations, so a proper system of memorial care is important.

Famous Statues

Statues have been built the world over in memorial to famous figures in history. The first statue dates back to between 22, 000 BC to 21,000 BC. In the UK there are famous statues in London that tourists flock to see every year. Amongst these are:

  1. Nelson’s Column: This monument famously stands in Trafalgar Square and is in honour of Admiral Nelson who died during the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Nelson’s statue stands on a 46 metre granite memorial column.  Nelson himself stands at 5.5 metres. The monument was designed by a British architect in 1838 and was built for £47, 500 which is the equivalent of £3.5 million today.
  2. The Duke of York Column: This monument was built in 1834 to commemorate Prince Frederick, Duke of York. The Duke was the Commander in Chief of the British Army and is most notably remembered in the nursery rhyme ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’. He died in 1827 and the whole of the British Army sacrificed one day’s wages to pay for the statue.
  3. Monument to the Great Fire of London: Not all monuments have been built to commemorate a certain person. This monument, which stands at 61.57 metres is the tallest monument in the world and was built in remembrance for all the people that lost their lives in the 1666 Great Fire of London.

Statues have been made from all sorts of different materials from Granite to Marble and Stone to Bronze and have all had attention and memorial care given to them to preserve and protect at certain stages over the years.