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Why Are Headstones Important?

Image of a graveyard

Accepting that someone we love has gone is never easy, and no-one ever gets over it. Nor should anyone be expected to; it’s a heartbreaking part of life that everyone goes through at some point.

Regardless of the kind of funeral you opt for, many people choose to commemorate their loved one with a headstone, or some kind of memorial. Here, we’re talking about the importance of that memorial, both in terms of what it represents and how it can help with the healing process.


Obviously, you don’t need a headstone to remember someone you’ve lost. Commemoration, however, brings those fond memories to life, in some ways. Creating something unique to represent a person after they’ve passed away can help to preserve their presence on earth. It’s all symbolic, of course, but it’s a nice touch that can help with the healing process in a number of ways.

Somewhere to visit

All of our points are very closely linked; the common theme is memory. Another advantage of a good headstone is that it offers people a place to come to remember their loved one. This can be done through leaving flowers, or something as simple as a five minute visit every few weeks. You don’t need a headstone to visit your loved one’s favourite place, but it offers a peaceful, quiet environment that hopefully isn’t too far away. Having somewhere to visit your loved one can be extremely comforting, and it offers a place for you to visit that is always going to be there.

Leaving a mark

It’s important to leave imprints on the world, and a headstone provides the perfect opportunity for your loved one to do exactly that. In 200 years’ time, when your loved one’s great, great, great, grandson is trying to piece together their family tree, having something physical, permanent for them to visit is extremely important. It’s always important to continue to create history, and headstones certainly help do that.

Cope Memorials

Here at Cope Memorials, we create completely unique, timeless headstones and memorials. If you would like to talk to us about our work, or are interested in viewing any samples, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 01173 602 187, or fill out our online contact form.

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Things to Consider When Planning Your Funeral

Image of pallbearers carrying a coffin

Relieving the strain on loved ones during a difficult time; ensuring that costs don’t run too high; having clarity on your final wishes; these are just some of the many reasons why more people are arranging their own memorial service. 

We understand that for some it is a life-affirming experience whilst for others it still remains a difficult task to approach. Here at Cope Memorials we want to help ease the burden and have put together some of the things to consider when planning your funeral:

If You Would Like Cremation or Burial

When it comes to planning your funeral, the first option many people will consider is the traditional burial. There are actually several locations available in which you can choose to be laid to rest. Aside from your local parish churchyard you can purchase an ‘exclusive right to burial’ in a cemetery, which gives you the right to be buried in that grave without owning the land. For a different approach, there is the environmentally-conscious natural or ‘green’ burial. Returning the body to the ground without embalming and without a casket, trees are often planted in memory of the deceased. 

Similar to a green burial, cremation does not involve embalming and is often more cost-effective than a burial, with loved ones scattering ashes in a place special to the departed. However, if none of these choices are for you then you can also opt to donate your body for medical and scientific research.

Your Memorial or Headstone

Whether you have decided on burial or cremation, you can still have a special place for your loved ones to visit after your passing. From plaques to headstones we recommend really taking your time when determining the material, size, and words written on your memorial. Deciding on the right epitaph can be difficult, therefore we have created an inscription guide to help you choose your words of remembrance. 

Tributes from Loved Ones

You may have a particular song or poem that is close to your heart or represents your life and experiences. As you are planning your funeral consider if you would like a piece to be read in your memory and which loved one will be asked to do this. Flowers are beautiful and are commonly given by friends and family wishing to pay their respects, however, as an alternative you can request that they make a donation in your name to a meaningful charity or cause.

Payment of the Service

The expense of planning your funeral can be worrying and is something you may not be able to afford to pay out in one lump sum. Though costs can run up to thousands of pounds, there is no need to worry as you can find lots of payment schemes to suit your circumstances. When deciding on a scheme you will want to think about what fees it will cover and the restrictions with regards to funeral directors. Take a look at this useful information from the Money Advice Service on the various payment plans available and your options for protecting funeral finances.

Cope Memorials has been established for over 100 years and we are extremely proud of our high quality products and considerate, expert team of craftsmen. If you are planning your funeral and need to discuss a headstone or memorial requirement please call us on 01173 602187 or fill in our contact form.

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Remembering a Loved One at Christmas

Image of candles at memorial

We carry with us, at all times, the memories of those who have passed away. However, this can be particularly difficult during the festive season when we are surrounded by merriment and laughter but not the company of our deceased loved ones. Whether this is your first Christmas, or one of many spent grieving the loss of someone important to you, Cope Memorials offer six ways of remembering a loved one during the holidays:

Make a Stocking of Memories

Hanging up stockings has long been a Christmas tradition and your mantelpiece may feel a little empty without that special person’s name amongst the other family members. One way of remembering your loved one is to ask everyone to write down a memory, quote, or saying about the departed on a piece of paper, put these in the stocking, and then read them out in turn.

Hang an Ornament on the Tree

Many families have a tradition of making their own ornaments and then decorating their Christmas tree together. A wonderful way of remembering a loved one during the festive period is to purchase or make a bauble or candy cane with their name on it and then hang this in your favourite place on the tree.

Make a Donation on Their Behalf

If you feel comfortable enough to do so, go through the possessions of the deceased and look for any good quality items – aside from those particularly special or important to you – such as clothing, books, and toys that can be donated to local homeless shelters, hospitals, and charities. Helping those who are less fortunate, particularly at Christmas time, is a wonderful choice for remembering a loved one.

Watch Old Family Videos

Although this can be bittersweet and sometimes painful, playing old videos is a good way of reminiscing on fond times with your loved one and gives people the opportunity to share their favourites memories. The mixture of tears and laughter will undoubtedly be a cathartic experience. 

Light a Candle

A simple but endearing way of remembering a loved one during the holiday season is to place a candle in front of their picture and light this on Christmas day. Originally a Catholic tradition, the candle represents light triumphing over darkness and is therefore a beautiful symbol of love and respect for the deceased.

Create a Memorial Garden

Winter is the perfect time of year to plant spring flowers – such as daffodils – so that when March/April time comes around, your garden will start to come alive with colour. Dedicating a small area of your garden to the departed will give you a peaceful area of respite as well as a place to talk to and think about them whenever needed.

Christmas is always a painful time when it comes to remembering absent friends, therefore don’t feel ashamed if things don’t feel natural and you need to have a moment to yourself every now and then. Never forget that you are surrounded by people who love you, share in your grief, but, most importantly, are there to support you. The team here at Cope Memorials are expert stonemasons and can help you create that perfect memorial for your loved one this season, just give us a call on 01773 602 187 or fill in our online contact form.

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Helping Your Friends and Family Deal with Grief This Christmas

Image of flower memorial

Christmas should be a time people look forward to, but it’s not always the case. It can actually be the hardest time of the year when you’ve lost someone close to you, and it’s not always easy for people to appreciate that.

That’s why we thought we’d put together this short piece explaining how you can help those closest to you deal with such a difficult time. Your approach as partner, parent, child, or friend will obviously differ depending on the exact situation you find yourself in, but there are certainly some general ground rules that are applicable for most circumstances.


Christmas is so hectic that it’s very easy to become a bit lost in all of the commotion. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; some people find it helps them to stay busy, surround themselves with people, and not dwell. If you find that your bereaved relative or friend is reaching out a lot, often seeking to meet up or looking to chat, then make the time to let them do so. If they prefer to occupy themselves, then they’re going to need people around them who can make that possible. You can make sure you’re that person.


On the contrary, some people need to be left alone. This might seem counterintuitive to some, but giving yourself some time on your own to reflect can often prove very healing in the long term. If you’re used to spending lots of time with someone, and they express the need to spend a bit of time on their own, then it’s best that you allow that. Understandably, you might be concerned if they’re completely isolating themselves, but you’ll be able to tell if they’re taking it too far. Just be sure to check in on them from time to time, so you can monitor how they’re doing.

This is a particularly hard one to judge sometimes – if you’re celebrating Christmas and the person in question seems completely set against the idea of any festivities, then it’s best not to pester them to get involved. As long as you’re attentive when required, and give them what they want and the support they need, you won’t go far wrong.


Let your relative or friend guide the conversation. If they’re in the mood to talk about the person they’ve lost, then you should let them do so, and listen to them. If, however, they’re avoiding the topic, don’t force them to bring it up. Give them time, and let them broach the subject at their own pace. Try to keep the subject as light as you can for the most part initially, and avoid bringing anything up that’s likely to irritate or upset.

Final points

Finally, we’ve put together a list of generic points to abide by when you’re supporting a grieving person.

  • Let them lead the way
  • Accept that everyone grieves different
  • Remain positive, but avoid clichés
  • Look after yourself – this can be tough for you, too

We’ve only briefly run you through some of the key points to consider – the honest truth is that you’re going to have to do a lot of working out yourself. The person in question comes above anything else, and even these general rules won’t apply in every circumstance. They key is being there, and helping them to feel comfortable enough in processing their grief however they need.

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Funeral Rites and Traditions from around the World

Image of a coffin in a building

Funeral rites are an extremely important practice to many cultures and religions, each with their own specific traditions that help family and friends come to terms with the passing of a loved one, bless the passage of the deceased into the afterlife, and grant those who remain the opportunity to grieve and heal together. In today’s blog, Cope Memorials takes a look at some of the different funeral rites and traditions from around the world:

Hanging Coffins

One of the funeral rites carried out in the Philippines involves placing the deceased in the fetal position and hanging or nailing their coffin to the side of a cliff. This traditional practice stems from the concept that you should pass into the afterlife the way that you were born; raising the body up to the sky helps bring the deceased closer to the spiritual plain. Moreover, the cliff provides a secure resting place from predators and prevents the body from disintegrating in waterlogged soil.

Funeral of Jazz

New Orleans is famous for its jazz funeral, where American, African, and French traditions come together to produce lively and music-filled funeral rites that celebrate the life of a musician who had passed away. Friends and family leave the funeral home, led by a band, and form a procession to the cemetery to bury the departed. The music then changes from a mournful tune to a lively beat; people dance in joy and remembrance, passersby creating a ‘second lining’ by joining in with the celebrations.

Turning of the Bones

Known locally as ‘Famadihana’, these funeral rites from Madagascar are carried out around every five to seven years and bring the family together to pay their respects to long-gone loved ones. The deceased are brought out of their tombs and are wrapped in fresh shrouds, their names written on the wraps, and given gifts, whilst the family dance around the grave, sometimes with the departed.

Beads of Ash

In response to an ever-increasing lack of space, South Korea has moved away from traditional burials and instead turn to cremation. Their process of cremation, however, is particularly unique and somewhat controversial; the ashes of the deceased are heated to very high temperatures and then formed into beads, which can be kept safe and close by in a glass box.

Post Mortem Pictures

The Victorians were known for their strange and, what we might today consider, unsettling practises and traditions. Their somewhat morbid approach to funeral rites involved photographing the deceased in commemoration of their life and to help assuage the grief of the remaining family members, who would sometimes be sat or stood in the picture as well.

Paying the Ferryman

In Ancient Greece, appeasing the Gods was a significant part of everyday life. When a loved one passed away, the family would ensure that Charon – the ferryman of Hades – would safely take the soul of the deceased to the Underworld by offering him an ‘obolos’, a coin that was placed in the mouth of the departed during burial. The Ancient Greeks feared that by not providing adequate payment, the spirits of their loved ones would be doomed to restlessly wander the earth.

Saying goodbye to those we hold dear is difficult, which is why it’s so important to have something special by which you can remember them. For beautiful, bespoke memorials and headstones to commemorate a loved one, contact the expert stonemasons at Cope Memorials. You can reach us by calling on 01773 602 187 or by completing our quick and simple online contact form. 

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Famous Headstone Inscriptions

Image of headstone with "In loving memory" inscription

Headstone inscriptions are, for many people, one of the most intimidating aspects of choosing a memorial. An inscription will often include the name of the departed, the date of their birth and death, and sometimes some decorative engraving or artwork. Alongside these features there may also be a prayer, a quote from the deceased or a memory that was shared with loved ones. Below, Cope Memorials has taken a look at some of the more famous headstone inscriptions from around the world:

Winston Churchill

Charismatic British Prime Minister Winston Churchill passed away from a stroke on the 24th January 1965 and was buried in St Martin’s Church in the village of Bladon, where many of the Churchill family have also been laid to rest, including his parents and his wife. His headstone has had to be replaced and restored several times due to so many people coming to visit the grave, causing it to erode away. His epitaph reflects his humour and quick wit: ‘I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.’

William Shakespeare

One of the most prolific playwrights in history and known all over the world, William Shakespeare passed away on his birthday on the 23rd April 1616 and was laid to rest at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-Upon-Avon. During the 17th Century, people would often exhume the deceased in order to carry out medical research, which is why Shakespeare’s choice of headstone inscriptions is more of a poetic plea: ‘Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, and cursed be he that moves my bones.’

Princess Diana

Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales was renowned for her philanthropy and charity work, particularly in areas such as animal welfare, landmines, and serious illnesses like leprosy and AIDS. The shock departure of the beloved English princess provoked much heartbreak and mourning across the globe, her funeral famously televised before her burial at Althorp House in Northampton. Her tomb is placed away from public access on a small island in the middle of a lake, shared with four swans and lined with 36 birch trees. Instead of lengthy headstone inscriptions, a small plaque dedicates the short but heartfelt words: ‘The People’s Princess’, a title that many people would agree truly represents the beloved royal.

Frank Sinatra

Claimed by a heart attack on the 14th May 1998, famous crooner Frank Sinatra was placed to rest at Desert Memorial Park in Palm Springs, California, far away from his original New Jersey home. The musical legend is supposed to have been buried with a bottle of Jack Daniels as well as a pack of camel cigarettes, items that were evidently a popular indulgence of the singer during his 82 years of life. Sinatra boasts perhaps one of the more recognisable headstone inscriptions on his grave: ‘The Best is Yet to Come’, a truly optimistic declaration that comes from his popular 1964 song of the same name. 

If you are struggling to think of the right words to write on the memorial your loved one, why not head on over to our headstone inscriptions ideas page? Cope Memorials is an expert team of stonemasons, offering an exceptional service to those in need of beautifully crafted headstones and memorials. To speak with our caring and considerate team, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01773 602 187 or complete our quick and simple online form.

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Choosing the Right Type of Headstone

Image of someone placing a flower on a gravestone

Knowing which headstone to choose can be extremely difficult, especially during a tough emotional time. With so many different types of headstone available, deciding on a style is never easy. That’s why we’ve put together a short guide to some of the different variations around, to help you make a more informed decision. 


Standing headstones, or upright headstones, appear as their name suggests. This common style of headstone consist of both the granite, limestone, or marble head piece and a solid base. The design is a traditional one, and one that allows the chosen inscription to appear clearly and be easily identified. 


Again, as the name suggests, these headstones lie flat on the ground. Their design means they usually only require one piece, making them quite a simple, straightforward style. They can either lie completely flat to the ground, or be raised slightly with the top higher than the bottom. 


Cremation memorials are usually very similar to standing ones; their main difference is that they usually feature some sort of urn. The headstone and base will be designed so that the urn fits in with its surroundings. This type of headstone is a great option for anyone looking to commemorate their loved one in a traditional way, while still having opted for a cremation. 


Kerbed memorials are arguably the most different of all of our examples. The piece covers the entire grave, and often features a flower bed at the foot of the actual headstone. The headstone itself is standing, while the rest of the piece protrudes out from the tablet’s base. 

Cope memorials

We realise that this short guide won’t have made what you’re going through any easier, but hopefully you’ve got a basic understanding of some of the different options available now. We’re always more than happy to help you choose the right type of headstone here at Cope Memorials; all you need to do is get in touch. 

You can give us a call on 01773 602 187, or fill out one of our online contact forms.

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A (Very Short!) History of Stonemasonry

Image of a stonemason at work

It is generally accepted that the practice of stonemasonry dates back thousands of years. Exactly when people started shaping rocks and stones is unknown, but it would be impossible to put together a comprehensive history without writing a book. For that reason, we’ve put together a very short history of stonemasonry, taking a look at three different stages in its development. 

Ancient Empires

One of the best known examples of early stonemasonry, the pyramids of Egypt, provide us with a constant reminder of the skill of ancient civilisations. Add into the equation the temples of the Ancient Greeks and the vast array of buildings still standing in Ancient Rome, and it becomes clear that a great number of the world’s most fascinating landmarks are here because of stonemasons. 

Medieval stonemasonry

The medieval period, spanning roughly a thousand years, witnessed the construction of a huge range of buildings. These included castles and stunning cathedrals, such as Paris’ Notre Dame. While a number of buildings from the earlier medieval period were neglected, the Renaissance ensured that stonemasons were able to showcase their skills once again. Medieval stonemasons were highly skilled and sought-after, and began to introduce personal symbols. These would be added to their work to help differentiate it from other workers’.

Modern constructions

The modern world is full of memorials and castles from thousands of years ago, but is also home to a number of exceptionally talented stonemasons still in work. With the introduction of cranes and forklifts, techniques have changed, and large-scale projects don’t require so many men (or animals)! 

Cope Memorials

We specialise in creating memorials and headstones here at Cope Memorials. While we’ve never built a pyramid or a spectacular cathedral, our team is made up entirely of highly experienced professionals. If you require a reliable stonemasons company, then get in touch with us on 01773 602 187. Alternatively, head over to our contact page and fill out one of our online forms. 

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Choosing Children’s Headstones

Image of a graveyard

As a parent, there is nothing more difficult than losing a child. Alongside the feelings of loss and hurt following their passing, you may also feel scared and overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing a headstone or memorial for your little one. Cope Memorials are here to let you know that you are not alone; below, we have put together five key considerations that will help you when looking at children’s headstones:

Take Time to Breathe

First and foremost, the most important thing to remember is that there is no time limit or deadline for when your headstone or memorial needs to be in place; give yourself time to process the loss and deal with your grief before you even begin looking at children’s headstones. Choosing a memorial is a very emotional journey for you and your family, which is exactly why you need to first give yourself the opportunity to heal before anything else.

Think Carefully about Your Words… but Don’t Feel Pressured

There is such finality to memorials and headstones that many parents will undoubtedly feel pressure to find the perfect words which will forever immortalise the memory of their child. In moments such as these, when you feel completely overwhelmed by the task at hand, simply take a step back and remind yourself of the purpose of this tribute; the headstone will be a dedicated place where you can come and remember your precious one, therefore, all you need to worry about is making the words personal and meaningful to you and your family. This could be a favourite saying of your little one or a reference to a special memory that you shared. If you are struggling for ideas why not take a look at our inscription ideas page to gain some inspiration and help you find the right words.

Check the Rules and Regulations of the Cemetery

Many churchyards and cemeteries have strict rules and regulations regarding what adult and children’s headstones, memorials, and gravestones that can be put up on the grounds. Avoid potential heartache by checking these regulations before arranging for a headstone to be installed, as failure to comply could result in the cemetery asking you to remove the memorial. 

Don’t Impulse Buy or Rush Your Choice

Although the headstone you have found may be the most extravagant option available, it doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you and your little one. Take the time to look through catalogues, review font samples, discuss designs, and learn about the different materials available. You may even want to deviate from the existing catalogue and go for something more personalised or, perhaps, a completely bespoke design.

Consult Stonemasons Who Are Experts on Children’s Headstones

We cannot emphasise enough how crucial it is to find and form a relationship with stonemasons who specialise in children’s headstones. They can offer advice and recommendations on a range of factors such as lettering, stone choice, and cemetery regulations, as well as providing general guidance on the memorial process. Cope Memorials and Little Star Memorials come highly recommended by many cemeteries across the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire region, meaning that you can trust us to guide you through the practical elements of headstone installation.

Little Star Memorials are a sister company of Cope Memorials specialising in baby and children’s headstones and memorials. Their dedicated payment instalment plan offers complete flexibility, meaning that customers don’t have to compromise on their choice of memorial and can give their little one the tribute that they deserve. To learn more, just call Alex Cope and his team on 01773 602187 or complete the Little Star Memorials online enquiry form.

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Choosing the Right Memorial

Image of a man at a funeral

Choosing the right memorial is never an easy task. Irrespective of the difficulty of finding the right style to match the person in question, having to choose at a tough time personally makes it a very hard thing to do. That is why Cope Memorials have put together a small advice post, to try and get the ball rolling for you. While everyone is unique, there are some basic considerations to take into account before you begin choosing. 

Make it personal 

What stood out about the person in question? What were their defining features, their interests, or their hobbies? These are all very important questions to consider before beginning the decision-making process. If a themed memorial isn’t right for you, then consider what their tastes and try to make your selections based on that. Would they have preferred a black, grey, or white memorial? Did they generally prefer smaller displays of affection, or would they rather have something that stood out? While no-one can answer these questions for you, just thinking about them will get you on the way to making the right choice. 

Ask around

You don’t have to make this decision alone. Talking to other family members and friends will go a long way to making the process easier for you. Reflecting your own and other people’s memories of a person is just as important as reflecting their own tastes and preferences. Discuss your thoughts with people who knew your friend or loved one, and ask them what they think. Just thinking out loud and putting your initial thoughts into words will help a lot; rather than bottling everything up and struggling alone, sharing your ideas with other people should prove useful. 

How do you picture it?

Is there a particular message or style that you picture when you think about the memorial? If so, then try describing it to someone, and talk about how you could get it to work. Think about whether or not you want an inscription at all; while it is conventional to have some sort of writing on a memorial, it is absolutely not compulsory. If you think a simple shape or colour would work better than a message, then there’s no need to stress over finding the right words. Often, the way you initially picture something is close to the best choice. Stressing about a number of different styles and colours only makes things harder. 

Where do you picture it?

Location is almost just as important as the way the memorial looks. If there’s a place you know of that meant something to the person, such as a place they enjoyed going or often talked about, then that’s a good place to start. While memorials aren’t appropriate everywhere, there is likely to be a cemetery relatively close to that special place. Remember, a place that you associate with the person in question is also a great choice. Never forget that your memories matter. 

While we are aware that we can’t choose anything for you, we hope that some of these pointers will have given you a starting point. Ultimately, it is up to the family and friends of a person to decide on their memorial, but the points above give you something to think about while making the decision. If you would like some advice about memorials, or wish to enquire about the services we offer, please give us a call on 01773 602 187 or 07817 187 371, or fill out one of our online contact forms.