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Setting off in style


Funerals should be personal and unique to each and every person. Director of Volkswagen Funerals, Clare Brookes, explains to Farewell why the iconic and joyous VW campervan is helping families represent their loved ones as they pay their last respects.


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rom a small child, in fact almost a baby, I had an affinity with Volkswagens. If anyone was to send me off in a car other than a


Volkswagen, I’d probably come back and haunt them! So, one day I thought to myself: I can’t be the only person who feels this way. Somebody who loves Volkswagens should go out in a Volkswagen, if that’s their wish; and that’s why we started, back in 2007. We want to give people an exit that’s as memorable as their entrance into the world. Dealing with death is often traumatic, and sometimes the only thing that can give people a lift is thinking of special things they can do for the funeral. The fact someone might have loved Volkswagen cars, and are able to make their last journey in one, can help mourners to feel they


Farewell Magazine


have done the right thing. We get a very different range of people


wanting to use our service. Obviously, there are people who, like me, have an affinity with the vehicles, or those who simply want to have something less hearse-like. We have a white VW hearse, which often suits families who have tragically lost a child or young person. Also, we’ve found lots of people who have


travelled the world, and driven round India, Africa, Australia or America in a Volkswagen, may want to be sent off in one too. We are also coming to an age where people who would have enjoyed holidays in a Volkswagen in the 1960s or 70s are now sadly passing on. They would have enjoyed family holidays in those vehicles, so it’s like sending them out whilst remembering happier times.


Often it is kept a secret from the other


mourners at the funeral. So when we arrive people actually smile. Often they say to me ‘it was so her’, or ‘it was just what he would have wanted’. I think it helps bereavement, because it puts a softer edge on the funeral for a start, and it makes people smile in a time when it’s very sad. When we turn up, of course we get the tears, but often we get applauded too. People, especially children, are able to come


up to the car, and see that this is not as scary as it might have been if it had been a traditional hearse. We have had bikes, surfboards and even


ironing boards on the roof. We once took a five foot wing-span remote-control Spitfire aircraft on the roof rack. At some of the funerals we have attended, we’ve attached a large red suitcase to the roof, which is apt because it looks like you


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