Decorating My Coffin

What is Coffin Club?

Coffin Club Derby is an affiliate of Coffin Club UK. which was started by Kate and Kate, two incredible celebrants in Hastings. 

Coffin Club UK is based on a model that has successfully run in New Zealand for a number of years. It is for elderly people, people who are terminally ill, or the people who care for those people (or, indeed, anyone else who fancies it!) to come and work out their funeral wish-list or who wish to plan, and cost, their perfect send off and, if they wish, personalise their coffin.

Coffin Club is all about learning about all the choices that are available to you for your end of life celebration, through talks from industry specialists, and the provision of a dedicated safe space to talk about what is, traditionally, a taboo subject. You can come just for the planning or, if you prefer, you can have a coffin to decorate adding an additional creative element to your perfect send-off!

To attend the talks it costs £30 for the whole 7 weeks. If you want to take part in decorating your coffin this costs £250.00 for the whole 7 weeks. Please see below for details on what you can bring to decorate your coffin. If you are on benefits, or struggling, please get in touch to see how we can help. 

Our coffins are AMAZING flat-packed ply coffins from a Dutch company (www.coffininabox.com). You put them together with an allen key, decorate them and then, if you want to store them flat, take them apart again. They can hold up to 18 stone in weight and 6’4” in height.

If you are on the larger side (some of us were born with big bones) we can source you a well-made traditional shaped cardboard coffin (earthtoheaven.co.uk). These coffins are supplied with water-proof lining and a wooden base suitable for cremation. Our standard cardboard coffins will support a person of up 23 Stone and up to 6’ 4” in height.

Please let me know when booking which you would prefer. 

At the end of the course our coffins can dismantle to be flat-packed again for storage.

Obviously, it’s important they are stored in a dry space. However, if you have a damp garage or shed, you could make sure they are well wrapped in plastic. Unfortunately, we are unable to take responsibility for the storage of finished coffins. We also recommend you don’t do the coffin decorating bit of Coffin Club if you have no idea how long in the future your coffin may be needed, as, although our coffins meet current standards for both burial and cremation, we cannot guarantee they will meet standards set in, say, 20 year’s time.

Decorating your coffin

Week one will be discussing and deciding on your design. We provide the materials for ‘sealing’ your coffin. Any further materials for decorating you will need to get yourself -as we can’t cater for every artistic eventuality!

If you are planning to be buried in a natural burial ground, all materials need to be biodegradable and water-based.

If you are planning to be cremated all materials need to allow for smokeless combustion - so, again, not oil-based. So, for example, things like photos need to printed on normal paper, not photographic paper. If you are planning on lining your coffin at a later date you should avoid sawdust, cotton-wool or shredded paper, as these will not be permitted for combustion.

If you are planning a normal burial it is still advisable to go the biodegradable route, although rules are less stringent.

Going forward for the following 4 weeks the second hour after the talk (and a cup of tea and a biscuit or two) will be a chance for you to carry on decorating your coffin and to discuss with the others in the group what you have heard in the session before. 

In the 6th week, that's the chance for you to show off your work as we invite you to bring your families in and we have a parade of coffins and a bit of a party. Young and old all are welcome to see what you have done and to help you start the conversation with them. 

Speakers include one of Derby's loveliest Funeral Directors and pirate enthusiast, Mark Hodgson from Wathalls, Sheena Ratcliffe, Assistant Bereavement Services Manager for Derby City Council, some celebrant (!) and Russel Davison, an inspirational man who talks about his wife Wendy, how he cared for her at home, with their children and then she had a funeral that that they had organised together.  

We will talk about how you make your choices, play music, and join together. You don't just get an education you get support.