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Christmas in July funeral in Colchester named as one of 5 quirkiest send-offs

PUBLISHED: 16:34 19 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:50 20 February 2019

The Co-op Funeralcare team at the funeral of Walter Hatton Picture: CO-OP FUNERALCARE

The Co-op Funeralcare team at the funeral of Walter Hatton Picture: CO-OP FUNERALCARE

Co-op Funeralcare

The "Christmas in July" funeral held for Walter Hatton from Colchester has been named by a leading funeral provider as one of 2018's five quirkiest send-offs.

Walter Hatton in his Christmas jumper with his wife Margaret Picture: NADINE BOWLERWalter Hatton in his Christmas jumper with his wife Margaret Picture: NADINE BOWLER

Walter, 87, from the Cherry Tree area of town, told his family he wanted his funeral to be a celebration of his life. His loved ones decided the funeral should represent his favourite time of year, Christmas.

The service was held at Colchester Cemetery and Crematorium in Mersea Road. His friends and family were dressed in Christmas clothes, while the Co-op Funeralcare funeral directors and arrangers wore festive onesies.

Christmas was the theme for Walter Hatton's funeral in Colchester Picture: CO-OP FUNERALCAREChristmas was the theme for Walter Hatton's funeral in Colchester Picture: CO-OP FUNERALCARE

Nadine Bowler, Walter’s granddaughter, said: “Having Grandad’s funeral themed around his favourite time of the year meant that, on the day, it was more of a celebration of his life rather than a funeral, because it showed his personality.”

At the service, Walter was dressed in his Christmas jumper, bought as a present the previous year.

Family and friends wore Christmas clothes at Walter Hatton's funeral Picture: NADINE BOWLERFamily and friends wore Christmas clothes at Walter Hatton's funeral Picture: NADINE BOWLER

Continuing the theme, the finishing touch was a full Christmas dinner that was served following the service at the wake.

Walter was a seaman in the navy and then went on to work in a factory. He had six children with his first wife, who passed away, and then took on his second wife Margaret’s five children when they married.

Some of the Christmas decorations at Walter Hatton's funeral Picture: NADINE BOWLERSome of the Christmas decorations at Walter Hatton's funeral Picture: NADINE BOWLER

His send-off was named as one of the five most unusual which Co-op Funeralcare conducted in 2018, along with a McDonald’s themed funeral, and fancy dress, magician’s and Only Fools and Horses themed funerals.

Further highlighting a trend of Brits moving away from traditional funerals, Co-op’s biggest ever survey into death, dying and bereavement, conducted among 30,000 Brits, reveals that two fifths (41%) would like their funeral to be a celebration of life, rather than a sad occasion.

Co-op Funeralcare staff wore Christmas onesies for Walter Hatton's funeral Picture: NADINE BOWLERCo-op Funeralcare staff wore Christmas onesies for Walter Hatton's funeral Picture: NADINE BOWLER

A further one in five (20%) want mourners to wear bright colours at their funeral.

Meanwhile, the number of requests to the Co-op for unique hearses has also increased by 21%. These range from a rainbow hearse to one showered with 100 red poppies.

Tributes to Walter Hatton Picture: NADINE BOWLERTributes to Walter Hatton Picture: NADINE BOWLER

David Collingwood, director of funerals for Co-op Funeralcare, said: “We all lead unique lives and our final goodbye should definitely reflect that. Personalised touches don’t need to be extravagant – it can be something as small as changing the funeral directing team’s ties.

“The trend really highlights the importance of planning ahead and having conversations with our friends and family about our wishes. Not only so that we take our final journey in the way we would’ve wanted, but also to alleviate some of the pain for our grieving families by removing those important decisions when the time comes.”

Co-op Funeralcare staff in Christmas onesies Picture: NADINE BOWLERCo-op Funeralcare staff in Christmas onesies Picture: NADINE BOWLER

Christmas decorations at Walter Hatton's funeral Picture: NADINE BOWLERChristmas decorations at Walter Hatton's funeral Picture: NADINE BOWLER

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