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Reading a eulogy

Only one third of eulogies are read by a family member

Specialist funeral plan provider, Perfect Choice, carried out a poll recently which unveiled that only 31% of eulogies at funerals are read by a family member, with more than half of those who wouldn’t be prepared to read a eulogy fearing that they would not be able to keep their composure.

We wanted to discover how many eulogies were read at funeral services by family members to understand people’s fears and trepidations. The survey revealed that only a third of eulogies at funerals are performed by a family member; with 55% of family members opting-out of reading a eulogy saying that they wouldn’t be able to keep their composure.

We polled 1,908 British adults, all of whom were aged 18 or over and had been to a funeral within the past two years.

Those taking part were first asked “Who performed the eulogy at the last funeral you attended?” 53% said that the eulogy was conducted by an officiator/priest, 31% stated that it was performed by a family member of the deceased and 16% stated that the eulogy was performed by a friend of the person who had passed away. 
The survey then asked whether they would consider reading the eulogy at a family member’s funeral if they were asked to. 35% stated that they would, with the majority of these (56%) stating that they would be honoured to be asked. 6% said that they weren’t sure what they would do, as it depended on who the person was and the remaining 59% thought that they would not be prepared to read a eulogy.

We then asked all those who said that they would not read the eulogy at a family member’s funeral to provide their reasoning for their answer. Respondents were able to select all answers they felt were applicable, which resulted in the below top five:

            1)         Unsure if I could keep my composure – 55%
            2)         Afraid of public speaking – 43%
            3)         Believe it is best left to the officiator/priest – 31%
            4)         Wouldn’t know what to say – 27%
            5)         Not close to family, but would attend the funeral – 9%

Finally, we asked all those who said they would not be able to keep their composure, whether they would be happy to author the eulogy instead, so that they had their personal touch on the ceremony.  25% said that they would not, with the majority of these thinking they did not believe they could do it justice. 10% said that they were not sure and 65% said that they would be prepared to write the eulogy for the service.

A eulogy is almost always an extremely personal and emotive piece that can stir the emotions of the family, friends and well-wishers who are in attendance, so it is not a surprise that so many people feel like they would be unable to keep their composure. What is important to remember is that even if delivering the eulogy is not something you feel you can do, helping to compose the text for another individual to deliver can be just as important and make sure that a family member’s final farewell is filled with as many positive and memorable anecdotes as possible.  This will make for a much more personal ceremony.

Perfect Choice Funeral Plans is a trading name of Ecclesiastical Planning Services Limited Reg. No. 2644860 which is registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ.
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