MORE people in the Capital are opting to rest in fleece – by being buried in coffins made from wool.
Edinburgh topped the UK for sales of the alternative casket which Prince Charles even joked was “to die for”.
Funeral directors believe the traditional wooden designs are being shunned in favour of the perceived “warmth and softness” of the material version.
James Morris, funeral director at William Purves, Bruntsfield, said it was part of a growing trend towards customised funerals. He said: “I have been doing this job for 20 years and the choice of things available has increased unbelievably.
“The wool coffins are a particularly niche market as it’s significantly different to anything else on offer.
“They are a biodegradable, natural product, which people like but then so is wood and wood veneer. The wool ones are actually quite strong which you might not expect.”
The coffins are handmade using pure new British wool, supported on a strong recycled cardboard frame and lined with organic cotton, and can support frames up to 42 stone. They are edged with jute, have a waterproof base which is also biodegradable, and can featured a personalised embroidered woollen name plate.
Sales of the coffins – available in white or brown – are proportionally much greater for children’s funerals.
They have also proved popular in rural areas with the common belief that they are more environmentally friendly than other vessels of burial.
James said that all coffins were biodegradable and there was nothing to suggest these were any different to the wooden versions.
“I think probably the main factor for choosing these is that they seem warmer and softer,” he said.
“These are the comments that we are getting from people, and that it looks a bit nicer. There’s a tactile softness and also when you look at them, it doesn’t quite have the same impact as a wooden one.
“I think people appreciate having the choice and are more willing to be involved nowadays by saying what they want.
“It’s something we encourage, whether it’s with the coffin, what they want from the service or from the venue, it’s all helpful in the process.”
At £750, they cost the same as a middle to high-end wooden coffin, which are still the most popular.
But he said the family company, which has offices across the city, was surprised by how popular the woollen caskets were proving and they had “exceeded expectations.”
Hainsworth, which produces the Natural Legacy range, is forecasting by the end of 2013, sales will reach 200 coffins a month in the UK and oversees.
Diane Simpson, Hainsworth sales and marketing director, said: “Families like the warm, tactile, soft and comforting feel of our Natural Legacy woollen coffins. They also like the design, quality and how pleasing they are to the eye.”