Belfast Telegraph

Mobile use 'interrupting funerals'

Mobile phones are making it increasingly difficult to rest in peace with almost a fifth of funerals interrupted by obtrusive ringing, according to research by The Co-operative Funeralcare.

A survey of 2,000 people found that two in five people do not turn their phone off during a funeral service and a small percentage of mourners refuse to turn down the volume.

One in 16 people admitted to accidentally receiving a message on their phone during a funeral while one in six said they had seen others trying to frantically turn off a ringing phone.

Examples included the tune If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands blaring as a coffin was lowered in South Wales and a vicar's mobile ringing as he gave a eulogy in North Wales.

A separate survey of 170 funeral directors by The Co-operative Funeralcare found that almost a fifth of funerals had been interrupted by mobile phones.

David Collingwood, operations director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: "We are witnessing a cultural shift in society's stance on funeral etiquette.

"Although people universally despise the use of mobile phones at funerals, many exercise double standards by frowning upon the use of mobiles by others when they are unwilling to turn the sound down or turn their own phone off.

"As people become ever more time-pressed and ever more welded to their phones, the use of mobiles has become commonplace at events which would have been considered unthinkable only a few years ago, and none more so than at a funeral.

"We would encourage people to turn off their phones at a funeral as a sign of respect for the deceased and their family."

Work was a major reason for keeping a phone on during a funeral, according to the OnePoll research, with a twelfth of people leaving a service early because of work commitments. Men were almost twice as likely to use their phones than women, with one in 20 using their mobile while in a funeral limousine.

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