With so many excess deaths through coronavirus, cemetery space at a premium, and the cost of land soaring, young people are becoming increasingly pessimistic about securing a burial plot. Many seem resigned to being laid to rest with their parents or other ancestors for the time being.
Trish and Patrick Fielding are in their early twenties, married for just under a year and both working in the Health Service. Despite that they are struggling to put down a deposit on a suitable final resting place. “Even on our combined salary we are finding it increasingly difficult to buy.” said Trish. “Before she died I know my Mum had said we could move in with her when we go, but you just want a place of your own don’t you.”
The Rev. John Pardue is Vicar of three small parishes in Norfolk. He says they desperately want to establish mixed communities in their churchyards but are in danger of losing the young because they are being priced out of the market. “This is very sad because all they are doing is trying to get one foot in the grave. As I see it their only hope is possibly via a Burial Association who offer a variety of half-share and part rent part buy schemes.”
Older last home buyers are also struggling. Doug Cooper is a 63-year-old plumber who lives in a small village in Cornwall. He is in no doubt who’s to blame. “Outsiders.” he informed us. “There’s a lot of rich folk coming in from away and buying up second graves. As I understands it half the current free space is now owned by people not resident here. Bloody city dwellers. They fancies the idea of having their home town grave during the week and then spending some time being buried in the countryside at weekends.”
Doug contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year and he says it certainly focussed his mind on where in the cemetery he wanted to be laid to rest. “I was determined to buy myself a prime spot in the south east corner, but I was gazumped at the last minute. It was bloody awful I can tell you. I completely lost the plot.”
Of course cremation does remain a possible alternative, but as one aspiring plot seeker told us, “Where’s the investment potential in that? It’s just money up in smoke.”