The GuardianThe Guardian

An alternative undertaker’s tips for a better funeral

By Sam Wollaston

19 Oct 2022 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

Rupert Callender doesn’t look much like an undertaker. and you won't find mausoleums or elaborate headstones in his cemetery. The whole place is wild and alive - rather like his funerals.

Sharpham Meadow doesn’t look much like a cemetery. There are no high walls, wrought iron gates or yew trees. You won’t find mausoleums or elaborate headstones. There are no signs of gothic horror. There are plenty of flowers but not the sort that come wrapped in cellophane – these ones are wild and alive. The whole place is wild and alive, with buzzing bees and birdsong.

And yet it is a cemetery or, as this land is unconsecrated, more correctly a burial ground. Spaced out evenly in rows are dozens of graves, simple mounds with a flat stone featuring just a name and dates. The view – over a Devon valley, the River Dart meandering towards its own end – is breathtaking. I wouldn’t mind ending up here.

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