herald

Friday 19 September 2014

Clown funeral service will let your loved one go with a smile

Mourners may soon witness the tears of a clown as the first funeral clown company has been established in Ireland.

Gerry Perry, aka John Brady from Drimnagh, said that the idea for Dead Happy Ireland came to him when he was thinking about how he would like to be remembered.

"I was talking to some friends and joked that I'd like to be buried in a clown costume," he said. "Then I thought about the idea of having clowns at funerals."

John said he was surprised at the number of people who told him they would like their funeral to be a happy occasion.



Market

"Funerals are generally sad but some people want to the occasion to be more lighthearted."

John (27) is a sales representative at the moment, but has been involved in the entertainment and music industry before. He and his clown colleague, Lee Cooke (25) are seeing what the market for funeral clowns is like, but said that they have received a few enquiries from people.

Dead Happy Ireland has established provisional rates for its services. It will cost €150 for a clown at a funeral home, the grave or at a home wake, but it can offer reductions for two or more services.

The ad for the services which was placed on community website Gumtree.ie says: "We bring squirting flowers, we make balloon animals. We can even fall into the grave if you want us to. Let your loved one go down with a smile."

The funeral clown industry has already been established in some countries in Europe, with some undertakers hiring 'mourning clowns' to lighten the atmosphere. Roelof van Wijngaarden, a Dutch funeral clown, revealed that his favourite trick was to break wind loudly during a solemn part of the proceedings.

But funeral directors around Dublin have never had requests for clowns, though representatives from Fanagan's Funeral Directors and Massey Funeral Directors said there have been some unusual requests for lighter-hearted funerals.

"I've heard of people requesting that the mourners wear bright or colourful clothes," said Ann Bradley from Massey.



Respect

"We are quite conservative when it comes to funerals," Ann Bradley said.

Funeral clown Gerry Perry can be contacted at deadhappyireland@gmail.com.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

Opinion

Entertainment News