When Pamela Pennington said goodbye to her dad, she said it with flowers.
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But, with a tight budget, she couldn’t afford the display she felt her dad, William Robb truly deserved.
With a desire to provide families with affordable re-usable floral displays, she launched her own firm, Farewell Flowers, last year.
The 35-year-old, who operates from her home in Walton-le-Dale and stores the flowers at a unit in Paradise Lane, Leyland, rents silk funeral flowers, which are then reused.
She says: “Dad, who had been diagnosed with oesophagus cancer in 2008, passed away unexpectedly from emphysema, in September 2014. He was the bravest man I knew and I was proud he was my dad.
I love my business, and feel I have a part of my dad with mePamela Pennington
“When we were organising the funeral, I was shocked at how much the funeral flowers were.
“I wanted to give him the best, and have his hearse flowing in tributes to him. However, I was on maternity leave and had a tight budget. I couldn’t afford the beautiful fresh flowers he deserved.
“My mum spent more than £400 and although they were beautiful flowers, at the end of the funeral service, we were troubled with the decision on where to send the flowers after. Some hospices don’t accept the flowers as they are not appropriate, so a lot were left at the crematorium. I felt upset that others wouldn’t benefit from the money spent on them.
“I had been to a few funerals, and whenever I went, I always noticed beautiful fresh funeral tributes and wreathes, left at the side, some where dying, and made me feel sad that all the money spent on them, and they were just left to waste away.
“I found that speaking with members of the profession, there were times hearses went out with no flowers in as fresh flowers just couldn’t be afforded by some families and this made me sad and totally empathised.
“I started to think about how I could help and make the situation better and came up with the idea of Farewell Flowers.
“I rent beautiful silk funeral flowers out to help families save money when unexpected deaths occur and a tight budget is needed. I am also helping to save our environment, as the flowers are eco-friendly and re-use.
“We act as a florist and deliver the rented silk flowers to the undertakers on the morning of the funeral. When the funeral is over, the flowers are put back in the hearse and taken back to the funeral home, where I collect them.
“We have different colour schemes and will always try and accommodate individual needs.
“We have a basic stock in stores, and we re use these beautiful silk, handmade tributes to ensure that there are less flowers going to waste at the crematorium. As we re-use, we can keep costs down, and boast that we are significantly cheaper than florists and also more environmentally friendly. I run my business from home, and keep my flowers looked after in stores.
“I feel funerals and death is such a taboo subject, and nobody really talks about it.
“So, when a loved one dies, there are no plans in place and arranging a funeral is very hard when you are on a budget, grieving and in shock.
“I am aware my silk flowers are not to everyone’s taste, but when people have come to view them, before renting, we have always had very positive comments on how they are so more realistic and life like, rather than cheap imitations.
“They are hand made locally, so are individually made, not mass produced.
“I love my business, and feel I have a part of my dad with me.”
Pamela also works as an outreach support worker, supporting a man with autism, but she is hoping to expand her business even further.
She adds: “I have been getting busy with farewell flowers and feel it is time to solely concentrate on growing my business.”