Saying a final goodbye to a loved one who has passed away is never easy and Covid-19 restrictions have made it even harder for families and friends to pay their respects.

But a return to traditional values as well as keeping up to date with modern technology has ensured people have been able to say a last farewell despite not being able to attend funeral services.

Jamima Greenall-Barton has worked at Co-op Funeral Care for the past five years and has supported countless families during their time of loss, none more so than during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Having adapted their services to comply with national lockdown restrictions, all of the staff at the company’s three Warrington branches – on Bewsey Road, London Road in Stockton Heath and Gorsey Lane – have supported families and friends as they paid tribute to their loved ones.

The branches have remained open throughout the national lockdowns allowing families to access their services at all hours of the day and night.

Funeral director Jamima, who is based on Bewsey Road, said: “As key workers, we have provided an essential and vital service to bereaved families.

“It has been a tragic time of loss and sadness for families and the impact on our sector has been significant.

“It’s been incredibly difficult emotionally for everyone.

“Covid-19 restrictions have had a significant impact on families and us as funeral professionals over the last 12 months.

“The restrictions introduced during the first lockdown had a huge impact as we have always wanted to give bereaved families exactly what they wanted for a funeral.”

She added: “Not being able to see families face to face to arrange their loved one’s funeral was particularly tough and not being able to give them a hug or comfort them when they were upset was hard.”

During the first lockdown only ten family members were able to attend funeral services when a normal service would see around 50 people in attendance.

Now, up to 30 people can attend and live streaming has proved a comfort to those unable to make the service.

Jamima said: “We’ve advised families to consider webcasting services which allow more people to be part of the funeral.

“It really helps people feel part of their loved one’s service when they can’t be there in person.

“Our families have been incredibly understanding and they continue to amaze us with their imaginative and personalised tributes despite the restrictions.”

Jamima added: “Lockdown has opened up new ways for funerals but there has also been a return to old traditions with so many family, friends and neighbours able to pay their respects to a passing hearse as it makes its way to the crematorium.”

Despite ongoing restrictions, Jamima is keen to point out that people can still arrange services that reflect the unique lives everyone leads and the dedicated team at Co Op Funeralcare have supported those wanting meaningful tributes for loved ones.

Families are encouraged to make funeral arrangements over the phone where possible but pre-arranged face-to-face appointments at funeral homes and chapels of rest are available for two people from the same household or support bubble as long as they wear appropriate face coverings.

Jamima, who used to work as a civil servant, said: “When I left my career in the civil service, a close friend suggested I gave the funeral industry a try.

“At first, I wasn’t sure but I was intrigued so I decided to apply and I’ve never looked back.

“It was the best decision I ever made.

“It’s not a job but a true privilege and an honour to take people on their final journey.”