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Highland funeral director harnesses technology to ease heartache during coronavirus outbreak

By Staff Reporter

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Vicki Fraser says technology is helping battle some of the coronavirus restrictions that are impacting on funeral gatherings.
Vicki Fraser says technology is helping battle some of the coronavirus restrictions that are impacting on funeral gatherings.

A HIGHLAND funeral director has spoken about how technology is allowing as many people as possible to continue taking part in services despite coronavirus restrictions.

John Fraser and Son, which has a branch at Lovat House off Dingwall High Street, is using the latest technology to make sure mourners can still be there, albeit virtually, and some are even able to offer a prayer or a eulogy from across the globe.

Social distancing recommendations mean that a maximum of just 12 people can attend a funeral in person currently.

The funeral home is using online platforms Zoom and Skype to live-stream services, while for those who do not have an internet connection, they can record a service to be sent out and watched later.

Funeral director Vicki Fraser said: “It is really poignant for us to see family members and loved ones appearing on the screen in our funeral home to deliver the eulogy or give a reading at the funeral of someone they held dear to them. To be able to see them and to hear the emotion in their voice is incredibly moving – the room goes absolutely silent and you can hear a pin drop.

“Conducting funerals using technology is never going to be the same as having everyone together in the same room, sitting shoulder to shoulder, but in these terrible circumstances that we are currently in it is the next best thing. “

Ms Fraser actually took the decision to invest in Skype facilities three or four years ago, the benefit of it and Zoom being that they are two-way, allowing people from far away to participate in services rather than simply view them.

Ms Fraser continued: “Last week we conducted a funeral for a deceased where none of the family or friends could be present as the next of kin were self-isolating.

“The only person in attendance was the minister.

“Our staff joined in with the service as the family watched and participated via Zoom.

“It was a privilege to give comfort to the family in this small way.”

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