Bexley residents are increasingly turning their backs on traditional religious funeral services, opting instead for diverse and sometimes eccentric celebrations of life, according to Bexleyheath Co-op Funeralcare.

A Chinese takeaway, a sausage roll, and half a bar of chocolate have been revealed as some of the most unique items people have asked to be buried with, according to the UK’s largest report into funeral trends from the Co-op.

Based on insight from its funeral directors, from over 500,000 funerals conducted in the last five years and the views of 4,000 British adults, the report reveals the most unique things people have asked to take with them in Bexley.

Top 10 most unusual items that have been placed inside a coffin:

1. Chinese Takeaway

2. A sausage roll

3. Golf balls

4. Car number plate

5. Ashes of a pet

6. Mobile phone

7. Playing cards

8. Fishing rod

9. Colourful rug

10. Half a bar of chocolate 

The research also finds 85 per cent of local funeral directors in Bexleyheath think families are now more open to unique funerals compared to five years ago.

A spokesperson at the Bexleyheath branch, comments: “Placing items inside coffins dates back centuries, but what we’re seeing now is a shift in more people choosing exactly which personal items they want to be buried with.

“Sometimes, those items are sentimental to the deceased such as love letters, photographs and wedding rings. Others choose eccentric items specifically to make people laugh such as a Chinese takeaway… it can be a real talking point and put a smile on the faces of loved ones left behind.”

They concludes: "More than ever, we’re seeing an increased demand for people who want to celebrate their unique lives and the ways in which we can help them do that are endless. Over the years, we’ve certainly seen our fair share of unusual requests. But it’s those personal touches that make a funeral truly unique and we’re truly privileged to be able to help families with that."

When it comes to Brits’ final resting places, it’s clear that what lies beside them is important.