Funeral Ceremony for York Covid Victim at York Cemetery

York Covid Funeral

Remembering Mark Saunders – a victim of Covid in York

York Funeral Ceremony with Funeral Celebrant Yorkshire


York Covid Funeral
Mark Saunders


”The time I think most clearly,

The time I drift away

Is on the bus ride

That meanders
Up these valleys of green and grey”


These very poignant lyrics were heard being performed by New Model Army as Mark entered York Cemetery Chapel.

As the ceremony began, we recalled the year it was released which was 1989 when Mark was just 19. By this age, Mark was already familiar with the lyrics of NMA songs as this was a band that he followed all his life.

Mark absolutely loved music and the ceremony honoured this passion by reflecting on the NMA discography and other influences of Mark’s such as Marilyn Manson and Five Finger Death Punch,

Mark enjoyed listening to music when relaxing in his arm chair. We reminded everybody of his version of relaxation music by playing a clip of Rammstein!

In comparison, we were reminded of what Donna, Mark’s partner, would sometimes listen to which was quite the opposite – Olly Murs!! This made everybody giggle – just how Mark would have done!

Luckily, Donna and Mark did share music tastes generally and spent many happy hours together going to gigs such as the eccentric Dr Diablo and Rodent Show!


Alternative Funeral Ceremonies
New Model Army Flower Decoration


Alternative Coffins

The hair!

The bathroom massacre caused by Mark after he attempted to put rainbow stripes in his hair was just one of the many hilarious moments that Donna became used to.

It was almost a bit of competition between them to see who could get the brightest hairdo!

Donna’s love of amateur theatre encouraged Mark greatly to become part of it too and he totally shone when playing a drag act. Mark could however be a bit reserved when it came to some of the classic panto innuendos! This might even make him have one of his ‘grumps’ which earned him the name of ‘Grumpy’!

Yorkshire Funeral Celebrant


Alternative Funeral Ceremonies

Mark was a true character that made his family laugh constantly. He was a kind and caring man and a true home-bird that loved the comfort of his own armchair. Mark was fascinated by ravens and crows and the dark eerie gothic worlds and stories associated with them. As the ceremony was at York Cemetery, his family were able to spend time decorating the chapel with ornaments and garments that paid homage to Mark’s passions.


York Covid Funeral

Yorkshire Celebrant

Alternative Funeral Ceremonies


All around the chapel, family and friends had drawn or made a personal tribute to Mark which made the service extra special.


Alternative Funeral Ceremonies



Mark absolutely loved his job in operations and food manufacturing at Reet Yorkshire Food. He had a wonderful working relationship with is colleagues Martin and Elissa and would get extremely excited about making products such as whiskey marmalade!

York Covid Funeral
Reet Yorkshire Foods


There was however only one Cherry Pie for Mark and we celebrated his love for Donna by listening to her song!!




Funeral Ceremonies during Covid

The extra time at the cemetery meant that Mark’s family were able to pay their own personal tributes to him and we were able to include extra songs due to Mark’s love of music. This meant that despite restrictions, Mark still received a ceremony that truly celebrated his life.


York Funeral Celebrant
Tributes from Mark’s family



Covid Funeral
Mark And Donna Saunders


Thank you to Donna for her kind words – from one NMA fan to another!

Louisa Starr did my boyfriend’s funeral. SHE IS TOTALLY AMAZING! I gave her the information and she turned it into a story of his life . She did her homework on his favourite band – totally perfect. Thank you Louisa xxxx

From Sammie

Thank you so much, you really captured Mark as a person and gave him the most wonderful Tribute to his life ❤️

From Stuart 

I thought Louisa was great and went and told her so after the service. I think it must be hard to do that job and to ‘touch base’ emotionally with an audience who knew Mark well, when she didn’t, so well done. It was respectful but completely focused on the man we all knew and were fortunate to have known.

From Tania

It was the most fitting send off I’ve ever seen, true to Mark .


York Funeral Celebrant
Starr Gazing Ceremonies – York Funeral Celebrant


York Funeral Director 

Mark’s funeral was arranged with the kind hands of Darley Funeral Services who ensured Mark and Donna were looked after all through the difficult ordeal. Darleys provide a wonderful family funeral director and care particularly to ensure that each person whose is being remembered, receives a service that fully celebrates their life. They are incredibly professional but also very relaxed which brings a sense of calm. This approach makes arranging everything much easier and more comfortable.

From Donna –

”I would like to thank Darleys for Mark Saunders funeral. Hayley Spencer and Julie Darley-Richmond are amazing people and go above and beyond. Highly recommended”.


Real Ceremonies for Real People with Funeral Celebrant Yorkshire

Everybody is unique hence with Starr Gazing Ceremonies – Funeral Celebrant Yorkshire – no funeral ceremony is the same! Mark’s funeral ceremony was designed specifically for him which meant that his service was not just a case of repeating the same words or just amending a few names. Real Ceremonies for Real People!

Many thanks to Wendy and her brilliant staff at York Cemetery for supporting funeral services throughout Covid.

Huge thanks to Katie Jane Miller for creating truly fitting flower arrangements for Mark’s service and to JC Walwyn for the beautiful coffin which Mark would’ve have loved. The NMA transfers came from The Lettering Lass.


Venue: York Cemetery | Funeral Director – Darley Funerals | Celebrant – Louisa Starr | Florist – Katie Jane Miller | Coffin – JC Walwyn | Decorative Transfers – The Lettering Lass

Media and Articles

‘He truly was a beautiful person’ – Tributes paid to York dad who died from Covid, as partner fights the virus


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