All she wanted was a little Christmas style on her way out the door. Elizabeth Roche, 73, from Worcester, England, died on 17 June following a long battle with cancer. Services for her were traditional in every respect but one: an elf led her hearse.
After her death, her family asked A.V. Band Funeral Directors if they could help pay tribute to her passion for the festive season.
Pictures showed undertaker George Birch leading the hearse wearing a red-and-green elf costume.
Roche, who has four daughters and 15 grandchildren, had not been given long to live but survived long enough to celebrate last Christmas.
Roche’s daughter Anita, 40, said: “We didn’t think she would make it to Christmas, but she surprised us all and we had the best Christmas ever last year.
“One of my sister’s husbands dressed up as an elf and handed out presents. She loved it.
“This is where the idea to have an elf at the funeral came from.
“Mum loved a laugh and a joke, despite her having a very difficult life she was always smiling even when she was in the worst stage of her illness.”
Anita added: “She was the strongest person I know and we all idolised her. We wanted to give her the world at her funeral as that is what she did for us her whole life.
“When she got ill the doctors warned us she didn’t have a lot of time left. We took her home and cared for her.
“We wanted her to be with us until the end. Her family was her entire life.
Hired ‘elf’ Mr Birch said: “To be able to fulfil this lighthearted and funny request was actually a relief to many of us.
“Dressing up as an elf, as funny as it sounds, has brought a real morale boost to us all.
We are so happy we have given Elizabeth the send-off she wanted.”