FUNERALS are not something you often think about – unless you’re arranging one for a loved one or even planning your own.

We’ve all been to funerals we would rather not have gone to but felt we really should say goodbye to the person and regretted not going to others for the same reason.

This is a very personal choice, though, usually depending on how well we knew the person who died.

I wasn’t morbidly thinking about this but was given some real food for thought when I went to a meeting where a Bolton celebrant was speaking.

She was excellent, especially talking about funerals and how they can be better personalised with the mourners able to really get over what the deceased person had meant to them individually.

She also made the idea of planning your own funeral much more sensible, quite life-affirming actually.

At the same meeting, a friend was explaining about a funeral she had attended that week. The church had been packed and the man who had died had chosen his music beautifully.

This was a great blend of Beatles and Stevie Wonder and had not only left the congregation smiling appreciatively but also, no doubt, prompted naturally fond memories of the deceased.

It all put me in mind of the sort of funeral I’d prefer to have. I’ve always insisted I wanted something very low-key, small and not sad at all.

A bit of Eric Idle’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life might be great for welcoming everyone in. Then possibly Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings to make it very slightly sad but not too much, with Van Morrison’s Days Like This for leaving the church. Van the Man is totally reliable in these circumstances.

Of course, everyone has their own idea of how a perfect funeral would be. Popular music choices currently include Frank Sinatra’s My Way, Robbie Williams’ Angels and Tina Turner’s Simply the Best. And Sarah Brightman and Andre Bocelli’s Time to Say Goodbye would certainly have everyone in tears.

Some jokers prefer to go for Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell, Kylie’s Better the Devil you Know or even The Trampps’ Disco Inferno. Even though some mourners wouldn’t think those appropriate, they would certainly amuse a significant proportion of those there.

We have all been to funerals where we’ve left the church smiling at some of the wonderful anecdotes about the person whose funeral it was. Personally, irrespective of the music, those feel like the best.

That’s where the people who have really known him or her tell you more about them, genuinely celebrating who that person was and what they brought to the lives of others.

My late friend and Bolton News’ colleague Alan Calvert’s funeral was like that. A packed church heard from people who had known and loved him.

They had wonderful memories to share and we all felt better sharing them – and realising just how much Alan himself would have really loved that kind of occasion.