Cemetery cashes in on demand for graves near Miles Davis

Unusual funerals and burials - are they worth the money?

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Miles Davis Live At North Sea Jazz Festival

Woodlawn Cemetery in New York is creating 2,275 new graves, including 70 special plots near the area known as 'Jazz Corner', where Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins and Lionel Hampton are buried. It said it had been inundated with requests from people who want to be buried near their jazz heroes, and are willing to pay a premium for it. Most of the special plots have already been sold.

It's part of a growing trend of people wanting to plan a funeral and burial that says something about them.

The National Association of Funeral Directors recently remarked that people are making increasingly specific and unusual requests for their funerals and burials. It said one of its members had recently conducted a Morris-dancing-themed funeral, while another had arranged the burial of a company director at the end of his garden next to the golf course that was a huge part of his life. It added that people were asking for relatives to be buried with increasingly unusual things too - including everything from tea bags to bottles of champagne.

In 2006 it emerged that people had started requesting that they be buried with their mobile phone. The trend started in South Africa, but spread across the globe. When it reached the US it gave crematorium staff a headache, because mobile phone batteries will explode if they are heated. Nowadays if people want to take their mobile with them, it is placed into the urn with the ashes.

There are seemingly endless options for those who want an unusual send-off. You can have your ashes scattered by a rocket or turned into diamonds. You can have them mixed with concrete and turned into a ball-shaped concrete memorial reef, which is then placed in the ocean. One firm specialises in packing ashes into household objects - including golf clubs and fishing rods - so people can keep their loved ones close.

However, these things don't come cheap. Even a bog-standard burial will set you back £5,329 in Lambeth, London's most expensive borough, and a cremation can cost as much as £3,464 in the city of London. Once you add in the wake, the Morris dancers and the ashes-scattering rocket, you can easily see your costs hit £10,000.

But what do you think? Is it worth it? Or would you rather spend your money on something you can appreciate while you're still alive?