Banham Zoo signs up to heavy horse funeral scheme

Rare-breed heavy horses could soon be used for 'countryside-style' funerals after the launch of a partnership between a funeral home and Banham Zoo.

Countryside lovers can now choose to make their final journey in the company of a Suffolk Punch or Shire horse as a result of the initiative.

South Norfolk's Rosedale Funeral Home is pairing up with Banham Zoo's heavy horse team to offer a fully restored East Anglian farm wagon and heavy horse instead of the traditional hearse.

Andrew Free, director of the funeral business, which has branches in Diss, Attleborough, Wymondham, Bungay, Halesworth, said: 'Traditional horse-drawn hearses are popular and our partnership with Banham Zoo means we can now also offer a less formal alternative. We think this will particularly appeal to people with strong links to the land, as well as to horse lovers.'

Banham Zoo's heavy horse team specialises in conserving and promoting heritage horses, travelling far and wide to showcase its teams.

'Suffolk Punch horses are indigenous to East Anglia and are the traditional working horses of the region. They are magnificent animals and will really add something special and unique to a funeral,' said Banham Zoo managing director Martin Goymour.

Suffolk's are the UK's oldest and rarest heavy horse breed with fewer than 500 remaining.