Ian Robertson, founder of Essex-based Rent-a-Mourner, plans to make a common Chinese tradition popular in England. "The Middle Eastern way is to provide wailers -- crying women -- as opposed to the quiet, dignified methods we use."
The mourners-for-hire are briefed on the life of the deceased and would be able to talk to friends and relatives as if they really had known their loved one.
"Our staff will meet with the client beforehand and agree 'the story', so our staff will either have known the deceased professionally or socially. They will be informed of the deceased's background, achievements, failures etc. so they can converse with other mourners with confidence."
Robertson started Rent-a-Mourner in January last year, and said he has had 52 bookings since then. The company plans to expand after turning down more than 60 requests because the funerals were too far away from the 20 fake mourners on staff.
The people paid to cry at your funeral aren't professional actors, however. Robertson says his fleet of mourners are just friends of his.