A MAN from Somerset has come up with an environmentally friendly coffin idea - and has made himself one for when the time comes.

Brian Whitemore, from West Bagborough near Taunton, makes coffins out of wheat straw.

As a thatcher, Brian said he used to make them as an apprentice and has started doing so again now that he is older.

He believes the idea is ‘unusual’ and perfect for keeping the cost of coffins down.

The BBC recently reported that the largest coffin-maker in the South West, FE Harris, said the cost of chipboard had gone up by 40 per cent - meaning undertakers may have to pass on the increasing costs to customers.

And so Brian decided to spread the word about his coffins made using straw.

They also have a wooden bottom and a plaque (to say who it belongs to).

Somerset County Gazette: Brian and his straw coffins

“I decided to make a coffin for myself and put it in the garage roof,” said Brian.

“I have made seven so far for people in and around Taunton.

“Taunton Funeral Services organised a funeral with one of my coffins last weekend.”

He added: “It isn’t hard work to make the coffins, it is just time consuming.

“I have to take off the leaf, the ears and then fit all the straw together.

“It is quite a nice thing to do and I do enjoy making them.”

Brian makes coffins at various different lengths.

So far, he has made coffins from 5ft 9inches to 6ft 5inches in length.

Somerset County Gazette: Brian and his straw coffins