Philippa & Mark

“Philippa & Mark” was the first Australian Bios Urn Testimonial, and Soul Trees brought it.
It has touched so many hearts. Published by Channel 10 daily and translated into several languages worldwide.

  • Philippa & Mark, first Australian Bios Urn Testimonial
    Philippa Planted a Gum Tree Using a Bios Urn to Honour Her Husband’s Life.

Geelong, Victoria – March 3, 2017

Not many couples my age talk about death, dying or whether they want to be buried or cremated, particularly when that couple is in their mid 40’s, have four children and are in excellent health.

You can imagine my surprise then, when my husband came home from work one day and said, “I know what I want to happen to my body if I die”. I said, “Well, you’re not going to die”. He said, “I know, but I heard an amazing thing on the radio today.  IF I were to die,  then I want my ashes to be put in a biodegradable urn with a gum tree planted in it.” He then pointed out the window to a place on our farm and said, “I want the biggest, strongest gum tree planted there so I can look out over my farm”.  I said, “OK, you’re not going to die but thanks for telling me, I’ll keep it in mind”. How was I to know that less than one month later, my dear husband would be dead?

My husband of 24 years, Mark, was an amazing husband and father. We had two children together and then after the death of his sister (seven years ago), we took on the permanent care of his niece and nephew. I watched as my husband set an incredible example for his kids of what a good father and person could be. He worked hard in his own rural fencing business to support his new family of six, giving his time and energy for all the members of the family. He said that his time would come when he would get to enjoy time for himself. Tragically, his time was cut short by a freak kayaking accident where the unforeseeable happened and despite Mark having taken every safety precaution, his rescuers were not able to get to him before he took his last breath, drowning in the cold sea.

Our family were devastated and shattered by the sudden loss of such a vibrant, healthy and needed family man.  However, in the midst of our grief, I had no hesitation in knowing his final wishes for his body.  I was able to tell the funeral director that he was to be cremated so his ashes could be planted on his beloved farm and where the biggest and strongest gum tree could grow up and look out over his family and farm.  The funeral director made some enquiries and found Val from Soul Trees who had started trading in November.  Mark died in November.

In February, I called Val only a few days after she had happened to contact the funeral directors and I organised the purchase of Mark’s Bios urn.  I love the fact that Mark had told me his wishes. I love the fact that the Bios Urn business is in Victoria, Australia. I love the fact that there is another option for a loved one’s body to be remembered instead of having to go to a cemetery. I love the fact that Mark’s ashes get to stay on the land that he loved. I love the fact that new life in the form of a tree gets to grow following the death of a human form.

In August, we will have a ceremony on our farm for the planting of Mark’s tree. I am so grateful for the 24 years that I had my husband in my life and I am so grateful that he told me his wishes less than a month before his unexpected death. I am grateful that I will get to drive past his tree every day for the rest of my life.  And when my final day is done, I want a Bios urn to be planted with a flax from my native country of New Zealand next to my husband’s tree so our children and our children’s children can always remember us and our love.

Philippa Jordan-Hill
Victoria, Australia

14 November 2017

We laid Mark’s physical remains last weekend on the 1 year anniversary of his passing. The day was sad but beautiful.
It feels complete and we love it that we brought him home to overlook our family and farm, just as he wanted.


1 August 2019

Hi Val,
Mark’s tree is growing really well. We water it over summer. We put a plaque into a rock at the base of the tree on the second year anniversary.
We miss him every day, but love watching his tree grow.

Love & Light,