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New president wants to ‘make a difference’

Regulation and the Social Fund Funeral payment are just two of the key issues singled out by SAIF’s new national president as key for funeral directors.

Sussex-based Paul Bewley, who has been involved in funerals for 37 years, says he is looking forward to the opportunity to make a difference on these – but he’s also relishing the prospect of meeting as many independent funeral directors as possible during his year in office.

“I love working in this business,” he says. “It has given so much to me as a person and I get so much pleasure out of helping people. I’m really looking forward to meeting people who feel as passionate as I do about it and to being able to give something back.”

Born and bred in Brighton, Paul started his career as a professional footballer with Derby County in the team’s 1970s heyday. However, numerous injuries and competition from the likes of Charlie George made a first team place rather too elusive, and he returned to Brighton.

He fell into the funeral business almost by accident and discovered he loved it.

He started at WA Stringer & Son in Brighton, moved to Hurstpierpoint to look after Frank Davey's business and then moved to Hassocks to set up Bowley Funeral Service in 1999 in partnership with P & S Gallagher of Haywards Heath. Additional Gallagher premises opened in Burgess Hill in 2010, and the team added a Brighton office –as Bowley and Gallagher – in Brighton in April 2016.

Speaking at his inauguration at SAIF’s Harrogate AGM and conference, Paul said he was honoured to represent the organisation and his fellow independents and thanked his partner Davina Docherty (pictured with him) for her support. He also paid tribute to the backing of his business partners, husband and wife team Pat and Sandy Gallagher and their son Matthew, as well as all the company staff.

He also thanked SAIF chief executive Terry Tennens and executive members and head office staff – particularly former national president Paul Allcock, who is continuing to be the SAIF lead on the issue of regulations – for their support.

“We as funeral directors are always working to promote and make our businesses the best and to keep our standards as high as possible,” he said. “I am passionate about what SAIF stands for and I look forward to going around the country representing the independent funeral director and hope I can make a difference in some way.”

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