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New president and diverse subjects at conference

Paul Cuthell, installed as the new president of the National Association of Funeral Directors, confessed himself as “somewhat bamboozled that a wee laddie from Scotland” could be given such an honour.

But, in a speech to the association’s AGM and conference in Manchester, he pledged his energy and commitment and said funeral directors shared “a desire to make a difference in the lives of those in our area who turn to us following a bereavement”.

Paul will be assisted in the coming year by William Millar, who was elected as first vice-president for 2014, and Jeremy Field as second vice-president.

The event was opened on the Friday morning by the Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Naseem ul Hassam and, throughout the weekend, delegates heard speakers on a variety of subjects, besides the business of the AGM and a student awards ceremony.

Death certification reforms, the role of the Chief Coroner and new national standards on services for the bereaved were also covered, as were guidance on using social media in the workplace, an introduction to digital autopsies and the work of the RNLI.

NAFD PR agency Wordsmith Communication talked about raising the profile of the profession in the media, and Glenn Mead of Chimp Management, which works with the British cycling team, showed how controlling one’s ‘inner chimp’ can maximise performance.

On the entertainment side, comedian Hugh Dennis and electric string quartet String Fever kept guests amused at Manchester Town Hall on the Friday night and the band Huge were on the bill for the Saturday night grand banquet and ball.

PHOTO: New president Paul Cuthell is pictured with his wife Sarah

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