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David B Hendry: a tribute

David Hendry, non-executive chairman and former managing director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, died on 26 February, aged 53 years, following a brave battle with cancer.

His funeral was held on Tuesday 3 March at Dunkeld Cathedral, followed by a burial at his beloved Cardney Estate in Perthshire, Scotland.

David was father to Clair and Katriona, father-in-law to Lewis and Piotr, a devoted grandfather (‘papa’) of Brody and Iona, a loving son of David and Mary and a dear brother to Aileen. He was also much loved by Laura. He will be deeply missed by his family and his many friends and colleagues.

David originally trained as a funeral director with J W Goudie’s in Paisley and became branch manager for The Co-operative Funeralcare when he was just 19 years old. He then left the Co-op to pursue many different business interests, including building his own successful funeral businesses and The Fairways Partnership, but his heart lay with the Co-op and he returned as managing director of The Co-operative Funeralcare in 2006.

David was passionate about the Co-op and also about providing a first-class funeral service to the bereaved. He was relentless in transforming the business into a client-focused organisation that provided the highest standards.
In 2010, David stepped down from his role as managing director after being diagnosed with cancer, but continued to play a key advisory role as non executive chairman.

Rod Bulmer, CEO of Consumer Services at The Co-operative Group said: “As an organisation, we are indebted to David for the instrumental role he played in rebuilding Funeralcare and laying the strong foundations we have today.

“David was immensely proud of Funeralcare and what has been achieved in recent years but, more importantly, he also had high hopes and expectations for the future. Irrespective of his health, he always wanted to talk about the business, what was happening and how we could move it forward.

“In every conversation we had it was apparent that we shared a passion and obsession about the customer and making sure the people who serve the customer are given the right tools and skills to do their job. For me, that’s what made David such a great leader.”

David’s funeral was meticulously planned by David himself and he asked John Williamson, head of support operations at the Co-operative Funeralcare, and Andrew Beveridge regional manager, East of Scotland, to lead the arrangements. They were supported by colleagues across Scotland to ensure every detail was delivered perfectly. Paul Cuthell, national president of the NAFD, who attended the funeral complimented the arrangements.

The Glasgow Phoenix Choir performed an emotional rendition of ‘You raise me up’ at the funeral ceremony, which also included a eulogy from former business associate James Laing and Sharon Ainsworth, Funeralcare’s former National Officer for Usdaw, who became a good friend to David.

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