Heroes of ‘much-misunderstood’ industry celebrated
A parade of alternative hearses, a flower-arranging contest, a dove release and a performance by the green fuse choir kicked off The Good Funeral Awards, the funeral sector’s inaugural awards ceremony.
Trophies were presented in 14 different categories at the event in Bournemouth in September, which aimed primarily to: “sing the praises of the unsung heroes of a much misunderstood industry,” according to funeral expert and editor of thegoodfuneralguide.co.uk Charles Cowling.
The brainchild of Brian Jenner, organiser of the Bournemouth Joy of Death Festival, the awards were a collaboration between the festival and Charles’s The Good Funeral Guide website.
Nominations from the public were put before an expert panel drawn from across the funeral sector to decide the winners. “We’ve been moved by the stories of very special funerals organised by outstanding members of the profession,” said Brian.
Winners received foot-high coffin ‘Oscars’ designed by Sunset Coffins, in recognition of their outstanding service to the bereaved.
Funeral celebrant Belinda Forbes gave a rousing speech to get the occasion off on a celebratory foot. She told the audience of more than 100 guests that the awards offered an opportunity for those involved in the funeral industry to be proud: “Instead of words like dismal, unpleasant, sombre and depressing we can unashamedly use words like devoted, enthusiastic, dedicated and inspirational,” she said.
Most promising new funeral director
Bryan and Catherine Powell, Powell & Family, Worcestershire
Mark Elliott, Mark Elliott Funeral Services, Northampton
Eternal Slumber award for coffin supplier
Most significant media contribution to the understanding of death
Peter Smith, Gloucester Crematorium
Best internet bereavement resource
Blossom d’Amour award for funeral floristry
Fairmile Florist, Christchurch
Karen Imms, Gloucester
Bidwell Woodland Burials, Devon
Bernard Underdown (pictured above), Kent Natural Burials
Simon Smith and Jane Morrell, Green Fuse, Rupert and Claire Callender, The Green Funeral Company
Best alternative to a hearse
Paul Sinclair, Motorcycle Funerals
Making an Exit, Sarah Murray
Lifetime achievement award
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