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FSJ meets…. Liz Davies, Embalmer

Since she won Embalmer of the Year at the Good Funeral Awards last September, Liz Davies has experienced an unusual level of interest from the media and general public.

This has been for her dedication to her profession but also for her unusual hobby - using her taxidermy skills to create stuffed character mice.

She’s had coverage on BBC news website, in local and regional papers and even on TV’s Alan Titchmarsh Show – and she gets recognised in the street.

Liz, from Minehead, Somerset, puts her heart and soul into her day job as an embalmer, always ensuring she takes the time needed to do hair, nails, make up, with the aim of making the deceased look as peaceful as possible.

“It’s nice to be recognized for doing a good job,” she said. “I had always been fascinated by the funeral world and what went on behind the scenes. I did a health and hygiene course, which touched on embalming, and that piqued my interest.

“It's just you and the person you are working with, and it's about putting all your skills into practice and being able to take your time.”

But the former hairdresser’s skill in taxidermy has brought her other fans, with her mice and rats a big hit on her Facebook page. She sells them on ebay and takes commissions. 

The finished products and have included Napoleon, the ghost of Hamlet’s father and Dick Turpin. Requests have also included a punk rat, a Roman centurion and a version of fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

Liz decided to concentrate on mice and rats – using frozen ones from a pet shop – plus occasional roadkill (her freezer is full) – because of their size. She usually removes the skulls and constructs her own, as the real ones can give a sinister appearance. “If I make my own I can give them character,” she says.

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