Stories

August 2022

New Start – meet the teacher turned celebrant

Lisa Jane Newman from Wigan worked as an English teacher before a period of ill health gave her pause for thought. She explains why she chose to train as a funeral celebrant

Call for pandemic changes on registering a death to be restored to help families

The dramatic rise in the time taken to register a death is causing untold distress and delaying funerals, says Pure Cremation.

CPJ Field back #PaidLeaveToGrieve

The UK’s oldest funeral directors, CPJ Field, is calling on Brits to support its #PaidLeaveToGrieve campaign – encouraging all UK employers to offer a flexible paid bereavement policy to staff.

Tori Bush joins Tributes board in strategic move

Tributes, the West Sussex-based supplier to the funeral sector, has appointed Tori Bush to its Board of Directors.

‘Why I chose the funeral profession at 17’

One visitor to the FSJ stand at NFE this year was Molly Dowling, 19, who is an apprentice  funeral director at Ewan Walder Funeral Services in East Sussex. We asked Molly to tell us a little about her journey into the profession.

June 2022

How to be a leading woman: ‘being a mother actually drives me harder’

Jade Wilcox, Managing Director at Wilcox Limousines, a British family-run coachbuilder of more than 70 years, shares her experiences of leadership within the funeral sector, traditionally a male-dominated industry

Town send off for popular veg seller

Residents of a Cornish town came out in force to line the streets for the funeral of a popular vegetable seller.

CMA set to move from education to enforcement

A shift in approach is coming that will see funeral directors face enforcement rather than education when it comes to complying with the CMA order on price transparency, a spokesman told a packed NAFD Conference in South Wales last month.

Google Business Profiles – why you need one now

Google Business Profiles have now become a must-have for funeral businesses when it comes to search results, writes Eimer Duffy from FIT Social Media. If you don't have one, you might be losing customers to your competition.

Tamworth Co-op funeral boss retires after overseeing 30 years of major changes

Tamworth Co-operative Society’s long-serving general funeral manager retired recently after a distinguished 30-year career in the town.

May 2022

Environmental impact – how do consumers judge new and existing body disposal methods?

In the January issue of FSJ, we asked Simon Cox of Funeral Solution Expert to provide insight into how environmental factors may influence consumer funeral choices. Here, Simon explores how new human body disposal methods may start to replace cremation.

IFSO to accept new applications from June 2022

IFSO Director of Regulation, John Withington, has confirmed to FSJ that the new regulator is preparing to accept applications from funeral director firms at the National Funeral Exhibition in June.  

Coventry funeral director returns from Ukraine aid trip 'a changed person'

Andy Hawkins of Franklin and Hawkins Funeral Directors, Coventry, immediately rallied when the invasion of Ukraine first hit the news in the UK.

Business is blooming for A W Lymn

Nottinghamshire’s largest independent funeral directors, AW Lymn The Family Funeral Service, has expanded its florist team with five new starters to meet the growing demand for flower tributes for all occasions.

Community drives funeral director with a martial arts passion

A Northants funeral director who now helps families say goodbye to their loved ones has spoken about what inspired her to make a dramatic career change – and how she’s helping people in another way through her passion for martial arts.

April 2022

A Phantom hearse with a royal pedigree

A Rolls-Royce hearse with royal heritage from Lower Hutt, New Zealand, now serves the community with the same elegant dignity bestowed on senior members of our royal family, when a limousine. Christopher Moor reports

Comedy pilot planned on grieving process by sketch comedian based on dad’s death

Sketch comic Paul Black, who came to prominence on TikTok over lockdown and recently performed his live show Self Care Era at the 3000-seater SEC Armadillo in Glasgow, is developing a semi-autobiographical comedy focused on the grieving process, "which we'll hopefully be shooting this year" he told The National newspaper.

Colum becomes one of NAFD’s youngest board examiners

Colum O’Shea, funeral director at one of the largest privately-owned funeral directors in the UK, is now one of the NAFD’s youngest examiners. 

Scotland: new Westerleigh manager aims to build and grow group’s business

Bryon Ferguson, the new regional manager for Westerleigh Group in Scotland, says his ambition is to “take service delivery to the next level.”

Sally is a real West Country boon after 25 years at J D Andrews & Son

Devon funeral manager Sally Boon has been recognised for her commitment to supporting the bereaved during their most difficult time over the past 25 years.

February 2022

Grave Tales – Scott of the Antarctic

One of the loneliest graves in the world has to be that belonging to Antarctic explorers Captain Scott and his men. The makeshift grave lies deep in the Antarctic, and has only been seen by a handful of people.

CMA 'encouraged' by levels of compliance - but there's still work to be done

In a meeting with the NAFD in December, the Competition and Markets Authority said that it considered levels of compliance with the Funerals Market Order, to date, to be ‘good’ – particularly given that statutory regulation is completely new to the sector and it can see that the majority of firms are now wholly or partially compliant with the Order. 

Funeral director helps feed Leeds homeless

A funeral director spent his Friday night helping feed and clothe Leeds’ homeless population after being overwhelmed with donations from the local community. 

Aura looks to help families prepare for death better

A pioneering website is aiming to help people prepare for death and celebrate life in more meaningful ways. Aura was founded by motor neurone disease sufferer Paul Jameson in 2019, along with son David and family friend Ben.

Celebrant trainer to receive ICCFA Lasting Impact Award

The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association’s (ICCFA) Educational Foundation will present its Lasting Impact Award to Glenda Stansbury at a reception on March 23 at the 2022 ICCFA Annual Convention and Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

January 2022

Dealing with the 'dark greens'

Consumer concern about environmental issues – fuelled further by the recent COP26 conference – is only going to increase. We asked funeral sector expert Simon Cox for his view on what we can expect of consumer demands

Parliament debates funeral regulation after distressing burial incident

Independent regulation of funeral director services came under the microscope in Parliament on 17 November with a debate called by Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen. It followed an incident in his constituency where straps broke while a coffin was being lowered into a grave, causing considerable distress to the family and mourners present.

Mid-England Barrow connect with community

Connecting with your local community is a key part of running a business in the funeral sector, and for Sarah Smart, co-owner of Mid-England Barrow in deepest rural Oxfordshire, 2021 has been all about … charity coffee mornings.

New Start: from theatre to mortuary

East London mortuary assistant Robb Mookhoek explains why he gave up the theatre world to make his way in the funeral industry ...

Former Merseyside policeman is new operations chief at Westerleigh

Steve Glen has been appointed Head of Central Operations at Westerleigh Group, providing a strong link between the company’s senior leadership team and its individual crematoria teams across the UK.

December 2021

Big, bold and beautiful

Christopher Moor explores how a funeral director in New Zealand restored his dream hearse – a 1959 Cadillac

Brookwood Cemetery celebrates second Green Flag award

Woking’s Brookwood Cemetery, a Historic England significant heritage destination, has once again received the National Green Flag Award status.

Obituary: Sir David Amess MP

Sir David Amess MP was involved with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Funerals and Bereavement (APPG) for some years and had held the post of vice-chair.

DMAG urge funeral sector to check resilience measures in place

A statement issued by DMAG (Deceased Management Advisory Group), following meetings with Government representatives about the surge in cases of the Covid variant Omicron, has urged funeral firms to ensure they have taken measures to cope with more staff taking sick leave and self-isolating.

Former Co-op director of funerals joins Pure Cremation

David Collingwood, the former Director of Funerals at the Co-op, joined Pure Cremation earlier this year to oversee the disruptor’s ever-growing operations team.

Group supports scheme to bolster hospice work

Funeral Partners is supporting a new scheme driving emergency funds to hospices, to ensure they can continue providing vital care to families following the hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

November 2021

Unusual undertakings: The blood biker

Blackpool funeral director and keen motorcyclist Scott Etheridge volunteers his time – and wheels – to transport urgent medical supplies for the NHS

Death care sector ‘must change mindset’ on climate crisis

IFSO welcomes NAFD compliance checks on funeral firms

Contemporary and personal: Forever Urns range grows

It’s love at first billboard site for Notts funeral director

September 2021

The key questions you should be asking your funeral plan provider

FCA funeral plan regulation: the results of our exclusive research in association with Funeral Solution Expert

Local authorities failing on public health funerals, says study

A new study by anti-poverty charity Quaker Social Action has suggested that provision for public health funerals has not improved – despite the UK government’s good practice guidance on public health funerals for England and Wales issued last year – and that for those in need, state support for a funeral is patchy at best and unlawful at worst.

Fair dos for customers: Golden Charter backs FCA rulebook on funeral plans

Changes outlined in the Financial Conduct Authority rulebook will help the sector treat customers fairly, support the vulnerable and provide clear communication says Golden Charter CEO Suzanne Grahame.

Horticulturalist to spearhead Westerleigh sustainability drive

Horticulturist Giles Palmer hopes to help Westerleigh Group become an industry leader when it comes to sustainability and the presentation of its gardens.

Stockport pair skydive for mental health

Two funeral directors performed a hair-raising skydive to raise over £1,300 for mental health support in Stockport after noticing local families struggle during the pandemic.

August 2021

FCA regulation of funeral plans survey: make your feelings known and raise money for Hospice UK

An exclusive FSJ survey in association with Funeral Solution Expert

Wilcox issue warning after online scare

Since the pandemic began, there has been a 300% increase in reported cybercrimes*; here at Wilcox, we recently discovered one of our customers and long-standing friends had a terrible experience, writes Wilcox Limousines managing director Jade Wilcox Webb.

UK Commission on Bereavement launches to explore impact of pandemic grief

Working in partnership with a number of UK charities, and with researchers leading an academic study on the issue, a UK Commission on Bereavement through and beyond Covid-19 has been established to explore the impact of mass bereavement suffered during the pandemic and make recommendations to better support bereaved people.

From horse-drawn carriage to limo

An established County Durham family funeral business is celebrating a century of serving its local community.

Ambler strides out to raise £1,700 for Alzheimer’s charity

A determined funeral director walked 850,000 steps around Leeds to help fight Alzheimer’s at a time when traditional fundraising activities haven’t been possible.

July 2021

New book tackles teens and bereavement

Author Clare Shaw has drawn on her own experience in putting together a new book to help teenagers and young adults dealing with bereavement.

Green imperatives drive sector towards sustainability

Climate change and the urgent need for more environment-friendly practices are high on the agenda for many funeral businesses. In this news feature, Sharon Barnard takes a look at what’s going on ...

Creative Covid memorial design winners announced

Six people have been chosen to make their mark in history after their designs were chosen to be etched onto Covid-19 memorials at crematoria all over the country.

Cards aim to help last wishes conversations flow

Embarking on the subject of death and dying can be pretty tricky! With this in mind, Last Wishes – Live Your Legacy have designed a set of cards that empower people and bring awareness to the many choices available when planning a funeral.

Crunch move: how 5,000 crisp packets are helping keep London homeless warm

The Barnet community has donated over 5,000 crisp packets to a local funeral arranger who turns them into warm foil blankets for London boroughs with some of the highest levels of homelessness. 

May 2021

Environmental Stewardship Group launches to help meet climate challenge

Organisations operating in the cremation, burial and cemetery fields have joined forces to launch a new group to address the environmental challenge of the years ahead.

Cenotaph restoration work progresses well

A team of specialist stonemasons has been working hard on the restoration of a cenotaph in a Derbyshire park.

'FCA regulation is to be embraced'

Regulation will only formalise what funeral directors have done for years – put families and their loved ones first, says Golden Charter’s Suzanne Grahame

N Ireland: tablets donated to care homes and schools

Funeral directors across Northern Ireland donated computer tablets to help care home residents and schoolchildren stay connected with their families and their learning during lockdown restrictions.