Fran Hall

             Peter Taylor from Heatherley Wood

This category could so easily be about the best kept lawn cemetery, or the most attractive natural burial ground, but this year the judges were unanimously persuaded by the passion of the manager who entered for the award in choosing the winner.

Ultimately, it is the care and dedication of the people involved with a burial ground which gives it its character, and this entry demonstrates that even a small and relatively new site can shine when it is loved and cared for by someone who believes in it completely.

Here are the words that made this decision easy:

‘We are not the busiest of places yet, but our park is a reaching out to those made vulnerable through grief. I came here because I know the difference we can make, I know we can show the community here that you can have a good funeral, you can find a place that welcomes you back, that listens to you. We are not just about the funeral, we are about next week, next month, next year. Caring and supporting. When we lose that we become a cemetery.’

Winner:  Heatherley Wood, Greenacres

Runner Up: Eden Valley Woodland Burial Ground

 

Award photograph by Jayne Lloyd

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Fran Hall

 

The number of entries for this category again was under-representative of the many people who work so hard in this sector. Perhaps this is because of mechanization and use of machinery to prepare the majority of graves and a corresponding perceived lack of craftsmanship and care, but the winner of the award this year is clearly someone who takes enormous pride in their work and their role as a custodian of their burial ground.

Testimonial after testimonial praised their work, using words such as ‘meticulous’, ‘immaculate’, ‘kind’, ‘caring’, ‘sensitive’, ‘gentle’, ‘supportive’ – all descriptions of someone who doesn’t see their role as just digging a hole in the ground, but who is fully appreciative of the important part they play at the time of a burial.

With a deserving runner up in Julie Hillman who has the challenging task of preparing graves in an established woodland at The Eternal Forest in North Wales, the winner of this year’s Gravedigger of the Year is Martin House of Eden Valley Woodland Burial Ground.

 

Award photograph by Jayne Lloyd

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Fran Hall

This category attracted the largest number of nominees and entries, resulting in almost 30 finalists. It is also the one the judges find most daunting to decide, as they know how important it is to be recognised for what can often be a very lonely role.

Without exception, all finalists in this category are deserving of recognition for the impact they make on the families they work for. Having to select a winner and runner up from so many excellent celebrants was an almost impossible task, and took many hours of reading testimonials and entries.

The final winner was chosen for the obvious calibre of their celebrancy skills, along with the superb presentation of their entry and the level of detail and care put into it, which, the judges believe, indicates an attention to detail that will be paid to every funeral.

The winner is Justine Wykerd

Three runners up are Kathryn Sansom, Stuart Preston and Wendy Coulton

The judges would like to highly commend Terri Shanks for her work both as a celebrant and for training and nurturing other celebrants.

 

Photograph by Jayne Lloyd

Category Sponsor: Civil Ceremonies

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

 

 

Fran Hall

Another category with a small number of finalists this year, it appears that clergy are reluctant to put themselves forward for an award, and that their colleagues forget to nominate them..

The two runners up in this category are both dedicated to their work, to the mysticism of their beliefs and to supporting the bereaved families they serve.  They both adapt their work and their personal beliefs to take funeral services for people of any faith at any time, which is thoroughly applauded.

The winner was chosen because of the powerful description of his approach to his ministry by the person who nominated him:

 “He is a young minister who enjoys funeral work, and unfortunately that is very rare. He has a performance arts background which allows him to be much more flexible with running order and ‘set scripts’. Whilst many other ministers may frown at his methods he is by far the best minister at caring for a family, preparing a fun lighthearted service but also providing serious pastoral care when needed.’

 

Winner – Fr. Christyan James

Runners up – Emma Curtis and The Right Revd. Charles Muglestone

 

 

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Fran Hall

 

All finalists in this category showed not only great floristry skills but also an understanding of the sensitivity needed to work with clients who have been bereaved.

The importance of having a good working relationship with funeral directors is also paramount, and the judges took this into consideration when making their decision.

Winner: Rebecca Sharp of Dazzle Me Daisy Do

Runner up: Rosie Orr of Flowers by Rosie Orr

 

Photograph by Jayne Lloyd

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

 

 

Fran Hall

Another category with just a small number of finalists this year, the coffin supplier of the year choice is very much influenced by the testimonials received from clients.

Overwhelming support from many of the businesses supplied by one of the finalists meant that the judges were convinced they had a clear cheap reliable cialis winner. Most testimonials referenced both the quality of their coffins and the supportive professional staff equally, which, in the judges’ opinion, is a very good combination.

Winner:  Ecoffins

Runner up: Earth to Heaven

 

Photograph by Jayne Lloyd

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

 

Fran Hall

 

Formerly the Embalmer of the Year award, this category now accommodates all aspects of caring for the dead.

With a number of finalists, the judges were impressed with the calibre of care and dedication shown towards all those in their care, and some of the testimonials received demonstrate just how important this is to the families of deceased.

The runner up in this category was applauded by a number of families for her skill and professionalism in looking after their relatives, and was also commended for her helpfulness with teaching others how to care properly for those who have died.

The winners in this category are a small team of people led by a qualified embalmer, but they haven’t embalmed a body in their care since the inception of the business some 14 years ago. They have pioneered the art of creating beauty around death, and focus on engaging families to be involved and spend time with the body in a beautiful, comfortable space. The judges particularly applaud the leadership of this team and the way that every aspect of their work with the dead is carried out with such creative care.

 

Winner: Cara Mair and the team at ARKA Original Funerals

Runner up: Kirsty Sailes

 

Photograph by Jayne Lloyd

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Fran Hall

This category had one of the smaller number of finalists, something that the judges found disappointing because the work carried out by APTs is so important.

What goes on behind the mortuary doors is clearly still something of a mystery, but the runner up and winner this year are both working hard to change this.

The runner up will become fully qualified this month, but she already has extensive experience, not least with the work involved with the victims of the Westminster Bridge and the London Bridge terrorist attacks earlier this year.

The winner has many years experience in the mortuary, and is now Anatomy Laboratory Manager as well as a forensic consultant. She is an expert in decomposition and the preservation of human remains. She is passionate about passing on her knowledge to the thousands of students she encounters, and also lectures for the public, along with the many other aspects of her work.

The winner is Dr. Wendy Birch

Runner up: Lara-Rose Iredale

 

Photograph by Jayne Lloyd

Category Sponsor: Funeral Zone

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Fran Hall

Introduced for the first time this year, the Doula of the Year category is intended to acknowledge the invaluable work done with people approaching the end of their life by those trained as end of life doulas and soul midwives.

End of life doulas are non-medical individuals, who help those who are dying and their families to feel safe and supported as they make the transition from this life to whatever is next.

With just five entries for this category, the judges felt that each of these people deserved recognition for this very important work which so often is unknown or unnoticed. By its very nature, supporting the dying is not work that is likely to elicit testimonials from clients, nor do doulas generally seek acclaim for what they do, the reward is in knowing they have helped make a difference at one of life’s greatest moments, both to the dying person and to those left behind.

For this reason, the four runners up as Doula of the Year have been named as Lizzie Neville, Nett Furley, Jane Henderson and Anna Lyons, with the winner in this category being Felicity Warner, founder of The Soul Midwives School for her additional work training others in this unique work.

 

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Fran Hall

            Nelson’s Journey receiving their award

This year there were nine contenders for this award, illustrating the growth in useful information available for bereaved people on the internet.

The judges decided that, while price comparison sites and information sites about options available for funerals are all welcome contenders as finalists, this year they wanted to acknowledge two more specifically tailored sites for their work.

The runner up in this category is a not for profit organisation run by volunteers for a particular group in our society, offering full access to a specialist support network both before death occurs and at the time of bereavement. With around 50,000 visits to the website each year, this service is growing rapidly and serving the needs of many veteran’s families around the UK.

The winner in this category is an innovative platform created by a charity that is designed to enable bereaved young people to have a safe place to remember the person who died, as well as addressing their feelings and emotions. This is hugely valuable, and will undoubtedly have a real impact on the emotional health and wellbeing of thousands of young people worldwide.

The winner is Nelson’s Journey Youth Panel’s Smartphone APP  

Runner up: Veterans Bereavement Support Services

 

Photograph by Jayne Lloyd

Category Sponsor: Much Loved

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations