What’s the youth of them?

Charles Cowling

First it was young women in the dismal trade who grabbed the prurient gaze of the media — that intriguing juxtaposition of beauty and beastliness, fragrance and foetor; the tantalising question: What makes a nice girl want to hang out with corpses? It makes for good photos. Slim young black-clad cane-wielding lovelies can induce a certain frisson in men who have been naughty boys. Silly stuff.

Now, any young deathworker is good for a few column inches, even plain males, and the hunt is on for the youngest. “Is,” asks This Is Leicestershire, “this Leicestershire teenager UK’s youngest undertaker?” At but seventeen, and only just out of short trousers,  George Simnett (above) is their challenger for the title.  Why does George want to be an undertaker? “‘Even when I went to family funerals as a little boy, I used to see undertakers looking so smart and dignified and think to myself “I’d like to do that. That could be me.”‘ He adds: ‘”A lot of the job is about being caring and understanding with people who are in a very difficult emotional place. That’s the part I love because it’s so satisfying when you get it right.”‘ He seems to have what it takes. His heart is clearly in the right place.

Does it matter what his age is?

Talking of juxtapositions, The Daily Mail reports the funeral of Des Young, legendary JCB operator, who was carried to his funeral on the forks of a JCB. There’s a photo (copyrighted so I daren’t pinch it) showing the funeral director ‘paging’ the JCB. Delightfully anomalous to my eye. To yours, quite possibly, smart and dignified.

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louise
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oops clicked send before i got to amend my typos!

louise
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I cant imagine I’d be too comforted by a fresh faced laddy straight out of shorts to plan my nearest and dearests funeral – however this is not to say the boy cant do it and do it well. I know 50 year olds that are no better at their job even with 30 years experiance! Kingfisher judging by your website you probably do a great job- but lets be fair now -this boy could probably do a better job than most stubborn stuck in the mud FD’s who have been doing funerals all their life. but have to say… Read more »

Charles Cowling
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The problem with being 17, I recall, is not that one knows nothing, it’s that one knows worse than nothing. It’s not that we ever, most of, sail into still, serene waters of wisdom, but experience certainly knocks some sense into us – curbs the excesses; teaches us about ourselves and others. Good luck to young Geo. But I think he’ll look back, in years to come, and rather wish he’d waited a bit.

Maggie
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Maggie

I agree with Kingfisher – it’s great that young people should be getting involved within the funeral industry – but I really don’t think that at aged 17 anyone has had sufficient life experience to deal with the psychological issue of death. I’m sure there are people out there who will throw up their hands and shout ‘how ageist’ – but honestly, we thought we knew it all at 17, but how many of us actually did?!

Kingfisher
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I’m going to finally take the plunge and contribute, as this one is close to my heart … I strongly believe that age is important in a Funeral Director, and that’s with hindsight, and having myself been an extremely annoying 17-year old trying to get on in the profession, and not believing that I could be anything other than perfect at the job. That was 23 years ago, and I now think that I’m nowhere near perfect at the job, but I have the experience which helps me deal with situations that I face, the knowledge to deal with the… Read more »

gloriamundi
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gloriamundi

Applying the fork-lift truck idea, one has known many people who should have been transported to their funeral on a brewer’s dray…