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.