Good Funeral Award 2012 winners

Charles 10 Comments


Posted by Charles

Good Funeral Award 2012 Winners

Most Promising New Funeral Director
Bryan and Catherine Powell
Poppy Mardall

Embalmer of the Year
Mark Elliott
Julie-Anne Lowe

The Eternal Slumber Award for Coffin Supplier of the Year
Greenfield Creations
Crazy Coffins

Most Significant Contribution to the Understanding of Death in the Media (TV, Film, Newspaper, Magazine or Online)
Final Fling
Mindfulness and Mortality

Crematorium Attendant of the Year
Peter Smith – Gloucester Crematorium
Alistair Anderson – City of London

Best Internet Bereavement Resource
Beyond Goodbye
My Last Song

The Blossom d’Amour Award For Funeral Floristry
Fairmile Florist
Fresh Floral Design, Hillview Florist

Funeral Celebrant of the Year
Karen Imms
George Callendar, Rupert Callender

Cemetery of the Year
Bidwell Woodland Burials

Gravedigger of the Year
Bernard Underdown 
David Yeoman

Funeral Directors of the Year
Simon Smith and Jane Morrell at green fuse
Rupert and Claire Callender at The Green Funeral Company

Best Alternative to a hearse
Paul Sinclair, Motorcycle Funerals
Volkswagen Funerals

Book of the Year (published after 1 May 2011)
Making an Exit
Natural Death Handbook

Lifetime Achievement Award
Barry Albin-Dyer
John Mallatrat

Congratulations to you all!

We were conscious of three things above all when we devised this project. First, that it would celebrate the work of a lot of incredibly nice, deserving people who are wholly overlooked. Second, that it was likely to attract the sort of publicity that would redress some of the reputational damage the industry has suffered in the last year. Third, that it risked dashing hopes and creating unhappiness.

We scored high marks on 1 and 2. In addition to being filmed for an hour-long TV documentary to be screened in November, Mark Elliott, embalmer, spoke on R4’s Saturday Live. If you didn’t hear him, and Edwina Currie’s response, find it here. Oh, and there could be something in the Sun.

Regarding 3, we did not want anyone to travel any distance only to be disappointed, so our plan was to call both winner and runner-up to the stage and invite them both to speak. It would have diminished any perceived gap between them and, because there was so little gap anyway, it seemed appropriate. We were compelled by the TV people to scrap that at the last minute because we had run out of time, and that was distressing and regrettable. I’d like to say how sorry we are to all runners-up, conscious that sorry really isn’t good enough. (For some, there will be consolation that, in the documentary, they will get a lot more air time.)

Perhaps most surprising was the view of, I think, everyone I talked to afterwards that an awards ceremony has to create suspense and whoop-whoop at the expense of the downcast oh-so-close.

Do tell us what you think about concept and execution. Our default position is self-critical, so no praise, please.

My apologies if the above lacks lucidity, but I am very tired!

If you have any photos of the event, it would be a very great kindness if you would send them in. Needless to say, I took none. I’ll mount them as a slideshow in a forthcoming post.



  1. Charles

    I would like to congratulate a very special person MARK ELLIOTT on receiving EMBALMER OF THE YEAR very much deserved to a very hard working .thoughtful ,careing young man (and of course he is my son ).Looking forward to the tv programme lots of love all the family xx

  2. Charles

    What can we say apart from what a Fantastic weekend it was. Charles and Brian and all the people who put the weekend together congrats to all of you because it was fantastic. As well as learning and taking part etc made lots of lovely new friends. Thank you to everyone who nominated me for the Embalmer of the Year award. Myself and Ann enjoyed the whole event fantastic roll on next year. lots of love Mark and Ann

  3. Charles

    I think under the circumstances – TV is both blessing and curse – the awards went brilliantly well. The venue – a basement that at times felt like the inside of a cremator – was perhaps less successful. No doubt you will learn from the experience. You must not let that detract from the obvious success and frankly joy of the event. To see and hear so many like minded people together gives me hope that perhaps – just perhaps – the number of people who actually care about improving the death and funeral experience in Britain is growing and may yet become significant. Fingers crossed we can make things better.

  4. Charles

    Congratulations to you all! Wonderful to see hard work & dedication rewarded, especially in an industry that gets so overlooked by the ‘we don’t talk about death & dying’ brigade.

    It sounds as though it was a successful event and weekend. Well done to all concerned!


  5. Charles

    The nature of awards ceremonies is that there are winners and those who were nominated but didn’t win. The important fact is that this was a gathering of like minded individuals whose organisations are at the leading edge of a movement that will provide people with an improved, more personal, more positive ‘death and funeral experience’, in the words of David Holmes.
    The front edge of the baby boomer generation are now having to contemplation their mortality, and they won’t be satisfied with the ‘cut and paste’ anonymity and dreariness of much of the offering. The group that collected at Bournemouth on Friday (and I wish could have stayed for the weekend) will benefit from being with similar pioneers. It was more about being there than winning.
    Well done to Charles and Brian for the work they put in. And quite right to give the film crew the freedom required to make what I hope will be a much viewed and positive programme on how the death and dying movement is changing. If we’re dealing with the leading edge of the boomer generation, the future market will be very big indeed. That’s what winning will look like to those who took part in the Joy of Death weekend.

  6. Charles

    Anything that can help to support, recognise and encourage all of those who are trying to improve the quality of funerals is surely a good thing? Next time wider publicity around selecting nominees would be good but perhaps this will be easier with media attention? Hopefully the awards will encourage others not to be complacent in their work and to look positively and actively at how to adapt and develop. On a personal note, how refreshing to see passion, excellence and integrity being rewarded. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity of meeting several of the winners and nominees well done everyone!

  7. Charles

    I can’t really add much to what Paul has just said. The rolling stone is gaining momentum….the fact that these awards exist and have generated positive interest in the media would have been inconceivable not so long ago.

    Congratulations to all who were nominated…an amazing achievement. We are looking forward to pictures and comments and, of course, the TV programme. Won’t make up for having missed the best show in town, of course, but its a start!!!

    Well done to all, especially Charle and Brian.

  8. Charles

    Huge congratulations to Brian and Charles, for all the work that goes into getting an event like this off the ground and rolling from a standing start. Well done all the nominees and of course the winners of the GFG Awards. I wish I could have been there, but everything I’m hearing and reading tells me it was an exciting, inspiring and successful event!

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