When the GFG first pressed its impertinent urchin nose to the window of Funeralworld and started commenting on what went on, responses from the inhabitants were predictably growly. Unaccustomed to consumer scrutiny, and holding themselves in a somewhat tender self-regard, many undertakers muttered reproachfully. Well, sorry, but consumer scrutiny is what you get in any market; and as for funerals, they belong to all of us.
When we announced the first-ever Good Funeral Awards last year we didn’t kid ourselves about how our Just-William initiative would be received. The cheek! Who in heaven’s name were we to go around bestowing Oscars on the Dismal Trade’s finest?
The outcome was a glittering evening filmed by Sky. One of the winners, together with a speaker at the festival, were interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live. All the winners got coverage in their local media. When our gravedigger of the year, Bernard Underdown (Dickens himself could not have dreamed up a better surname), went to church the following Sunday he got a standing ovation from the congregation.
Verdict: the urchins are actually rather well-informed observers and they did a pretty good job of making the world a happier place.
Which is why we did it, dammit. And it’s why we are doing it again.
Because, for all that it’s a fun event, it is also a very serious one. It’s fun, but it’s not frivolous.
Some of the best and nicest people in Britain work in the funeral industry. Someone needs to tell their stories.
And if the result is media coverage, better understanding of a much-misunderstood industry and greater engagement with dying and death, that’s a result.
Whether you can come or not, please, please nominate someone you know and admire for an award. You can do that here.
Most Promising New Funeral Director
Embalmer of the Year
The Eternal Slumber Award for Coffin Supplier of the Year
Most Significant Contribution to the Understanding of Death
Crematorium Attendant of the Year
Best Internet Bereavement Resource
The Blossom d’Amour Award For Funeral Floristry
Funeral Celebrant of the Year
Cemetery of the Year Award
Gravedigger of the Year
Best Funeral Arranger
The Bereavement Register
Funeral Director of the Year
Best Alternative to a Hearse
Green Funeral Director of the Year
Lifetime Achievement Award
We very much hope you will be able to come. You can book here.
Lastly, you can watch the documentary about last year’s awards on 18 July at 8.30 on Sky1 Details here.
The Good Funeral Awards 2013 will be presented by Pam St Clement, no stranger to death