Fran Hall

 

Lorraine Aitken of Young’s Independent Funeral Directors

Often the most recognisable face of many funeral businesses, the role of funeral arranger is a critically important one. It is the arranger who builds relationships with families, who becomes the trusted friend and advisor and who ensures that all the details are taken care of.

All finalists this year demonstrate outstanding people skills and the ability to empathise with clients from all walks of life and are commended by the judges.

This year’s runner ups were chosen for their sensitivity and listening skills which are a clear asset to their work, and for the impact they both have on families they serve.

This year’s winner was selected because of the glowing testimonials received, in particular this one from her employer; ‘Her ability to provide light and comfort at the worst time in people life’s is truly remarkable and her naturally humble and caring nature means she often shares her success with those around her. She is a people person in the truest sense. Quite simply she was meant to do the job!’

The Winner is Lorraine Aitken, from Young’s Independent Funeral Directors

Runners Up – Barbara Scrimshaw from Edd Frost & Daughters & Persephone Salway from A. Monger Funeral Directors

 

 

Award photograph by Jayne Lloyd

Category Sponsor – National Repatriation

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Fran Hall

           Andrew Leverton of Leverton & Sons

The funeral world is not known for being overly environmentally friendly, with large hearses and limousines travelling slowly to the place of committal. It is heartening therefore for there to be entries in this category, albeit with only four finalists.

The runner up in this category uses earth friendly coffins only, everyday transport rather than a hearse, and garden sourced flowers rather than imported shop bought arrangements.

The winner of the most eco-friendly funeral director is addressing the issue of reducing emissions in the industry in a number of ways, through digitalizing their company procedures as much as possible, providing information online to reduce print costs, and perhaps most importantly through their development introduction and regular use of their Eco hearse and accompanying family car.

By leading the way for traditional funeral directors to think innovatively about their carbon footprint, this company deserves to be applauded and widely recognised.

The Winner is Leverton & Sons

Runner Up – Woodland Wishes

 

Award photograph by Jayne Lloyd

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Fran Hall

         Tony Foster of Fosters Funeral Directors

 

With the issue of funeral poverty (or funeral affordability) very much in the media, providing quality undertaking service at low cost is a goal that many businesses are aspiring to.  There were eight finalists in this category, and all provide excellent value for money for their low cost funerals.

The runner up has introduced an innovative approach to low cost funeral provision through partnership with local funeral directors, driving a change which could impact the whole funeral industry through provision of the lowest cost funerals with high quality service.

The winner was selected not only for their consistently high standards at affordable prices and their transparency of costs, but also for their determination to address often misleading information about the cost of a funeral put out by life insurance companies with vested interests by investing in an awareness raising advertising campaign on television and radio proudly comparing their prices with large corporate companies.

Winner – Fosters Funeral Directors

Runner up – Memoria Low Cost Funerals Ltd

 

Award photograph by Jayne Lloyd

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Fran Hall

              Holly Clarke of Holly’s Funerals

Direct cremation is a fast-growing area of the funeral sector, and there are many direct cremation companies opening around the UK, with most funeral directors providing direct cremation as an option.

The runner up in this category is a quality provider of a direct cremation service, with ongoing telephone support for families.

The winner demonstrates though this excerpt from their entry that direct cremation, while being a cheaper alternative for families, does not necessarily mean less care is taken:

‘We believe that even though this may be a ‘cheaper option’ we still support the families as much as if they were paying for a full service. We include them as much as we can. We advise that they can come and decorate the coffin, they can send us personal letters, pictures to place in the coffin, we read these to the deceased. Once in their coffin, as with all our guests, we bless them, placing dried rose petals around them. We ask the family whether their loved one had any favourite pieces of music, if so we create a playlist that we play on their last journey to the crematorium. We always let families know what time we will be leaving so that they can be with us in spirit. A direct cremation is no less sacred than a ‘traditional’ cremation. We always follow up to see how families are, whether they need any extra support.’

Winner – Holly’s Funerals

Runner Up – Respect Direct Funeral Services

 

Award photograph by Jayne Lloyd

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

 

Fran Hall

     Richard Hooker from Mortlake Crematorium

For such an important role, there were surprisingly few nominations in this category this year, resulting in just three finalists. The judges hope that next year far more celebrants and funeral directors will nominate these unsung heroes who oversee thousands of funerals each year, ensuring that everything goes to plan.

Picking a winner from the three finalists wasn’t easy, but it was eventually decided on by the testimony of the crematorium buy cialis 20mg online manager, who wholeheartedly endorsed this person for their quiet, gentle nature, their kindness and generosity, their complete reliability and their care for their work.

Winner – Richard Hooker at Mortlake Crematorium

Runners up – Paul Jansen at Golders Green Crematorium and the team at Cardiff Crematorium Thornhill

 

Category sponsor: The Association of Independent Celebrants

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

 Award photograph by Jayne Lloyd

 

 

Fran Hall

                                     The team from Memoria Ltd.

This category had a good field of entrants this year, with 13 finalists and entries citing facilities, environmental issues, service times, fees, bereavement services, training, events and grounds maintenance.

Selecting a winner from among these entries was not easy, and the judges ended up with three deserving runners up which all deserve mention.

The winner was decided both on the quality of facilities and staff and the testimonials from families and funeral directors:

Winner: South Oxfordshire Crematorium and Memorial Park

Runners up: Kettering Crematorium, Mortlake Crematorium and Seven Hills Crematorium

 

Category sponsor: Scattering Ashes

The 2017 Good Funeral Awards were generously sponsored by Greenfield Creations

Photograph by Jayne Lloyd

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