Richard Ward. Still fairly recently established in Enderby, but with 30 years of funeral service behind him. It all began for him at 17 when he was waiting to be old enough to train as a nurse. The Youth Opportunity Programme asked him if he wanted to be a trainee embalmer for six months and, because it was vocation related, Richard said yes. He’s never looked back. He qualified first as an embalmer, then as a funeral director (Dip FD), and has worked with independent companies and also, in senior positions, with corporate funeral directors and 6 years in senior management at the Co-operative. He decided to set up on his own, a brave thing to do, because “I believe bereaved families are best looked after by families.” Yes, this really is a family business. Richard’s brother is on the payroll and he has worked with his close colleague Helen for so many years she is like a member of the family too. Richard lectures and trains worldwide with the ICRC (the International Red Cross). He’s a consultant with a disaster management company for which he is the Director for Europe and the Middle East. As you can see, he’s a very capable and considerable person. Richard is married with two small children. He’s in his mid-40s but he still plays a mean game of rugby (second row). He also golfs and plays squash. He’s a qualified rugby coach, a longstanding member of the Leicester Round Table and a member of the 41 Club.
Richard’s inclination is towards formality and, here’s the important thing, if that’s what you want then there’s no faulting his turnout. Superb. If, however, that’s not what you want, then Richard will very gladly fall in with whatever dress code you specify. If you don’t want a hearse, then Richard can provide a very suitable, less formal alternative.
What’s important to Richard is best described in his own words. Here they are: “My basic principles, those I have tried to follow all my career, are quite simple: Never do anything for a client family you would not be happy doing for your own flesh and blood. Or to put another way, treat every family or deceased person you look after the same as you would a member of your own family. I get to meet people at the lowest time of their lives. They have in many cases received a hammer blow with their bereavement and I have the opportunity to make a positive difference to those people at that time. And I am fortunate to be able to make my living helping people in that way. That’s why I love being a funeral director.”
Being his own boss means that Richard can do things as he thinks they ought to be done. That means two things. First, going the extra mile to make sure that his clients get what they want. Second, giving his clients all the time in the world to arrange their funeral as they want it. Richard seeks to “ensure that our families’ experience with us exceeds all their expectations and helps prepare them for their lives ahead without their loved one, knowing that their farewell to that loved one has been one that has been fitting, appropriate and meaningful.”
Richard may be steeped in the funeral industry but, as well as being very nice, he is also unusually intelligent and forward looking. Looking to the future he sees evolving consumer expectations and a gradual break with tradition. “I embrace it and am very comfortable with it. I don’t think this should be considered a threat, it is a natural evolution and it is permeating all aspects of the industry. Bring it on!” When it comes to price transparency he is at the forefront. All his charges are listed on his website, together with those of other funeral directors. In addition to great professionalism he offers excellent value for money – see for yourself.
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