By Laura Love
It is a job that you probably won’t hear many children mention to a careers advisor.
But while many might disregard the idea of becoming a funeral director, those that have actually chosen this career path say the job is rewarding and one that should not be dismissed
So what does it actually take to be a funeral director?
We have spoken to Jamie Thomson, owner of Rose Funerals in Middlesbrough and Stockton, to tell us just that.
Since he quit his offshore job several years ago, his company has gone from strength to strength – so much so that he recently expanded his business inside the former Balcony Hotel in Hardwick, Stockton.
Here he tell us exactly what being a funeral director is like.
How did this all start?
“I was working as a mechanical technician offshore but I wanted my own business.
“I started off by making headstones – my mate had a granite workshop and I started making them from there.
“Then one day someone said to me ‘why don’t you offer the full service’ and it just grew from there.
What is a typical day for you?
“No day is the same working as a funeral director.
“After meeting with the relatives and finding out what type of funeral they want, the funeral arrangements need to be co-ordinated. At this stage though it is so important to ask the family about the person who has passed away, looking at some photos, getting to know them so that they can be remembered in a meaningful way and involvement from the family is key.
“There is paperwork to prepare and submit such as cremation/burial forms, medical certificates and coroner’s reports. We will then collect the family’s loved one and bring them into our care.
“Within a funeral home, there are procedures that we carry out such as hygienic treatment and dressing of the family’s loved one. Once we have taken care of them, we will then lay them to rest in our chapel. Families can then come to visit or alternatively on occasion have them resting at home with them before the day of the funeral.
“‘Would you like a humanist, celebrant, priest for the service?’ ‘Do you want a cremation or burial for your loved one?’ ‘What music would you like to be played at the service?’ ‘How many family limousines?’ ‘Would you like a horse-drawn carriage?’ ‘Any particular route on their last journey?’ These are some of the questions that are asked during the time of meeting.
“We will sit and discuss types of coffins from a simple oak veneered coffin to a tailor-made coffin to American caskets.
Some families gain comfort from the traditional funeral but gaining in popularity is a more relaxed approach and celebrating the life of the person.
“We sit with families and prepare an order of service, this will be given at the funeral service. On occasions we also have a large canvas printed of their loved one, again only if the family wishes.
“Obituary notices, floral tributes and organising of the funeral reception are all discussed with the family and arranged by ourselves at the familiy’s request.
“We like to stay in touch with our families throughout this experience, making sure that they have no questions that may be playing on their mind.
“Once the funeral has taken place, we make each family aware that we are still here for them whether that be calling in for a coffee or a simple phone call.”
How do you deal with people’s emotions?
“We empathise with families when losing a loved one, we understand that it is a difficult time.
“Our compassionate team are always here and having someone there to help, support and guide you is essential.”
What makes a good funeral director?
“A good funeral director must have a passion for their job and to be a caring person who is willing to go that extra mile.
“Compassion, dedication, integrity and respect are the core values in everything that we do here at Rose Funerals.”
Why become a funeral director?
“Every day, we help families through the toughest time of their lives. The job is challenging but the reward is invaluable.
“Money can’t buy the response you get from families when you’ve helped them face their grief and made them feel supported.”