Driver/Bearer wanted

We are looking for a new member for our part time driver/bearer team. We need someone with a full driving licence, this is essential, and the ability to follow instructions and be a good team worker. The job requires physical fitness and smart appearance, reliability and good timekeeping are also important. We offer flexibility and an excellent rate of pay. If you are interested please send us your CV and a covering letter.

Invictus Games

Jonathan Whiting Funeral Directors are very proud to support our Funeral Director, Debbie O’Connell, in her sporting ambitions. Debbie has been training hard for the last few months and all her hard work has paid off with selection for the UK team to compete in the Invictus Games in Sydney in October. Debbie will be competing in the cycling events as well as the 100m, 400m relay and the 1500m. With over 400 applicants for places Debbie has done extremely well to be selected and is immensely proud to be representing her country.

Goodbye Pete

It was with great sadness that we conducted the funeral of our friend and colleague Peter Gray in January. On Tuesday I joined members of Pete’s family at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby. The Centre had long been a major part of Pete’s life, in particular their Lancaster, Just Jane. Pete had volunteered and assisted at the centre for many years, so we had arranged to have his ashes scattered in the propeller wash of the Lancaster on the first taxy day of the year. Unfortunately the aircraft could not taxy on the day due to maintenance issues, but they were still able to run her engines. Mr Panton, one of the brothers who started the museum, personally escorted Pete’s wife and daughter to the rear of the aircraft while the pilot revved the port outer engine. Pete’s ashes were released into the powerful blast from the propeller to be scattered over the airfield. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to a good friend.

Are you messing with us, Pete?

The video shows the third attempt to start the port outer engine, the one being used to scatter Pete’s ashes. It did feel as if he was having a bit of fun at our expense.

Two Green Burials

A couple of weeks ago we carried out two green burials within a few days of each other. They were at different burial grounds so, whilst essentially the same thing, they were very different in their approach.

The first one was at Hill Holt Wood in their recently opened burial ground at Norton Big Wood. The ceremony was held in the Round Room at Hill Holt, led by one of our local secular ceremony officiants. The room was packed to overflowing with mourners, I think it says a lot about a person when so many people take the time to come and pay their respects and say goodbye. After the ceremony we made our way to Big Wood, a drive of a couple of miles on the country lanes to avoid going on the A46. The burial area is a good five minute walk into the woods from the car park, the coffin is carried on a suitably adapted trailer pulled by a small tractor. This might sound a little odd but is entirely in keeping with the feel and ethos of the burial ground. The burials take place in a cleared glade round an old, established oak tree. The number of burials round each tree will be limited but the woodland is large, as the name suggests, so space is not an issue.

The second burial was at Brightwater Green Burial Meadow, near Saxby. On this occasion we all met at the graveside and the brief ceremony was conducted by family members. The mourners then went to the Barn, about half a mile away, which is available for ceremonies and refreshments, to continue with an informal ceremony and an exhibition of the deceased’s photographic work. The burial ground is very different to Hill Holt in that it is open meadow with areas of newly planted trees. At the moment it has a very open feel, with big Lincolnshire skies around you. As the trees grow, the site will change but will always be predominantly a meadow.

It is good to have burial grounds that, whilst offering what is basically the same facility, have such variation in how that is achieved. They are both radically different from the ‘standard’ cemetery with neat cut lawns and rows of headstones and are also different from each other.

Photo Shoot

We have taken advantage of the excellent weather over the last day or two to get some top quality photos of ourselves and the vehicles taken. The location we chose was Lincoln Cathedral, on the south side by the Judgement door. This is the entrance normally used for funerals in the cathedral and, being on the south facing side, is ideal for photos. The pictures were taken by Clive Catton of Octagon Technology (who also do all our IT and web support  http://www.octagontech.com ), a very capable photographer.

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Our hearse with the impressive facade of the Cathedral behind.

Banking

I suppose I always knew this day would come but it was still a bit of a shock when our bank, who have been very supportive of us since we opened the business, have decided to start charging us for our charity account. This is a separate account used only for handling charity donations for clients. As most people give donations in the form of  cheque payable to the charity concerned, the majority of money that passes through this account is cash from the collection plate at the crematorium. Cash is paid in, about a month later a cheque is issued, for the amount paid in, to the nominated charity. Only the charities nominated by bereaved families receive any money from this account, we don’t charge for the time we spend administering donations but now we are going to have to pay for the privilege of handling charity money. It’s a sign of the times I guess.

Office refurbishment

We spent the four days of the Easter break carrying out a much needed refurbishment and decorating of the office. We have tried to make an open, airy and inviting feel to the reception area rather than the rather formal “officey” feel we had before. It is still a work in progress with quite a bit of finishing off to do but we are pleased with result so far, more funeral home than funeral director’s office.

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