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From Miner to Funeral Manager



When people find a new job, they often choose something thats similar to their old job. Former soldiers enter the police or prison service. Retired sportsmen become P.E. teachers or personal trainers. But how many ex-miners become embalmers? At least one: Mark Alexander from Mansfield. When he accepted redundancy in 1993, he’d been working as a miner since he left school in 1984. He wasn’t sure of his next step, but he met a funeral director by chance in a pet shop where he was buying seed for his pet canaries. He mentioned that he was looking for work and was told that embalming offered big opportunities. The skills were difficult to learn, but that meant good embalmers were always in demand. He thought it over and decided to try the profession, using part of his redundancy money to enrol in training overseen by the British Institute of Embalmers. With the qualifications he earned, he began work at Co-Operative Funeralcare. Twenty years later, he’s just been presented with a Long Service Reward and is grateful for that chance meeting in a pet shop. His training as an embalmer has given him a trade, provided him with job security and enabled him to serve the community in a “caring position”. He’s also noticed how funerals have changed during his time in the profession. Once they followed long-established tradition, using a hearse and limousine. Now they’re a celebration of the departed person’s life and are being tailored to suit individual preferences. Consumer choice has become more and more important in the funeral business and Mark Alexander is helping to satisfy it as a regional manager for Co-Operative Funeralcare, overseeing 27 funeral homes and managing dozens of staff. He made a long journey from miner to funeral manager and the funeral business has made a long journey too. But that journey isn’t over: the business will continue to evolve, trying to satisfy the increasing detail and sophistication of consumer demands. Funeral plans are one of the fast-changing parts of the business. The cost of living isn’t falling and neither is the cost of dying. In fact, funerals are increasing in price much faster than the standard rate of inflation. Funeral plans are an excellent way to beat those rising prices. You agree a fixed price now and then enjoy permanent security and peace of mind, knowing that you won’t pay a penny extra, no matter when the funeral takes place. But price is only half the story. Funeral plans also allow you to decide exactly how a funeral will be conducted. Do you want a traditional service in church and graveyard burial? If that’s your preference, that’s exactly what you can choose as a funeral plan. But if you want something different, like a secular service or burial in an eco-friendly woodland setting, you can incorporate that just as easily into your funeral plan. There’s no pressure and no hurry: Safe Hands’ funeral plans are designed to allow not just maximum savings, but maximum choice and convenience. A funeral plan allows you to get one big worry out of the way, so that you can get on with what you want to do with your life.
National Federation of Funeral Directors