A big day for Family Funeral Service and the staff.
Well I think it’s a big day. I was up at Medway Crematorium early today and the place was beautiful and peaceful, pretty much as you would imagine.
Very lovely in the early morning sunshine.
And nobody about to ask me why I am taking pictures. Then a little while later, family members started to gather for a funeral and the funeral director is none other than my son Robert. Great that we are now a third generation Funeral Directors. Not many of those in the county.
and here he is.
Rather interestingly, when he drove as the hearse driver for the first time, he drove for me. On that funeral, a driver came around the corner and swerved straight into a tree! Just drive on Robert… Anyway on this funeral, another person (different one I hope) drove into a lamp post. Peculiar coincidence Robert….
Of course when I was a lad……
Promotion at last. Hurrah! Robert, how many times do I have to ask for someone to clear the weeds outside the front of the office. Kids! Yeh Dad. I’ll get on to it. But they are still there growing away quite happily. Before long we will need an Amazon Jungle explorer to get the clients to the front door. No matter Robert. I’ll get on with it for you.
Just to show that they are always on the lookout for the least little mark or blemish, here is our faithful Phil, a great member of staff. I was conducting a funeral from the Barming office and noticed a stone chip on the side of the hearse. Its a large black shiny are with this white chip showing through I don’t know why they don’t used black primer!
Anyway faithful Phil to the rescue. Out comes his emergency repair kit. Just like a boy scout. Of course we all stood around and watched, not thinking at all of helping him out. Why he has to get it all over himself is beyond me. I suppose he thinks it makes him look more engrossed. Just make sure you get it off Phil.
Teas made everyone
On a recent visit to the office I found Rick consumed with biscuits! All sort of them. Anyway I took his mind off them by insisting on a cup of tea, and you can see the result. Another one not at all keen to be photographed, but I think there is an ulterior motive. He doesn’t want Deb to see he can make the tea!
Such a nice chap, but he does tend to hide the biscuits! I’ll let all the staff know where he hides them.
This page was added (Oct 2012) when we had our first lady funeral director, complete her first funeral. I’m very keen on you only having to remember one name. So, you will arrange the funeral with the same person who comes to your door on the day of the funeral. That is the best way to have real continuity and quality service.
Staff Funeral Director Kim Barton
(Posted 2014) Kim has been arranging funerals for clients for many years, and during the last few months we have polished up her performance and set her on her way to becoming a fully qualified funeral director. Kim is currently (April 2017) taking her Dip FAA qualification along with several other staff. Part of this qualification requires that you have conducted a certain number of funeral services, and with this one today, Kim is at the start of this process.
I didn’t just send her off into the rain and hope for the best! Happily it was a wet day! Because if you are going to do this sort of work, you may as well get all the difficult aspects in one go. So Kim got nicely wet riding on the horse drawn hearse. I didn’t really laugh Kim.
This was Kim helping to load the flowers into the motor hearse. There were quite a few flowers but they did all fit, just about. Kim hates this picture, but I won’t allow it to be removed. She has no sense of humour! On occasions, we supply the motor hearse to take flowers, when the coffin is in a horse drawn hearse. Horse drawn hearses are not great for flowers as they are quite small inside. Flowers can go on the roof, but they do get soaked and bashed about by the weather. Just like us really.
You can see how big a Gates of Heaven tribute is here. And the horses getting into the shot too.
Michael! This hearse has legs!!
At least she is on the right side now. And dare I say she had to slightly raise her skirt? Ah well, its fairly obvious that’s what she had to do. Steady Kim, looks a bit wobbly! Its very fortunate that her shoe did not get stuck in the wheel. Hmmmm. Made it! Actually just before this picture, Kim had her arms wrapped around the driver, who was rather taken aback. But I just missed it with the camera. It was rather funny actually. I think the driver enjoyed it really Kim. I have to say Kim is a very accomplished horsewoman, with quite some experience of horses, so she was never in any real trouble. Shame really. When I have a horse drawn funeral to carry out, I cling on for dear life, until I can happily get off at the other end!
Michael, I’m going to get you for this!
So, she did it. The first one. No problems. Nice and smooth. She did get wet, but probably not wet enough! She did come with me before this funeral, as she had for some time, to watch and learn what happens on a funeral. The things to be ready for. The things to be wary of.
As I said earlier, she has been arranging funerals for many years, but it was time to take the next step. This particular day we all got very very wet, and when we got back to the office I mentioned to Kim that her hair was a bit wavy. Hmmm she said crossly. A little while later it moved from wavy to frizzy. Hmmm and a few huffs thrown in for good measure, and some of that head flicking thing that women do when they are cross, but can’t quite think what to do about it. (You men will know exactly what I mean)
Anyway, about an hour later, well I can’t say what I said her hair looked like. However, some of our less p.c. bearer staff offered to go the the petrol station and get her some anti-frizz! She wasn’t amused in the slightest. She gave them one of those “drop dead” looks and I think she could have floored any one of them that day!
If you arrange the funeral with Kim, you will be in excellent hands. She is a very kind lady and I like to think of her as a friend too. Finally, here is the picture that Kim wanted on the website. Bit of a big head really but lets hope she doesn’t read that here otherwise I could be in trouble. Its just because she had the chance to pose for the camera and brush her frizzy hair! Actually when you look more carefully, its more of a grimace. She is now tired, wet, and emotionally drained. Its the families day of course with memories and emotions running very high. But funerals do leave the staff drained when we have finished them. We frequently have headaches and feel weary when we get back to the office. Kim has a crafty bar of chocolate to make her feel better.
Kim has just arrived back from a funeral (3rd July 2019) and is feeling slightly warm on this lovely day. So I had to get a quick photo and of course I got all the normal blah blah blah!
Then I pushed my luck and said “open the door”. Another lovely picture but the look says it all!
Staff Funeral Director Michael Lawrence
I suppose, that having tormented everyone else for their pictures, it is only reasonable to add one of me too. All their excuses about “oh I hate that picture” and “that makes my bum look big” have been ignored. For me of course the rule doesn’t apply and I managed to get a half decent picture of me from David.
He takes good pictures, usually, however the subject (me) was sadly lacking on this occasion. It looks like I am polishing my shoes on the back of my trousers but I’m not. Honestly. What a misery. But the sun was shining in my face at the time. I like the sun, don’t get me wrong. This was at Medway Crematorium during the first part of their rebuilding works. It’s getting better every day now. New planting too. Anyway me. I’ve been arranging and conducting funerals since I was 19. The first burial I carried out on my own, was for a Mrs Woolven at Maidstone Cemetery. I still see the grave now when I go.
Before that I was only allowed to wash the wheels of the hearse for pocket money when I started all those years ago. My mother and step father were funeral directors in Maidstone, and his father before him, etc… Now i have over 40 years experience, and I’m still learning new things all the time. I have to say that the staff do all the work, and they look after me so well. I’m a very lucky man to have such a great team working with me. Right you lot, back to work!
Staff Funeral Director Rick Moore
Rick, (actually Richard but he prefers Rick) has been working within the company for a while now. He has been asking for an office of “his own” so that he can progress to being a Funeral Director. Finally he has taken the next step to becoming our newest Funeral Director. The full uniform! I thought it was blue when I saw it but its a very smart grey waistcoat.
So here he is. Fine figure of a man. And he has our brand new hearse just about to run him over! Lee looks a little jealous so I’d watch your heals Rick.
The “new boy” Robert Lawrence
Just before Christmas 2014, my son Robert joined the company he is having his leg pulled by the existing staff but he is settling in well. This is Robert on Friday 15th May, when he drove the hearse for the first time.
Robert makes us a three generation company and I’m thrilled to have him with us. The first time I went out with Robert, we were leaving the house slowly, “nice and slow Robert, yes Dad, keep it nice and slow Robert, yes Dad!” And just then a car came round the bend, its driver took one look at us and promptly drove his car straight into a tree! “Dad, Dad!” “Nice and slow Robert” I said. Christmas party 2013 Now, I could be in trouble here, because I took some pictures at the staff Christmas party this year, and I have included them below. If I am not seen around for a while, perhaps somebody could notify Interpol, as they will have sent me to Istanbul or some such place! Please remember that we are all very serious at work, but like every serious occupation, all the staff do like to let our hair down! So. Kim, don’t panic its a nice picture! Matthew, then Sarah and Posh, and right at the far end you can just see Rob’s cute little face.
On the other side Mark is looking and he looks a little glum, which is odd because whilst he is little, he’s not glum at all. It was funny as everyone arrived, Mark was very smart in a suit, and everyone else was casual. I should have told him it was casual, but I’m mean like that!
Beware, man eaters at large.
Here you can see Emma in her more natural pose, talking! She is possibly saying something which I can’t repeat. But as I am rather deaf in one ear I can’t repeat it anyway. Sarah is probably encouraging her because they stick together these women you know. Brave is the man or boss who tries to get the better of them.
See what I mean! Brave indeed. Mind you these two man eaters brought their respective chaps with them. To be honest I thought they were a couple of really nice blokes. What on earth they are doing with …… Er, change of subject I think. I know its blurred. But the next few pictures are really funny. Kim will definitely kill me. I think she had a cocktail stick in her glass just before this, but it fell out….. This was Kim telling me how much it was going to hurt if I even attempted to get it back….. She does like a drink too……or should that be two! Mind you I look the right colour to be a serious drinker, which of course I am not. (quiet you lot) Bless her. This is Posh trying to look Posh. Kim looking like she wants me to go away. What fun I had that night. Now this is a saint. The lady not the man, and she isn’t even a member of staff!. How, or maybe that should be why Carol has put up with this man for so long is beyond us all. She is such a sweetie and Rob doesnt know how lucky he is. This was Carol explaining a joke…. ….yes, he got it! Bless him. And just so that he doesn’t say “where’s my picture”, here is little Mark and his lovely wife Sylvia. Mark is another funny chap. He does all our fire training as an ex fire officer himself. Its one of those subjects we all have to know, but bless you Mark, and I know you’re only doing your job, but it is the most boring subject.
And his lovely wife Sylvia, who is always smiling. Even in the middle of the night when I ring Mark for work, Sylvia is always chirpy. I suppose because she knows she will get the bed to herself for a few hours!
So here they all are, in all their gory, sorry glory! Myself and Kim from Bearsted, then Posh and Matthew from Barming, Sarah from Strood, Emma from Walderslade, Rob Mark and David who also work from the Walderslade office.
There are a few missing as somebody has to be on call! Thank you to you all. Its been an interesting year. Lots of challenges as funerals are getting more and more unusual almost every day. You’re all lovely, honest. Now go home and give me some peace.
Bowling party for Christmas
It has been a privilege to work together with the, I want to say people, but they have become more than that. They have become friends. As we all had such a good time at Christmas together, I thought it was time to do it all again. So we went bowling. It turns out that we have a little dark horse in the company, Trevor appears to be rather good at this! We were roundly thrashed by him. Very well done Trevor. (Next time he will have to have a handicap, something like, bowling with a blindfold!) Shirley was there as my new partner, eventually to be my wife!
Sadly not everyone was with us again, as some had to be on standby. I think we will definitely have to try harder to get everyone together next time. (No excuses anyone!)