I’ve been involved with trade associations for most of my 65 years in the funeral industry and the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) is the largest and most significant. The NAFD, of which we’re very proud members, play a key role in the funeral industry and, as far as I’m concerned, have been a real force for progress.

The NAFD

They were founded in 1905, as the British Undertaker’s Association, changing their name in 1935 to the National Association of Funeral Directors. They exist to uphold the highest possible standards within the funeral industry, represent industry interests to Government and the general public, and provide education and training for people working within the funeral sector.

My involvement

I was 18 when Mr Shephard, who was my employer and mentor, took me along to a meeting of the local association of Essex and Suffolk. He was local chairman on a number of occasions, as well as 2nd Vice President of the National Association, and I’ve been a part of things ever since.

Over the years, I’ve served on any number of local and national NAFD committees; including Education, Discipline, the International Committee, and the Churches Funeral Group. I’ve been a local and national chair, a Trustee, and, in 1995, I was privileged to become National President. This is something which I feel sure Mr. Shephard would have been proud of, since he passed away before he was able to serve as President. I’ve also made some wonderful friends among colleagues in the industry and had a great deal of fun.

During my time as President, I was able to visit meetings in every area of the UK and to see the positive work the NAFD do first hand. As I say, it was a real privilege.

The benefits

As a funeral director, I believe that the people I serve should receive the best possible quality of care and service and our membership of the NAFD helps to deliver it by, among other things…

  • Representing the industry at Government level.
  • Making members aware of developments and changes in their industry.
  • Support and guiding members as they implement changes.
  • Producing resources for education.
  • Offering qualifications that enable funeral directors and their employees to do their jobs well.
  • Giving a forum for funeral directors to meet and share best practice.

Hopes for the future

Inevitably, after 65 years in the funeral industry, my involvement is limited these days. But I trust and believe that the NAFD will continue to be a positive and invaluable help for both the funeral industry and the people we serve. There’s no doubt that there have been funeral directors with less than exemplary practices, but the NAFD can help ensure they are few and far between, because its members have all the guidance and support they need to serve with excellence and integrity.