The years have flown by…

This year marks 65 years since I began working in the funeral industry, and the years have flown by. It’s been a privilege and great pleasure, although hard work at times, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I started work in 1957 at WH Shepherd, straight after I left school… I was just 15 years old. It was the only thing I remember ever wanting to do. But the shiny black cars were a factor too. I loved the cars.

I joined as a trainee funeral director and worked very hard to learn everything I could. It was so interesting. I learned how to make coffins, bear at funerals, conduct funerals, and to clean the cars… and I cleaned the cars so many times.

It’s one of the things that hasn’t changed… the cars have to be perfect for the families!

Becoming a Managing Director

I became Managing Director of the company when I was still quite young, in my late twenties. When you love what you do, you work hard at it.

It wasn’t until 1983 that Melanie and I bought Geo. Paskell in Manningtree, the first branch of what became the Hunnaball Family Funeral Group. We also had a flower shop, and a successful car hire company which allowed me to indulge my love of classic cars at the same time as supporting our new business with limousines.

What a journey it’s been since those days. We no longer have a florist shop or car hire business, but the Hunnaball Family Funeral Group serves people from across Essex and Suffolk. We have 11 branches, a service centre, training centre, memorial department, and a garden of rest. We’re a true family business. Five of our six directors are members of the Hunnaball family (the sixth is a close friend), and we have a fantastic team across our business, all of whom we think of as our work family.

We’ve conducted thousands of funerals; including cremations, burials at sea, in woodland, in gardens, and so much more. We serve every religion and none, work with people from many different cultures, and it’s been a privilege, a joy, and hard work…

There is nothing I would rather be doing.

About Hunnaball Family Funeral Group

As I look back, I can only be grateful. The business we’ve built is defined by compassion and professionalism, with the highest standards of service. People know when a funeral has been conducted by the Hunnaball Family Funeral Group for all the best reasons.

I’ve also seen lots of positive change in 65 years. An increase in equality in the funeral industry with our iconic ‘Ladies in Hats’, woodland burials, proper training and professional qualifications, the growth of the hospice movement, mental health awareness, open discussion of the issues surrounding death, and so much more.

During 2022, I will post a blog every month. I want to consider the funeral industry through the eyes of 65 years in the industry. But, first and foremost, as we start a new year, I am simply thankful for a very blessed life and a most rewarding career. And more, for the people I share them with.