“A new chapter has begun”

words: Paul Allcock

I am writing this column on Monday 27 March, the day following the SAIF AGM and banquet weekend, and at 10.15am I will be presiding over the only funeral that I was able to arrange in March. So, it is very much back to business as normal from the minute I walk back into the office.

It is a strange day, as not only has my year as President come to a close, but my daughter Maria, who some of you will have met over the weekend, flies to Mumbai this afternoon to start a six-month contract working in India. It is evident that a new chapter has begun.

That is certainly the case for SAIF and our new President Paul Bowley, who I’m certain will represent us superbly over the next 12 months. I offer Paul my congratulations and very good wishes for a successful and enjoyable year.

The AGM weekend proved to be a very enjoyable and successful event, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended, and those who participated or helped make the weekend run so smoothly.

I arrived on Thursday afternoon, rather sore, following the exertions of the previous three days along with my fellow cyclists Gary Staker, Grant Porteous, David Fry and Lisa Platts. We had great fun on our journey from Berwick upon Tweed to Harrogate, but were all very grateful for a hot bath on arrival. In fact, my personal efforts left me scarred, literally, and so I decided to auction off my bike for my chosen charity MIND at the banquet.

I’m pleased to announce that following a year of fundraising, and with one or two monies still to come in, that we have managed to surpass my original £10,000 target. A huge thank you to everyone who donated during the year, as your efforts will be of huge benefit to so many people suffering with mental health issues.

I would also like to thank all our sponsors of the weekend, without whose support we would not have been able to put on such an appropriate and worthwhile event.

As has been stated previously, we are facing a number of challenges as funeral directors at this time and this is likely to be the case for some years to come. However, the camaraderie that was evident in Harrogate, and I know spreads across the UK within SAIF, will always stand us in good stead to work together to ensure that any challenges presented to us are faced head on.

There undoubtedly is a need for our businesses to evolve, and to embrace new ideas. But we must do this on our own terms and only for the benefit of our businesses and the public we serve.

May I also take this opportunity to thank both Alun Tucker and Linda Jones. Alun has stepped down from his role as Executive Chairman. He has served SAIF with great skill and understanding over the many years he has been involved, and his presence will be sorely missed. Meanwhile, Linda has been at the heart of the daily life of SAIF ensuring that we are all up to date with relevant information, and answering our queries without hesitation. Linda will be leaving us at the end of April, and I would like thank her and Alun for everything they have done for SAIF and wish them both a very enjoyable future.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my term as President of SAIF, and it has been both a privilege and an honour to serve during the last year. I look forward to continuing in my role representing the association within the various Government departments, and will endeavour to ensure that the voice of the Independent is always heard.

Many thanks to everyone I have met over the last year, for making it so memorable, in so many ways.

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