A year of possibilities and purpose

words: Mark Horton, 1st Vice President, National SAIF
Mark Horton

It is the start of a new year and with every new year comes challenges, excitement and the unknown, but never more so than this year for me.

As the incoming president for SAIF this March, I am looking forward to what the year ahead is going to bring. I could liken my feelings to that of His Majesty King Charles III ahead of his Coronation later in the year. That, however, may be a slight exaggeration albeit relevant, as at the end of the day we are both just men taking on the task of being ambassadors and hoping we are going to get it right!

During my year as president, we also have some big family events including my daughter getting married, my dad turning 80 and my granddaughter who has just been born starting to grow and develop into a one-year-old. All these things highlight that no matter what stage in a business someone is at, or how many funerals they do a year compared to another funeral directors, we are all the same and just people with families and lives outside of the profession that need our attention but sometimes get neglected due to our funeral commitments.

Finding the balance between work and home life, I think, is one of our biggest challenges, as for a lot of us, we do not see our profession as ‘work’, it is just what we believe we were meant to do. For a short period, we must give our time and be with these families – as we would with our own families in the same situation – since we are the ones who can help them, guide them, and support them in their grief. Normally this is while we are looking after multiple bereaved families in exactly the same way, making them feel they are the only ones who need your attention at that point.

This is where the balance can become difficult, however we must give ourselves time whenever we can to keep our own sanity. Family, friends, and hobbies are important and doing what we do and seeing how delicate life can be highlights this to us every day, yet we often put our own lives on the back burner.

This has helped me decide what my New Year’s resolution will be – treat myself, my family and my life with the care, compassion, and time that I give to others. Time may be something of a luxury during my year as president, so having an awareness of this and using the free time I have in the right way will in turn help me help everyone as I will be mentally fit and able to do so.

I’m sure my wife Becky may not be as impressed with my resolution as my free time will be no doubt be spent more with motorbikes, vintage trucks and whatever else I dream up that day. I keep threatening to build a fairground at which point she tells me I will be forced to run away with it if I do so, maybe I should spend a little of that time with her, just to sweeten the deal.

I’m so looking forward to meeting you all and hopefully many of you will attend our current President Jo Parker’s banquet in March at The Spa Hotel, Royal Tunbridge Wells. For those of you I haven’t met before, I hope over the next year, we will get the chance to, and you will meet the real me – that is a normal bloke that 25 years ago decided what he wanted to do in life and after many years of doing it for other companies, 13 years ago made it a reality for himself.

Happy New Year and good health to you all and your families.

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