Jim Auld: Engagement matters

words: Jim Auld, National SAIF President

Ever get a spell in work when you have a personal connection with nearly every family you are called upon to help – some spanning many years? Well that has been what day-to-day work has been for me these past few weeks.

Since last month I have also attended the Cremation Burial Communication Conference (CBCE) in Southampton – a most interesting conference and I must thank the organisers for their two and a half days of interesting speakers and challenging debate.

Along with David Barrington, President of NAFD, John Proffitt, President of the FBCA, and the Right Rev. Christopher Foster, the Bishop of Portsmouth, I participated in the President’s Panel, chaired by Harvey Thomas OBE.

Questions were challenging and the hour passed very quickly. I came away from the conference thinking that we as funeral directors really don’t have as much engagement with our cemetery and crematorium providers as we should.

There is no doubt our profession is changing faster than it has ever done in our lifetime. Only yesterday we had a service at a new crematorium about an hour from my office in the West Scotland Clyde Coast and Garnock Valley Crematorium, set in a spectacular location near Largs. The building’s location and light and airy feel gave the family an opportunity to say goodbye in a fitting way.

Still on the subject of new crematoriums, I attended the opening of another, Westerleigh Group Crematorium at North Wiltshire Crematorium, on 17th July. I must say the welcome from Westerleigh is always so friendly and, as Associate Members of SAIF themselves, I know they truly value fellow members who use their facilities throughout the UK.

I attended the regional meeting in early July hosted by Bradnam Joinery in Suffolk, again a well-attended evening, our Associate Members have hosted many meetings this year and it certainly has been informative and enjoyable – all the time raising money for my charity, Breast Cancer Care.

While at the Regional Meeting I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Claire and the team in the national office, to start planning the AGM weekend for 13th-15th March , 2020.

It will be held in the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow, and it promises to be a great weekend, please put the date in your diary now.

I hope most of our members and readers manage a break over the next few weeks, I know I have no SAIF events now until September so this will allow me to recharge the batteries and hopefully get some time in the garden, this hot humid weather is great for the weeds.

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