New faces, old friends and poignant goodbyes

SAIF President's meetings

I’ve had a busy month, attending the opening of the splendid new crematorium at The Vale, near Evesham, as well as going to the Scottish, the National Executive and the Essex regional meetings. Then it was on to London for the SAIFCharter AGM and Golden Charter Funeral Planner of the Year event. Like I said, a busy month!

On the Saturday morning of the awards weekend, we had presentations from the Chair of the Funeral Service Consumer Standards Review Group (FSCSR) Lewis Shand Smith and our own Chief Executive, Terry Tennens.

It was on to the business of the AGM in the afternoon, which was hugely informative, and it was reassuring to hear that Golden Charter is in good heart. Thanks were also expressed to Julian Walker, outgoing chairman of SAIFCharter, and I welcome new chairman Adam Ginder and wish him well in his new role.

I think everyone had a wonderful evening at the awards dinner – whether they were a winner or not – with huge congratulations to Funeral Planner of the Year winner, Quantock Funeral Services. Gyles Brandreth hosted the evening so well and everyone agreed that it was a fantastic weekend of connecting with colleagues.

I would like to extend my personal thanks to Golden Charter for their generosity in nominating my charity of the year, Breast Cancer Care, who will benefit from the proceeds of the draw.

I headed back to Scotland from London for one day to bury my elderly aunt in our local cemetery, after a service in the church where she had been a life-long member. It was poignant day for my brother and I as my aunt was the last of my father’s siblings. She was in her 99th year and she died in the house she was born in. That surely doesn’t happen very often in this transient age.

I was soon on the road again and off to the ICCM conference in Kenilworth, followed by a trip to the opening of Charlton Park Crematorium in Andover, which was most interesting and thought provoking.

The last of the regional meetings took place on 2 October in Tunbridge Wells, which brings to a close my tour of regional meetings for my Presidential year. When a notice of a meeting near you comes in, please do consider attending. The regional meetings throughout the year have all been different and they have all been well attended, but above all they have been enlightening, with a lot of information disseminated from SAIF and SAIFCharter and associate members.

Can I just close with a plug for the SAIF AGM Weekend at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow from 13-15 March 2020? A booking form was in September’s magazine but you can also book online and find information on SAIF’s website or by ringing the SAIF Business Centre on 0345 230 6777. This promises to be a fantastic weekend in the heart of the city that was once known as the “second city of the Empire”.

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