President’s road trip to meet members

words: Paul Bowley

It’s been a busy time recently.

Davina and I travelled to Gedling Crematorium in Nottingham to represent SAIF at the service of dedication on 18 May when we were welcomed by Richard Evans, Managing Director of the Westerleigh Group. The service was opened by Kevin Browne, Crematorium Manager, with the act of dedication performed by the Suffragen Bishop of Sherwood, The Right Reverend Tony Porter.

While visiting Nottingham we took the opportunity to call into Vic Fearn, manufacturers of Crazy Coffins. We were shown around the factory by John Gill who was extremely passionate about what the company did and was a mine of information. The company manufactures elm and oak veneered and solid timber coffins, but it also makes bespoke “crazy” coffins in all shapes and sizes. The list of designs is endless.

On Saturday 19 May, we set off in our motorhome, which we have renamed “the President’s travelling White House” (Donald Trump should get one).

We travelled to Dorset then onto Tiverton in Devon to meet CEO Terry Tennens for a regional meeting on Tuesday evening. Twenty members were present, including past President Gemma O’Driscoll, SAIFCharter Executive member James Tovey, and Associate members such as P&L Manufacturing and Braemar Finance.

Dan Hare represented Golden Charter and the guest speaker was Brian Hart from SAIFInsure (Unicorn Insurance Brokers, with our new insurance providers, Aviva). I also presented IFD college certificates to Paul Buddin, Col in Comber and Catherine McIver.

The next morning we picked up Terry from his hotel and set off to Exmouth, where we met Terry, Penny and Paul Shoobridge for the opening of their new branch, Exmouth and District Funeral Service. The branch was very tastefully decorated and to a high standard. I wish the company every success for the future.

After the opening, we travelled up to Pencoed in Wales for another regional meeting that evening. Sixteen members were present with three associate members – Braemar Finance, Funeral Zone & P&L Manufacturing. Golden Charter was represented, and SAIFInsure’s Brian Hart was once again the keynote speaker. I also presented IFD certificates to Ceri- Lou Newman and Neil Jones.

On Friday, 26 May, Davina and I travelled to West Lancashire Cemetery & Crematorium in Burscough outside Southport for another dedication service. We were welcomed by Managing Director Richard Evans from the Westerleigh Group. Crematorium Manager Steve Glen opened the service, with the act of dedication performed by the Right Reverend Thomas A. Williams, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool.

The National Funeral Exhibition opened on 9 June at Stoneleigh and was well attended over the three days. After wandering around talking to the different exhibitors, I believe it to have been a success for most.

The SAIF stand certainly proved a success as it seemed to be busy most of the time. I would like to thank all those who attended and greeted new and old members. A special well done to Claire Day, our new Administration Manager who with CEO Terry Tennens organised our presence – and who should be where throughout the three days.

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