SAIF President: Look after your team and yourself

words: Mark Horton, National SAIF President
Mark Horton

Another month has passed and with this change comes the change in the seasons – not just with our weather but with our businesses too.

As the nights draw in and the leaves begin to fall from the trees, it normally marks the start of a busier time over the winter months. Historically the colder months cause an increase in deaths although, as we all know, you can never predict anything within our profession. With that in mind it is a time to plan for winter, for you, your business and your team.

The impacts illness can have on a workforce, both large and small, is huge and when we can’t always predict how our days will pan out, it is so important to stay well. Look after yourself, give yourself as much rest and relaxation when work allows as possible. Look out for your team, see the signs of illness early and, if possible, give time off to prevent it spreading to the rest of the team. And look out for the Lemsips (other brands are also available), drink a tot of whisky.

All in all, you can only look after families when you also look after yourself, so give yourself the kindness and understanding you show to others.

As I write this, the second Education Day in Wales is fast approaching and by the time this is printed it will have already taken place. I am over the moon the event has completely sold out and I am looking forward to hearing from some amazing speakers we will have on the day. With exhibitors also in attendance it is set to be an informative and enjoyable day for everyone and, hopefully, I can even brush up on my Welsh as I currently only know the informal Welsh word for microwave!

Attending events like Education Day, webinars and IFD College training events all help us gain much needed hours of continuing professional development (CPD). The end of July marked the first full year of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation surrounding pre-paid funeral plans. It also marked the start of a new year requiring, in most cases, a minimum of 15 hours of CPD. Attending these events not only gives you the hours needed but also supplies us with a wealth of knowledge.

I have attended many meetings and webinars over the years and I can certainly say I have learnt something new at all of these, even though I have been a funeral director for many years. Times are changing, not just in our profession but also in the wider public eye, and by keeping on top of these developments it not only helps you but also helps the families we look after.

Plans are now well under way for the SAIF AGM and President’s Banquet, which will be held in York in March 2024. The team organising everything with me have been amazing and together we will hopefully be pulling off an interesting, informative, and fun weekend. I am really looking forward to our guest speaker on Friday afternoon, Paul Hopkins. Paul, a firefighter who survived a brain haemorrhage, chose to fight after the experience and with companion Phil Pugh by his side, decided to row across the Atlantic in honour of Phil’s disabled son. The adversity they faced during this time is truly remarkable and to hear this from Paul, and the lessons we can all take away from it, is something I am really looking forward to.

Paul will also be signing his book for us after his talk and so kindly has pledged 50% of every book sale to my charity this year, The Honeypot Children’s Charity. Let’s hope the other boats we have on for entertainment on the Friday evening will not be heading across the Atlantic but instead will trip down the Ouse and see York at night with plenty of wine on board for our journey.

The Principal Hotel, where all the AGM events and accommodation will take place, has direct access from York train station, which may prove to be a more enjoyable and relaxing start to the AGM for those travelling. York is a stunning city with so much on offer to see and do and I really hope to see many of you attending. It will no doubt be a fantastic weekend for us all.

Until next time,


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