SAIF President’s whirlwind tour

words: Mark Horton, National SAIF President
Mark Horton

Three months have now passed since I became President and I have already had several engagements to represent SAIF and its members. I thought I would give you all a little ‘Insight’ into where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to.

Firstly, I attended the SAIF Scottish Executive meeting followed by the AGM, held in Whitburn, near Glasgow. It was an informative event with a speaker from the MazWell Group giving a talk on the embalming process and it was good to see the Scottish members keeping the pressure on the Scottish Parliament and the Cross-Party Group. Although there are still a few matters to be dealt with, I know they will keep fighting for members.

Becky, my wife, and I attended the British Institute of Embalmers (BIE) banquet in April and were warmly welcomed by Richard Van Nes, BIE President, and all members at the Harrogate meeting. I also spoke with SAIF members at the event who I am hoping to pop in and see during the year. I was also kindly invited to attend the opening of a new branch for Shoobridge Funeral Services in Honiton and met Penny and Paul Shoobridge, and Paul’s partner Abigail, who opened a new branch to look after the local community. They have a lovely new chapel to deliver first-class services for local families, with a bright and modern office and arranging area.

The opening evening was well attended with staff from the local crematorium and a new local minister who said a few words at the dedication service for the chapel. It was great to see so many families and friends support Penny and Paul with their new venture. I also took the opportunity while passing to drop into Clark & Strong Funeral Supplies in Coventry and saw Darren and David Fry and all the staff. After a cuppa I was shown around the factory to see the team making all the items they supply to the industry. I also had a cheeky look at the BSB superbikes for the FS3 team.

In May, I attended the annual SAIF golf event, where two teams play against each other for the Gordon Kee Cup and raise funds for the Honeypot Children’s Charity. The event in Southport was won for the first time in many years by the Associates team. All the players were amazing and helped me raise a massive £4,100 for the charity. I hope they all enjoyed my rendition of Penny Arcade during the evening, not to be repeated, and I cannot thank them all enough for the money they raised between them.

Also in May, Becky and I attended the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) banquet in Stratford, where we represented SAIF and maintained the good working relationship we have to ensure that funeral directors are being heard at Government level. As I write this, I will soon be attending Westminster for the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) with Paul Allcock, ensuring SAIF is at the forefront of the conversations for independent funeral directors and that we are being heard and listened to at all levels.

The SAIF Education Day in Leicester (17 June) will soon be upon us, with some interesting talks taking place and hopefully we may also raise some funds for the Honeypot Children’s Charity on the day. I am really looking forward to it and getting to meet even more of you. It is set to be a great event.

Brian Hart from SAIFInsure has kindly arranged this year’s charity walk for the Honeypot Children’s Charity, which will take place on 15 and 16 July. The team will walk the Lyke Wake Walk, 42 miles across the North Yorkshire Moors, within 24 hours. Any support you can give this amazing troop of fundraisers would be greatly appreciated. Donate here.

I also would like to remind all members who have skills or knowledge that could help SAIF move forward to please get in touch and join one of the working groups or the Executive Committee. Contact Terry Tennens, CEO, or the SAIF office to show your interest. We need all members to have the opportunity to come on board and help shape the future for Independents.

That’s all for now and let’s see what the next three months brings!

Bee… SAIF!

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