SAIF bids fond farewell to Linda JonesApril 27, 2017 // No Comments
In November 1999, I was delighted when the then Chief Executive Terry Tennens and National President Gary Neill offered me the post of Administration Manager for SAIF. I have relished the challenges set before me and worked to the best of my ability, making some truly wonderful friends along the way, who I certainly hope to stay in touch with (oh the wonders of Facebook).
SAIF very rapidly became part of my life and I happily worked long hours and weekends, visiting members wherever I could. Attending seminars and events to help promote the Independent, and SAIF was just a part of the job I very quickly came to love.
It’s amazing the many changes I have seen in the profession. The increase in ‘add-ons’ to a funeral service, i.e. colourful coffins, ashes into diamonds or glass, fingerprint jewellery and even fireworks scattering cremated remains into the air are just a few of the ideas now set before a bereaved family. I have been astounded by the generosity and charity fundraising by so many of you across the country.
Gemma O’Driscoll, who I proudly joined in walking up Mount Snowden, and Paul Allcock, who not only hit the water rapids challenge but also cycled to his banquet weekend, and all in the name of charity. There are so many of you who raise funds in varying ways and achieve so much for charity, I would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t do anything for their local community. You should all be so very proud of yourselves.
I was recently reflecting back warmly on my first banquet weekend with President Gary Neill. It happened to be April Fool’s weekend, and he and Jeremy West were at the peak of their antics. I couldn’t understand why so many people were looking at me in the hotel and then avoiding me, until I went into the lift. There were photos of me, stating: “Beware – don’t talk to this lady.”
Then there was Helen Wathall’s banquet with indoor fireworks set off before time, the snow at Arran Brudenell’s banquet and the fire alarm going off, causing us to go in the freezing cold minus our coats. Pat Gallagher had the wonderful trip down the River Thames on Friday night, and his banquet guests were entertained by ‘That’ll be the Day’ – oh what a night that was!
I have so very many, many happy memories. Thank you one and all for your camaraderie and most of all your friendship. My distinct thanks to Terry, Alun and the SAIF Officers and Executives for their faith and trust over the years. Warmest thanks to the QA team, ensuring SAIF members are among the best, and finally to the girls in the office, Sam, Angela and Corinne, and the team at SAIF Business Centre that works so hard to ensure members’ needs are met and the office is manned so amiably.
My decision to leave SAIF wasn’t easy, but it is time to move on and I’m pleased to say I won’t be retiring completely. My celebrancy work is ‘calling me’, I have a friendly funeral director also ‘calling me’, my allotments need some TLC, and my grandchildren will see much more of their nanny – especially my new week-old grandson.
I believe SAIF is the best association for an Independent to be part of, but remember, it is quality that puts you above the rest. Warmest wishes to you all, continued success in your businesses, stay SAIF and thank you, au revoir, bon voyage, sayonara… goodbye.