President’s November Post

November 28, 2013   //   No Comments

What a great pleasure it was to be invited to Andrew Smith’s open day in Macclesfield, Cheshire.  Andrew came from an insurance background in the South of England five years ago with Rachel, determined on making a career in funeral service, having had his appetite whetted by spending a short time with Paul Bowley in Crowborough.  Andrew found a redundant doctor’s surgery in the middle of the town, ploughed all his savings into the purchase and renovation, and now boasts one of the finest funeral homes in the county.  He knew nobody in the town when he arrived but he has worked extremely hard to promote his business and now has a substantial, highly regarded, viable business that is the envy of many.  The ‘Open Day’ held on 5th October attracted many local people and was a huge success – well done Andrew.

From Macclesfield it was straight up to Cumbernauld for the CFSMA Banquet that same evening.  Whilst it is true to say that SAIF has not always seen eye to eye with the Co-Operative movement, I am pleased to report that we were accorded an extremely warm welcome from President Andrew Beveridge and Izzy and the Scottish hospitality was every bit generous as it always is when the border is crossed.  Andrew’s successor, Mark, was duly installed on the Sunday and I am sure, with relative youth on his side, he, like his predecessor will be a great asset to the Association.

Earlier that week we attended the Institute of Cemetery and Cremation Management at Forest Pines, Scunthorpe where an interesting exhibition featuring a number of cremator manufacturers, amongst others, was held.  Having seen the complexity and cost of this type of equipment it is not difficult to understand why cremation charges have rockets in recent years.  Is it really necessary to provide the abatement ‘sledgehammer’ to crack the mercury abatement nut – I remain convinced that our European masters have made a sensible decision in this case.  Another excellent banquet was enjoyed by all present in the evening and we departed on Wednesday morning in to the torrential Lincolnshire rain.  The incoming President of ICCM, Roddy McGinley, is responsible for the new Crematorium in Havant, Hants which is due to open in the next couple of months and no doubt, Porchester (Portsmouth) and Southampton Crematoria will be pleased to welcome a new competitor to relieve some of the overload from those two busy operations.

Last weekend we had a short journey for a change, to Lymm in Cheshire for the BIFD Banquet followed by the installation of the incoming President Sally Warton, on Sunday morning.  Whilst not huge in numbers attending, it was gratifying to see the effort that Robert Gresty has put into his Presidential year and to the BIFD’s new education syllabus over a number of years, was duly acknowledged and I am sure he and Margaret will so0on be off on a well-deserved holiday.  Sally, we wish you a very successful year and look forward to your company in the months ahead and it won’t be too long before another Gresty appears to take up the mantle as David, Robert and Margaret’s son, who has been a great support to them in the past twelve months, has been elected First Vice President, so congratulations to him too.

Finally, Local Authority trading is rearing its ugly head again, and although it is early days yet, we are joining with our kindred associations to try to prevent this unfair competition appearing on your doorstep; I will keep you posted with development.