“Together we can do great things”

14/01/2021   //   No Comments

SAIF thanks Paul Allcock, SAIF’s Government Liaison rep, Past President and long-standing Exec Committee Member for his words:

As we enter a new year, we find ourselves finally with some hope that the coronavirus vaccines have finally arrived and that the light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight, even if it is still only a very small light and a long way off. Let us hope and pray that this will help us to put 2020 behind us so that we can start to look at our futures positively for the first time in over a year.

The last year set us all very many challenges, both personally and professionally. These have been borne with the usual dignity and respect associated with the funeral profession. From what I have seen, the vast majority of funeral directors and all of their staff have simply carried on regardless of the adversity surrounding them. They have ensured that the service they provided was, as close as it was possible to be, to their normal high standard. This was vital to the wellbeing of those bereaved at such a difficult time in our world, but also for the funeral directors’ peace of mind, that they have done everything possible to enable an appropriate service for each and every client.

But what of the long-term effects of COVID-19 on everyone working in the funeral services across the UK and indeed the world beyond? At the height of the pandemic there were concerns raised about the mental and physical wellbeing of those working in the funeral sector of which I am one. Having to cope with excessive numbers of funerals compared to usual, whilst still having to remain vigilant and follow government guidelines, for our own safety and those around us, will have undoubtedly left a mark on many.

The heavy workload, together with the added anxiety of ensuring every T is still crossed whilst keeping everyone safe, has been a huge challenge. Add to this the personal challenges many have had. Not being able to visit loved ones and share the mutual support we would normally offer and receive, whilst some will have experienced the very worst scenario of losing someone they love to this awful virus. These, and many more factors besides, have meant that no individual across the whole of the funeral sector can say that this pandemic has not had an impact on their lives.

There are many situations that we encounter in our lives, in which we feel alone, and where we think that no other person is going through the same trauma. Well in 2020/21, no one has been immune and we have shared as a nation the trials that COVID-19 has thrown at us. This has also led to a great time of understanding for each other, none more so than in the funeral profession. I would guess that almost every funeral business and those working within it have needed help and support far beyond their usual needs.

Funeral directors are a competitive lot and wouldn’t necessarily be the most helpful to a local rival in normal circumstances. Well, this last 12 months have seen many local companies helping a competitor cope with their extra workload, obviously for the sake of the bereaved families, but also I believe for the sake of their fellow funeral director. Suddenly we are no longer competitors in a market, but we are supporters of each other for the good of society as a whole.

Long may this continue. Without this support for each other we could very well have been witness in this country, to scenes similar to some of the appalling sights that we have seen on our TV screens from across the world, in countries without the funeral infrastructure that we have in the UK of local funeral directors working for the good of their own local people. And how incredibly hard they have worked!

Heading from quote by Mother Theresa: “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

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