Meet Claire, funeral arranger at Fosters Bellshill.
Claire talks about a soldier’s final farewell, being a good listener, and her lovely dogs.
Claire, tell us a little bit about your role at Fosters Bellshill?
I’ve been a funeral arranger at Fosters Bellshill for 3 years now. My job is to take the worry away from the family and look after everything to make sure the funeral service runs smoothly. I find it really rewarding knowing I’m making a very difficult time that little bit easier for a family dealing with loss.
I’d describe myself as a people person, and a good listener. I love hearing all the stories that a family share about their loved one and I believe it’s a privilege to help a family plan a final farewell. I’ve personal experience of grief and that makes me want to deliver the best possible experience for the families I look after.
It’s also really nice being based in Bellshill, the people are really friendly, and my colleagues at Fosters are my second family. That may sound cheesy but it’s true, we really do take care of each.
I know so many Bellshill families, florists, and celebrants so it’s a very friendly job and people pop in for a cuppa and a blether which is nice.
What questions do you get asked the most?
I get asked a lot of practical questions. ‘Can I put my Papa’s cigarettes in his coffin?’ ‘Is this song suitable?’ ‘Where can I scatter the ashes?’ In our culture we tend to avoid talking about death so understandably it’s a bit of a mystery to people.
I’d really encourage families to discuss what they’d like for their own funeral because it makes it so much easier for your next of kin once you are gone. If that feels too much, then write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a drawer, letting your loved ones know where they can find it. It really does bring comfort to know you’ve honoured a loved one’s final wishes.
If you’d like to record your wishes in a pre-paid funeral plan then Fosters have a range of options, with prices starting from just £12.94 per month.
Can you give an example of how you helped a family personalise a funeral?
Yes, I arranged the funeral of a gentleman who had served in the army. Rightly so, both he and his family were very proud of his service to the country, and it was important to them that it was reflected at his funeral.
We offer a range of customised coffins, and the gentleman’s family chose a design featuring a soldier in a poppy field. I arranged for a piper to play as he left the house and arrived at the crematorium, and he took his final journey in a horse drawn hearse. It was a very personal and dignified service which brought great comfort to the family and friends who gathered to celebrate to his life.
There are so many ways to personalise a funeral service here at Fosters Bellshill, and it needn’t be expensive. Sometimes it’s a small gesture, like the funeral directors wearing a coloured tie, or paging away from the house one last time, that are the most touching.
What role does technology play in a modern funeral?
For years now we’ve used technology to source music and for webcasts. During the pandemic it really became a crucial part of a funeral service, enabling people to take part in the service online when restrictions on numbers meant they couldn’t be there in person. It’s also very handy when families live abroad and can’t fly to Scotland for the funeral.
Outside of work how do you spend your time?
My family and friends are very important to me so I spend as much time as I can with them. I’m partial to the odd night out but my two dogs Shelby and Cooper take up most of my time. They’re a Weimaraner and a Great Dane so we do a lot of walking.