Meet Debra, funeral arranger at Fosters Alloa
Debra talks about why she chose a career in the funeral sector, celebrating a life well lived and why she’s proud to serve her local Alloa community.
How long have you worked as a funeral arranger?
I’ve been working in the funeral sector for over 11 years now. I’ve experience of various roles including funeral arranger, funeral operative and funeral director. I used to work in social services and have always enjoyed roles that involved helping people.
What made you choose this as a career?
When I was a key worker, I looked after a gentleman who was deaf and blind. When his mother passed away it was me who had to tell him the sad news and make the funeral arrangements. When we visited the funeral directors, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I was very impressed with the staff and how they went the extra mile to ensure the gentleman had the additional support and time he needed.
It made me view the profession in a completely new light and I thought it would be an interesting and varied job, to be able to support people in the initial stages of grief and to plan a fitting farewell for their loved ones. And here I am, 11+ years later, convinced I made the right decision to change careers. It will be a privilege to serve the Alloa community, I am originally from the town and know many families well.
What’s the best part of your role?
The best part of my role is meeting and working with families from all walks of life. It’s a privilege to help an individual or a family through this difficult period. Not everyone has relatives or friends nearby so I’m there to offer practical support and advice. My role is to listen carefully to their needs and ensure they receive a compassionate and professional service.
What’s your favourite funeral tradition?
I really like the traditional outfits consisting of pinstripe clothes and top hats. Fosters funeral conductors are always immaculate, and when they carry out the tradition of paging away it is very touching. At Fosters, we take one step for every year of the deceased’s life, which I think is really respectful.
How can a family personalise a funeral?
I can think of lots of ways to personalise a funeral including music, specialised transport, wearing of matching ties etc. However, a memorable example was the funeral of a close friend of mine. He was a Land Rover enthusiast and a big motor cross fan. In his spare time, he used to recover crashed rally cars.
For his funeral transport his widow arranged a Land Rover hearse for his final journey and lots of his friends who worked in the emergency services lined the streets in their ambulances and tow trucks. They dressed as they would for the track, in overalls or hi-vis jackets. At the deceased’s request, during the service instead of reflection music, he asked for a round of applause as if he’d just won a race. It was the perfect tribute to a wonderful friend, and I know he would have been delighted with that send-off.
When you are not working, how do you like to spend your time?
Outside of work I love to spend time with my much-loved Border Terrier, Thistle, we enjoy walking around Gartmore Dam most weekends.
I also enjoy knitting, reading, spending time with friends and swimming.
Get in Touch
Fosters Alloa opened in September 2021 and offers professional and high quality funeral services and pre-paid funeral plans. Pop in and visit us at 8-10 Mill Street, Candleriggs, Alloa or call 01259 256 137 t0 request a brochure or make an appointment.