Meet Elaine Carr, a funeral arranger at our Edinburgh West Mains parlour. She shares an insight into her day job, her career change and why family means so much.
What songs are the most popular at funerals you host?
It will be no surprise that in our Edinburgh parlour ‘Sunshine on Leith’ by The Proclaimers is a favourite with the locals. Dancing in the Sky by Danny and Lizzie is also a popular choice for services. Personally I’d choose Ava Maria by Celine Dion or ‘I love to Boogie’ by T-Rex … because I do love to boogie.
What made you choose a career in the funeral industry?
I’d been in nursing for almost 25 years and felt it was time for a career change. So, when I joined Fosters 18 months ago it felt like a natural step for me. I honestly feel like I’ve found my vocation. It’s extremely rewarding to be compassionate to families as they go through one of the most difficult times in their life. I live locally and often bump into the families, it’s always nice to stop for a chat and hear how they are.
What advice would you give someone tasked with planning a funeral?
I’m a firm believer that a funeral should reflect someone’s personality and commemorate their life. I think that approach helps families deal with their grief in a much more positive way. And there are lots of little things we can do that make a big difference. For example, we recently organised the funeral of a young woman in her early 20’s. Obviously it was a huge loss for the family but despite their sorrow they wanted to celebrate her life. She loved the colour pink, so our funeral directors had pink ties and I wore a pink shirt to attend the service. And there were further pink touches throughout, including the flowers.
What are the questions you get asked the most?
We are always asked about funeral costs. The prices often vary greatly between funeral directors and that can be both confusing and a worry for people. At Fosters we are very clear about our pricing and charge less so you can do more. Above all, we do our utmost to ensure that every family is able to give their loved one a fitting send off.
What’s your favourite tradition?
I don’t have a favourite tradition as such, but I’m not one for funerals being very sombre occasions. By allowing a loved one’s character to shine through in a service it brings out the joy they brought to family and friends and becomes much more of a celebration of their life, rather than the mourning of their passing.
When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?
I’m a real social butterfly, and love meeting up with friends and family when I get a chance. I’m always hosting get-togethers and my prosecco evenings are legendary.