Meet Lorna, an operations manager who is based in our Rutherglen Parlour.
Lorna talks about funeral traditions, the importance of attention to detail and why her role is so rewarding.
What made you choose this as a career?
I always knew that I was going to work within the funeral industry in some capacity. As far back as school I was keen to find out more about the sector and what was involved in becoming a funeral director.
When I left education I first worked in retail and then the motor trade, learning life skills and then in my twenties I went on to secure a funeral director traineeship.
What is the best part of your job?
I really enjoy looking after the operations team and supporting or guiding them in assisting the families we serve. It’s so important that the families who come through our doors are treated with the utmost compassion and care. And the attention to detail we bring to each funeral service is paramount.
For example, in the years I’ve worked within the industry, I have covered most of the country for funerals and services. However, if a funeral is taking place in a church or cemetery that I don’t know well, I will visit the day before. I’ll go into the church to look around and introduce myself to the minister or priest and find out how they expect the service to run.
I also do the same for cemeteries, visiting the day before and checking where the plot is located. It’s essential to know what entrance we should go to on the day. This level of preparation goes a long way in ensuring everything runs smoothly for the families.
It can be a difficult job at times. But I find it incredibly rewarding to support families as they say a final farewell.
What are the questions you get asked the most?
Common questions are about what will happen on the day of the funeral itself. Families ask advice on everything from what music they can choose to timings on the day. Our role is to provide reassurance and help them create a service that reflects their loved one’s character and celebrates their life. Every life is unique and a personalised funeral can bring so much comfort at an emotional time.
What role does technology play in a modern funeral?
We now offer live streaming and webcasts of services. This has proved incredibly important for families as Covid19 restrictions limit the number of mourners who can attend a funeral service.
Visual tributes have also become popular within the modern funeral, with many crematoriums now able to have a slideshow of photographs on a screen during the service. The slideshows have been positively received by many families and a lot of people take real pride in selecting the imagery to showcase their loved one’s life.
What’s your favourite tradition?
For me it is the old tradition of ‘paging the hearse’. This is where the funeral director leads the cortege of cars to the cemetery or crematorium. I feel that it shows both respect and dignity towards the deceased and the family. As it is an old-fashioned tradition, some funeral directors don’t offer the service anymore. However, we provide this as standard and a lot of families both notice and appreciate the gesture.
When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?
I love getting out on my motorbike. A keen walker I really enjoy being out in the countryside with my camera taking photographs.