Meet Lynne, a funeral arranger at Fosters Perth.
Lynne talks about why she loves helping bereaved families, the importance of attention to detail, and why little things can mean so much.
What is the best part of your role as a funeral arranger?
I love every part of my job, but I think the best part is when a family come back in to see me to say “thank you”. I have kept every Thank You card in all the time I have been an arranger, as they all mean so much to me. It’s also very touching when families choose Fosters Perth for their loved one’s funeral because a relative, friend or neighbour recommended us. I know that means I am doing my job correctly.
What made you choose this as a career?
The days immediately after a bereavement can be upsetting and exhausting and it is so important that families receive the compassionate and professional support they deserve. I lost my Dad very suddenly in 2014 and was disappointed in the way we were treated by the funeral firm we had chosen. After having that experience, I decided to re-train as a funeral arranger so I could support families through a difficult time.
It is the ideal role for me because I love helping people. I’m a good listener and I’m very organised which are essential skills in this job. I am very particular about attention to detail as I feel we only get one chance to get it right.
Can you give an example of how a family can personalize a funeral?
There are lots of little things that families can do to celebrate the life of the person who has passed away, and it’s often the simplest of gestures that bring the most comfort. An example being when I arranged the funeral of a gentleman who had played in a flute band. We invited the band to come to the parlour and play for him one last time. So many people turned up to pay their respects that even the car park outside was overflowing.
The son of the gentleman whose funeral it was is autistic, and dislikes crowded spaces. To ensure he was able to take part I video called him so he could see all the people and hear the band from the comfort of his own home. The smile on his face was something that will stay with me forever. We also recorded it and I’m told that he watches it all the time.
What are the questions you get asked the most?
People always ask how quickly they can come and see their loved one and when arranging a funeral, they always ask me “What do you think?”. My reply is that it’s about you and what your loved one would have wanted. Understandably families want to ‘get it right’ and give the perfect send-off which is why we recommend making your wishes known to those closest to you.
People avoid talking about the inevitable as it is such an emotional topic. However, it could make it easier for your family once you’re gone if they knew what kind of service you wanted, or where you want your ashes scattered. Fosters have a choice of Pre-Paid Funeral Plans which cover everything you need.
What role does technology play in a modern funeral?
Technology plays a big role in a modern funeral, especially during lockdown when the number of mourners attending a funeral has been restricted. At Fosters Perth in addition to face to face appointments we offer video calls so those who are shielding can still join in the conversation about funeral planning. The local crematorium can live broadcast funerals, enabling family and friends to log on and watch the service from home. It offers a way for people to say goodbye and give support to the family, even though we physically can’t be in the same room together.
What is your favourite tradition?
I do love to see a horse & carriage for a funeral service. I have had a few recently and it has been nice watching it leave the parlour and seeing the people in the street stopping and bowing.
Outside of work how do you like to spend your time?
My daughter swims competitively so we have dedicated the last 11 years with that. Taking her all over the UK for competitions, getting up at 4.30am to take her to training and never seeing my husband until 9.30pm at night. Lockdown has changed that, and we really appreciate the time we have had together as a family. She is off to university in September and me and my husband plan to go on more holidays and spend time with our friends.