Meet Marie – Funeral Arranger at Fosters Newton Mearns
Marie talks about what Fosters can do for the families we care for, the different floral tributes she has seen created and the most rewarding part of her role.
What made you choose a career in the funeral sector?
“I have always wanted to be involved in the funeral industry, ever since I helped some friends organise their mum’s funeral. I felt at the time that I could offer a more compassionate and personal service than their chosen firm.
Previously, I worked in customer service with Thomas Cook so treating customers with respect and dignity was second nature for me. When the opportunity to work for Fosters came up, I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for me to finally work in the industry and really make a difference to all the families that come into the funeral home.”
What’s the best part of your role?
“Knowing that you’ve taken a weight off the customers shoulders. The best feeling is when they thank you after the arrangement because they were dreading the experience so much. Especially younger people who wouldn’t typically know where to start with things like pipers, celebrants or knowing what was involved in arranging a funeral. When you’re sitting with a family, and you can start to see them light up with all the unique touches they’re adding for their loved one, it is very rewarding. The gratitude from customers means the world to me.”
Can you give an example of how a family can personalise a funeral?
“There are so many ways in which Fosters can help you personalise a funeral for a loved one. Flowers are usually the most popular and we have helped to create fitting tributes like paint cans, golf clubs and even crosswords which are fitting to that person! I have had families that want to set up a Much Loved page which means that people can go on and leave messages or donations which can be viewed as a comfort for years to come. We have had our Funeral Conductors wear certain coloured ties because the person has passed away from a certain illness or it might have been the person’s favourite colour. No matter what touches you would like to add to a funeral, Fosters will always try and go above and beyond to make it happen.”
What questions do people ask the most?
We have a lot of the same questions when we first meet with families. Questions such as.
- ‘Will they definitely be my mum’s or dads’ ashes?’
- ‘When will they be in your care?’
- ‘They don’t go in the back door, do they?’
“Families always want their loved one brought into care as soon as possible and we would always try and make that happen. Once we meet with the family, we explain in great depth every detail of the funeral which helps to offset a lot of the initial questions we get. We have so many families coming in with an idea of what they would like – and going way with a completely different funeral because all their options have been explained and what they decide on is much more fitting for their loved one.”
What songs are most popular at Newton Mearns?
“At Newton Mearns we tend to have more hymns than funeral songs. Hymns such as ‘Abide With Me’ and ‘Will Your Anchor Hold’ and usually the most popular. However, we have had a few requests for certain songs recently, such as ‘Like an Angel Passing Through My Room’ by ABBA. ‘Caledonia’ and ‘Highland Cathedral’ are also very popular choices.”
What role does technology play in a funeral?
“In this day and age, it plays a massive part. It’s brilliant that families can have the option of webcasting the funeral so that family members abroad or even in care home can be part of the service. Another plus to webcasting is that even if family or friends can’t make the service on the day, 3 days after the funeral service has taken place, they have 28 days to watch it which can also be their way of handling the passing.
Fingerprint keepsakes are also a popular option; we can capture fingerprints so that you can always keep this personal touch of your loved one. We have seen so many people choose to get fingerprints turned into tattoos or imprinted into jewellery. Without technology, this couldn’t happen.”
What’s your favourite funeral tradition?
“Paging in front of the hearse. It’s so symbolic and is quite a powerful sight when remembering a loved one on the day of the service. Our Funeral Conductors and staff are fantastic, and the dignity and respect shown by every member of the team is wonderful and is the way it should be when remembering the deceased.”
Away from work, how do you like to spend your free time?
“I live in Prestwick and it’s great for a night out and a few cocktails! I have a daughter who is doing a golf scholarship in Florida so any time she’s home we spend as much time as possible with each other, even if she’s playing in her golf competition here. As a family, we’re pretty golf orientated as my husband also works at Turnberry. I also love going away on holidays. I’m going away on a Caribbean cruise later in the year and I can’t wait!”