Good Funeral Awards winners 2016

gfg16-2I’ve literally just arrived home from applauding the Good Funeral Awards winners at the annual awards ceremony in London. A mighty fine day and lovely to see so many friends. Well done Fran Hall!

This year, with no hope of winning an award (there’s an ethos of spreading the joy among winners) we happily sponsored the category we won in 2012 (and were nominated for the following two years): Most Outstanding Contribution to Understanding Death.

Well done to community-centred winners, good old Co-op Funeracare from Tamworth who picked up that gong. There were 24 categories this year at the  Good Funeral Awards and a huge field of contenders. Great to see how things have moved on in the last few years. Catch up with all the winners on the Good Funeral Awards‘ website.

Good Funeral Awards winners – my highlights

Funerals are all about marking a moment – celebrating rites of passage. And the annual Awards ceremony is a ceremony for just the same thing: marking a moment of achievement in a new or long career; noticing growth; recognising a life’s quiet work.

gfg16-9Will Hunneybel from Greenfield Coffins provided the lovely awards: mini coffins.

For me, the Good Funeral Awards winners celebration is worth a trip to London for a meeting of minds, forging of fresh links and rekindling old friendships.

Among my funeral buddies hugged today: Poppy Mardall (and bump) – most inspiring, generous and kind funeral director – blossoming in every way ; legendary Paula Rainey-Crofts (above right)… allegedly retired alternative funeral director and field-leader; Allistair (kilt) and Hasina (royal blue) partners in Compassionate Funerals who’ve recently moved their funeral business  from kitchen table to high street; Josefine Speyer (centre right) who founded the Natural Death Centre with husband Nicholas Albery before his untimely death in an accident; Claire Turnham from Only with Love home funerals, Dee Ryding and Debbie Malyn, celebrants and funeral/events arrangers; Carrie Weekes and business partner Fran from Brum. (Carrie and I have frantic snatched chats about our impending appearance at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on 14 October); Fran Hall (and Steve) who organised the event; Gordon and Anne of Respect GB; Simon Smith of Green Fuse who trained me; Lucy Coulbert, winning funeral arranger and plain-talker from the Individual Funeral Company in Oxford; Richard Putt, ex-Leverton’s (funeral directors By Appointment) who was so generous with his time when Fling was in research mode.

gfg16-6Ru Callander introduced the event and as usual, brought a bit of the cerebral and the rebel to the event. Like Fling, Ru is no fan of the endless use of euphemism around end of life (oops!  – that’s how easy it is to slip). He hates the use of ‘funeral industry’ and prefers ‘funeral world’. He warned against the casual use of and overuse of ‘loved ones’. He talked about the very serious, important, challenging and sometimes scary job that he and others in the room do and we all applauded each other.


gfg16-5Penny Smith – former GMTV presenter co-hosted, bringing a bit of bling.

Brian Jenner, co-founder of the Good Funeral Awards hovered in the wings, keeping an eye on proceedings… didn’t even have time to get beyond a wave in my short trip.

So, well done to all for this splendid occasion and well done to all the winners.




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