Meet the funeral Director
Q. Why a funeral director? There are many jobs out there what brought you to this one?
A. I started of as a student needing a part time job, I saw an advert for part time chauffer/bearer, suitable for a retired gentleman and I thought it would also be perfect for a student. Initially I drove the hearses and limousines, I enjoyed the respect that was given to the funeral cortege on the way to a ceremony, the way cars would move or not pull out. I liked that even people going about their day stopped for a moment for the loss of someone’s loved one.
Q. Where did it go from there?
A. The company I worked for received the coroners contract for the area. This meant that I would go out to peoples homes and accident sites and bring the deceased into our care. Other than ambulance crews and police, we would be the first people to care for the deceased, even if we never received the funeral, often we were the first to say I’m sorry for your loss. Whilst I found the level of raw emotion difficult, I wanted to learn how to put peoples minds at ease and to alleviate some of their pain and suffering over their loss.
Q. But how does that lead to funeral director?
A. I wanted to be able to do more and more for the families that I came into contact with. Not many know, but I suffer with a very severe form of dyslexia and knew that arranging a funeral would be difficult in only just the paper work. I would sit and talk with families for hours (a lot longer that I was supposed to) and I would then arrange the funeral from memory, no paperwork! You can imagine that this was not taken too well by the big company that I worked for ‘If it wasn’t written down, it didn’t happen’. However, they couldn’t deny that the funerals I arranged and the families I cared for, received the highest level of care and I received no end of thank you cards, letters, flowers and the occasional bottle of whiskey in thanks.
Q. So from arranger to director?
A. No, next I went down the memorial mason route, I learned how to erect headstones and curb sets. Renovate and restore headstones, erect headstones and to use the sandblaster. Whilst I enjoyed this I did not have any contact with families and I missed that, I felt that I would always be better helping the families and being part of their journey with loss and grief.
Q. Tell me about Barker Family Funeral Services.
A. After working for several large national companies, and seeing how they treated families as just a number, I realised that I wanted to give people the personal service and get to know them (the two hour long arrangements and several cups of tea), let them know that when they phone they will speak to someone who knows them (as soon as I recognise a voice it is usually followed with a hearty hello and a how are you) and to build a repour. On the day of the funeral, I know the names of the family in the car, I know who is going to struggle the most and I know where I need to be and that is by the family’s side, not worrying about the next funeral. This is what families deserve in the very least. I wanted to be able to give that and working for other companies I couldn’t.
That decided it for me, if I wanted to be able to give people what they deserved then I would have to set out on my own. After lots of head scratching and worrying, that is what I did and that is the birth of Barker Family Funeral Services, where as soon as we hear your voice on the phone we know who we are talking to, where 3 am phone calls in a panic about socks are answered and followed through, where we really do treat you as one of our family.
Q. What is the future plan for Barker Family Funeral Services, is it multiple shops, multiple locations, do you dream big?
A No, I want to be the local funeral director, where when I’m old and grey, someone comes in to arrange the funeral for their husband and say I remember when you looked after dad or grandad, I remember how you looked after them and us at the time and that’s why I’m here today, when I know everyone over at the co-op food store, Nethertons and Oh My Cod (you really should have everything of their menu its delicious). I want to be part of the Long Stratton Community.
Height: 6 ft 2
Weight: You did read my comment about oh my cod right
hair colour: Brown
Favourite film: Convoy
Favourite band: Counting Crows
Favourite super hero: Spider man
Favourite drink: Hot chocolate
Favourite colour: Green