Bereavement Services Superviser
Lewisham County Council

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Colin B

00:00:03 My name’s Colin B, I’m the Operation Supervisor for London Borough of Lewisham Bereavement Services. I’m responsible for all the operations within Lewisham cemeteries. We have Grove Park Cemetery, and Ladywell and Brockley Cemetery. I’m in charge for meeting the families before they bury a loved one, and we select a grave. But also passing that information that we’ve selected on to the Administration team, and also making sure that all the Funeral Directors, and the digging teams, know exactly where that grave is, and to find out the sizes as well.

00:00:37 What I get out of this career is – if you like getting up in the morning and go into work with a positive attitude that you know you’re going to make a difference that day, and you really – you really thrive and really drive to actually make a difference, and exert yourself in the best way you possibly can, then I feel this is the – this is the right industry to be in, because you can change so many people’s lives. When somebody buries a loved one, they only do it once, so you can leave a really good impression with that person that you’ve helped them kind of release a loved one in the best way you possibly can.

00:01:19 The reason why I got into this profession was – initially, when I was in parts of education, I was learning to do Business Administration. But I didn’t feel that I was physically being challenged enough. I felt that I was getting home at the end of the day and I wasn’t – hadn’t exerted myself enough that day. So I thought I’d get a position out – working outdoors. And some friends of mine were working in amenity horticulture, cutting parks, maintaining floral areas. So I thought, I’ll try that trade. I got into that, and of course I was on a training wage. At that time there, you know, it was enough to be me by, but my wife fell pregnant, I had to get a position soon, and the YTS scheme that I was on was connected with Lewisham Council, and I was actually working in the cemeteries. A position come up in the cemeteries which I applied for, and I was successful for. And it’s just continued from there.

00:02:11 The reason why this is my prop, and I always carry it with me, is the fact that on my home screen I have a picture of my three children. And some days when it – things get a little bit too much for me, or sort of overwhelm me a little bit too much, I know that every time I turn me phone on I’ve got a picture of them, and that does give me a lot of strength, that does give me a lot of encouragement, as to a strong part of why I’m doing what I’m doing, which is the best thing I possibly can to provide for my family, and give them the – the foundation to continue and do well.

00:02:48 When I first started with the gardening thing at London Borough of Lewisham, one of the lads I was working with, he said to me – if you get your head just right, he said to me, you’ll be running this place one day. And that’s kind of stuck with me for a long time. And actually I look back to him now, and I say to him You’re right, I did – I did actually focus and get things in my head just right, to actually want to do well and actually move forward. If I could do anything now, I probably would use the strength and the knowledge that I’ve gained from working in a cemetery, and actually work on to designing a new cemetery. And I feel that my experience with working in the Bereavement Services, has helped me and build – give me the platform to move on. But whether or not I have the confidence and the knowledge, just yet, to actually embark on such an adventure, is another thing. But as I say I can only continue to do my hundred percent in what I’m doing now.

00:03:48 ENDS


Colin B is the Operation Supervisor for London Borough of Lewisham Bereavement Services. He looks after the cemeteries. Tha means he has to help people when they are bereaved and he feels it is important to “leave a really good impression with that person that you’ve helped them kind of release a loved one in the best way you possibly can”. When he started in the cemetery, he wanted to do physical work like gardening – but his mates told him he would be running the place one day.

More information about Undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

84%  male 
16%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants make funeral arrangements for clients, prepare the deceased for burial or cremation, and supervise and assist the proceedings of funerals.
There are no formal academic requirements although some employers require candidates to possess GCSEs/S grades. A full driving licence is often required. Training is provided on-the-job. Professional qualifications in funeral directing and embalming are available.
  • Collects body of deceased and assists with the completion of necessary documents;
  • Interviews relative or representative of the deceased to discuss preparations for funeral;
  • Liaises with cemetery or crematorium authorities on behalf of client;
  • Washes and injects body with sterilising fluid to prevent deterioration prior to funeral, and applies cosmetics, wax and other materials to restore normal appearance;
  • Provides hearse and funeral cars and leads funeral procession;
  • Controls the operations of crematoriums and cemeteries and processes legal documentation.
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