Funeral Director
The Co-operative Funeralcare

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David W

00:00:03 My name’s David W. I’m a Funeral Director for Co-operative Funeralcare. I love the job. I love the fact that I can be involved at a certain time in their life where people would know they have the confidence to leave that with me, and for me to do the job perfectly for them. And there’s nothing better than at the end of this when somebody shakes your hand and says that was beautiful, that was seamless, that was just exactly what we wanted. Mum would’ve been proud is one that is a sentence that I had about two days ago, and I just love the job for that reason.

00:00:36 My parents were very busy people and because of various family divorces and things like this, I actually grew up with my grandmother and I think that’s been – she’s been so, such an inspirational part of my life. She made me understand the importance of ‘you get out of life what you put into it’. She would never hold me back. She would never try and say what I was doing was wrong, but she would always be there to help me should anything go wrong, and I’ve learnt so much from that.

00:01:03 When she died 10 years ago, it was like the bottom had fallen out of my world and it took me a while to get over the fact that she wasn’t there anymore. But I sat there and thought, ‘well she wouldn’t want me to be sitting there moping and being miserable’. So I went out and said that day that, ‘life is mine and I’ll do with it what I want’.

00:01:25 Outside work, I enjoy films. I’m a big Star Trek fan, a bit of a trekky. I am, I love books and I love book reading. I love do-it-yourself and I’ve got, as I’ve mentioned earlier, four teenage stepchildren, which is also a fantastic learning curve because I’m actually known as Learner Dad rather than Dad, simply because of the fact that they’re learning to have a real dad and I’m learning to have four real children and it’s a brilliant symbiosis of the two and it’s a fabulous hobby.

00:02:02 When I was younger, I wanted to be in the Navy, I wanted to be a paramedic, I was quite uncertain about what I wanted to do, there was no clear direction that I wanted to go. I came out of doing my A levels because I had some issues that I’d had with the school and I came out of full time education. A big mistake I’ve found out since. However you make a choice in life, you have to live with it and you deal with it and you carry on.

00:02:27 I went into being an apprentice alarm engineer, but unfortunately they went bankrupt and they went out of business. So what I did was I didn’t like being on the dole. I was on the dole for about two or three months and I hated it. So I went out to do some Christmas temporary work for a well known stationer in the high street and that put me in contact with the general public, and ever since I started working with the general public, I’ve just loved every minute of it.

00:02:56 The reason why I swapped from working in the retail sector and moved into this was because retail became very much more about numbers. It became more about achieving targets rather than being personal to people, and I perhaps got to the stage in my life where I wanted to try and give something back. I’ve done all this. I’ve made mistakes in my life. I’ve done good things in my life and what it does is it builds you as a person and then at some point in your life you think I need to go back to basics, I need to be able now to get back to doing at what I’m good at and that’s being with people, talking to people and helping people. That’s what I wanted to do.

00:03:37 And I had the opportunity to work for the Co-operative came up as a funeral carer, as a funeral director. What they wanted was somebody with retail experience that wasn’t afraid of promoting himself and the business. It was perfect, that’s exactly what I wanted and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I don’t see this as a job. I see this as a vocation. This is something I was meant to do and it might’ve taken me a few years to get here, but I’m here and I’m loving it.

David W is a Funeral Director at The Co-operative Funeralcare. He started working in the retail sector after a spell on the dole, and he realised that’s where his talents lay. But he wanted a job where talking to people and helping them was more important than meeting sales targets.

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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