President James Gallagher recently welcomed members to a well attended 72nd AGM at Park Tower Hotel, at which new Officers and Executive Committee members were installed.
During a very busy meeting, members received reports on a diverse range of matters of interest, with which their Committee had been occupied in recent months.
Ray Barnes updated the meeting on developments within West London Coroner Service, where new staff and systems were being introduced in an attempt to improve service delivery. LAFD would continue to monitor and raise concerns on behalf of members and the bereaved.
There was an interesting discussion, led by Robert Lodge, about the growth of comparison websites, their impact on funeral services and how LAFD might address members’ concerns.
NAFD President Jeremy Field reported developments in a number of national matters of interest, including continuing calls for enhanced Social Fund payments, proposed changes to death certification, the welcome amendments to DOLS arrangements and the introduction of regulation of funeral services in Scotland.
Adam Ginder and Simon Truelove reminded members of recent changes to Health & Safety guidance and legislative developments of relevance to funeral firms.
Claire Austin reported the success of the recent Ball at London Lancaster Hotel. In response to members’ requests, the event would be returning to the Park Lane Ballroom on 24th February 2018.
The President’s nominated charity for the year was St Claire’s Hospice, to which retiring President James was delighted to present a cheque for £4,000.
District Chairmen Ray Barnes and Ben Walkling reviewed activities in Western and Southern District Associations respectively, where there had been several interesting guest speakers at recent meetings.
A number of changes to the Association’s Officers and Committee were announced:
James Gallagher presented the chain of office to new President Matthew Barber, who will be ably supported by Vice-President Richard van Nes.
Graham Saville continues as Treasurer and James Gallagher assumes the office of Immediate Past President.
Steve Thomas (of Haven Funeral Services), Emily Skelton (of Dignity) and Anji Reeves (of Rowland Brothers) were elected to Committee, joining the Officers and six further re-elected members: Claire Austin, Ray Barnes, Adam Ginder, Robert Lodge, Stuart Payne and Simon Truelove.
Long-standing committee members John Lodge, Barry Pritchard, Jeremy Field and Sam Kershaw had stepped down and were thanked warmly for their service to London members; all 4 have served terms as President, amongst a number of other roles, and will be sorely missed.
During the evening three members received Honorary Membership in recognition of their very long service to the Association.
The awards had been a well-kept secret from the three recipients for some months and their surprised delight was very evident.
Barry Pritchard reported the Association’s education activities, including the autumn’s successful Update Seminar and forthcoming International Transportation Seminar. Certificate in Funeral Arranging & Administration courses had proved so popular that the course in September 2016 had been followed with a January cohort and a number of places already had been booked for the next course, in September 2017. Since January, a parallel pilot course had been trialled for Sussex County Association, which was the first course offered to students outside LAFD’s region. Certificates and prizes were presented to successful students from the 2016 Autumn course, Course M:
Pass with Distinction
Emily Forster Sharma of WA Truelove Ltd
Thomas Hoyles of Lodge Brothers
Jacqueline Veasey of Dignity Funerals
Dawn Hazelton of Lodge Brothers
Pass with Credit
Sandra Brown of CPJ Field & Co.
Kim Taylor of T Cribb & Sons
Lucia Browne of WA Truelove Ltd
Perri Loughran of T Cribb & Sons
Loretta Simpson of WA Truelove Ltd
Graham Simpson of Lodge Brothers
Thomas Bishop of Arnolds Funeral Service
Darren Pollington of Lodge Brothers
David Rogers of Arnolds Funeral Service
Sarah Kempton of T Cribb & Sons
Tracy Cooper of WA Truelove Ltd
Daniel de la Haye of Arnolds Funeral Service