November sees us celebrating your stories about Doing what matters most, one of our Ways of Being Co-op. Meet Funeral Director Raegan Drew who always does what matters most for her clients.
I originally studied beauty at college but when I received my qualification as a beauty specialist from Mary Reids, I didn’t feel it was what I wanted to do. I’d always been very interested in make-up but hadn’t made my mind up on which career path I’d use this in and the thought of working at a beauty counter didn’t appeal to me.
I started looking into cosmetology in the funeral industry which is when I first heard about embalming. After researching it I arranged to meet with a small family funeral directors to chat and they gave me my first insight into embalming as a work experience placement. From that point I knew this is what I wanted to do so I paid to do a private embalming course held in Dumbarton.
After an initial knock back from an interview, I decided to send Co-op Funeralcare a letter every month for a year which finally led to a second interview when a position as a funeral arranger became available.
I got the job and after achieving my qualification in this role, I became a funeral director. My initial ambition to become an embalmer shifted when I decided I wanted to be involved in the funeral process from start to finish.
So what does a Funeral Director do?
My role’s varied. I could be in the office arranging masonry products and other services available, or arranging a funeral with bereaved families, making sure that all their wishes are carried out exactly as agreed.
On the day of a funeral I’ll be there for our clients as the main person responsible. I could also be attending a death at a nursing home, family homes or even going to hospitals to bring people’s loved ones into our care.
Part of the job also involves being on call. The nature of our business means we need to provide a 24/7 service so we can be there for our clients no matter what time of day or night. From time to time I could be furnishing coffins in the workshop or preparing a limousine or hearse for a funeral. I also still get the opportunity to embalm and prepare people’s loved ones in our care.
Reactions from family and friends
My family and friends are so supportive. They’re very proud of the role I do. My friends love introducing me with ‘guess what her job is?’ – no one has got it right yet.
Unfortunately I’ve had to arrange and conduct funerals in my own circle of family and friends, and it’s at these times those closest to me get to see in a bit more depth what I do.
My advice to young people
Don’t give up. It can be difficult to get into the industry, especially for a young person. I was 18 when I first started applying. It took me two years to get my foot in the door but I’ve never looked back and it can be a career for life if you’re willing to work hard.
I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, I believe there’s no other job satisfaction like it.
Funeral Director – Howgate, Midlothian
Raegan’s story was in The Sun this weekend