I chose to specialise in palliative care as it was within this field that I felt I could make the greatest difference to the quality and comfort of people’s lives.
After having my daughters in 2013 and 2017, I felt ready for a new challenge.
Knowing that I wanted to continue in palliative care, but with an awareness of the fear which many people feel around death and dying, I felt passionate about improving end of life care and empowering people to regain control of how and where they are cared for at the end.
Occasionally, the conversation would turn to the funeral and families would comment on how they were ‘dreading the funeral’ or how they just wanted to 'get through the funeral’.
I felt incredibly sorry that people felt such negative emotions about such an important occasion, their opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one.
In palliative care we adhere to the principle ‘One Chance to Get It Right’ and I felt that the same applied to funerals.
I decided that I wanted to create a service which provided a continuation of care; combining end of life care and funeral care. I feel strongly that good after death care should follow good end of life care and wanted to be able to provide both.
In 2018, I left my role as advanced clinical specialist in oncology and palliative care in the NHS and embarked on my training to become an End of Life Doula. I opted to train with Living Well Dying Well, as they offer the only certified training for Doulas in the UK, holding a Crossfields Institute Quality Mark.
I also began working for Full Circle Funerals, an award-winning, independent funeral directors in Leeds and helped to open their second branch in Bramley in 2019.
This provided me with the practical experience I needed and reinforced my desire to create my own independent funeral service.
That same year, I completed my formal training with Green Fuse, an award-winning training body for modern funeral directors, who are committed to improving the standard of funerals in the UK.
I now have the skills, training and experience to empower people to have the death they want and the funeral they want, with the right level of professional support throughout.
Why ‘Hand in Hand Funerals’ ?
‘Hand in Hand’ was a phrase which came up repeatedly. From the very first conversations I had about creating a service which offered end of life care and funeral planning, to a funeral service which incorporated bereavement support, people would agree that each of these ‘went Hand in Hand’.
And when people learn that I am an end of life doula and a funeral director, they often comment how these roles go ‘Hand in Hand’.
To me, I hope ‘Hand in Hand’ conveys a message of compassion, creating connection and providing comfort, all of which are fundamental to the service we provide.
I also hope that it demonstrates our intention to ‘walk alongside’, providing support to individuals and families at each stage of their end of life journey.