A week in the life – Anita Fenton, Borrowash branch manager
In the latest of our features about the work of team members across Wathall’s, we focus on Anita Fenton who is the manager of our Borrowash branch.
It’s the start of another week and the day begins, as always with taking our laid back Bulldog cross Millie and very active Border Collie Miles for their morning walk. They are chalk and cheese but love to start the day either plodding along or dashing after the ball.
My husband Paul also works for Wathall’s as a pall bearer based at Macklin Street so we head off in different directions. I have been at Wathall’s for five years having previously worked in retail management. I was ready for a change and my sister Sarah recommended that I apply having told me just how rewarding the job is. She was not wrong – I love it here as every day is different.
After opening up the branch on the main road through Borrowash, I check through the weekend’s emails and messages and, most importantly, my ‘to do’ list which is the last thing I do in the office every evening – I do love a list!
I have two very different funeral arrangement meetings today – one by video call with family who lives away and the other is a home visit because the widow has mobility problems so it is much easier if I meet the family in her home.
I prepare for a meeting with a large family who are arranging a funeral for their father at one of the local crematoria. It’s really important to take cues from the family about the tone of these meetings and, indeed the funeral itself. The family are adamant that they want the funeral to be a joyful celebration of their dad’s long and happy life.
Their dad was also a life-long Rams fan and we are DCFC’s preferred partner so I arrange for the family to have the special Derby County coffin, order of service, floral tributes, ties and scarves. We also arrange for a brick to be produced by our sister company Art Stone Memorials which will feature in the memorial area at Pride Park stadium.
After agreeing all the details, we spend time looking through the photographs they have so that I can upload them for the visual tribute that they want to feature in the service.
On my way into work, I drop off a hamper at a local nursing home so that they can raffle it off to raise money for residents’ outings. Borrowash is a very close-knit community and I have really enjoyed becoming part of that. Our involvement in the village includes sponsoring Borrowash in Bloom. The village has been very successful in previous years and I bump into some of the volunteers on the high street who are tending to the tubs and planters to make sure they are at their best when the judges come round for their inspection visit.
People often pop into the branch and one of our local residents, who is also a member of our Dandelions Bereavement Support Group, drops in for a cup of tea. It is always lovely to catch up with him and he usually pops in once a week for a chat ever since we arranged his wife’s funeral several years ago.
I then prepare for a visit from a family who wish to see their loved one in the chapel of rest ahead of the funeral. As we are on the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, we serve a broad community and this family have travelled from the other side of Nottingham – keen to use a funeral director close to Dale Hill natural burial ground which will be their mother’s final resting place.
As soon as I open the door, a local florist arrives with the beautiful floral tributes to a local lady whose funeral it is today. I determine with the florist which is the main tribute and put them aside safely whilst I make the final preparations and check in the chapel of rest before the hearse arrives. It’s nice to see my husband who is driving the hearse today as we have both had such a busy week it feel like we have been passing ships!
After lunch, I notify colleagues that I am heading out and go to see a couple who are keen to take out pre-paid funeral plans. It turns out to be a very interesting meeting as they have very clear ideas about how they want their funeral to reflect their lives as keen musicians and we have a nice time filling out the funeral wishes booklet that Wathall’s has designed for this purpose – especially choosing their favourite songs and readings for the service.
I usually have around five funerals to arrange at any one time and I am a very methodical person so I spend the day double checking all the details of the funerals that will take place the following week. I contact the families to check they are OK and to follow up any information that is outstanding and also touch base with the ministers and celebrants who are conducting the services to ensure they have everything they need.
It’s also nice to have a new colleague with me in the office today who is training to be a funeral arranger and is shadowing me as part of his training.
I finish for the weekend and head straight to a local garden centre as the forecast is lovely for the weekend and I plan to spend it planting my new vegetable bed which I am very excited about.