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A Week in the Life of Lynne Rigby

Lynne Rigby is the Receptionist & Bereavement Support Facilitator here at Wathall’s and is a familiar face to many of our families – meeting and greeting visitors and working alongside Fay at Dandelions bereavement support groups and at the Grief Journey programme.


I am in the Derby branch today at Macklin Street but, looking at the diary, I will be working at various branches this week so it is certainly going to be a varied one for me. My job is very wide ranging which I love, and that probably sums up my working life so far. Having worked in a children’s nursery, then a secondary school supporting students who were deaf, I joined Wathall’s nine years ago. I started my job being based in Derby as receptionist and answering the phones but this has evolved over the years.  Having said that, Monday is always a very full day and the majority of it is spent answering the phone and either liaising with colleagues or handling enquiries myself.


I am back in Derby first thing to receive the cremated remains which are delivered from the crematorium.  When the ashes are delivered, I log them all onto our database and let the arrangers know they have arrived, so that they can contact the families and arrange collection.  Receiving the ashes is a very important part of the grief journey for families so it is imperative that it is handled correctly. Mid-morning I head over to our Allestree branch to cover for branch manager, Amanda Howitt. Now that everybody is working on the same system – it is quite a simple process to look after a branch if the manager is on annual leave or spending a day out of the office visiting families. After closing up the branch, I then head off to Derby Rugby Club with my colleague Fay Bloor, to run the evening Dandelions Bereavement Support Group. This is in addition to the two daytime groups which meet monthly in Ashbourne and twice monthly at St Peter’s Church in Derby city centre.


I am at the Borrowash branch today and, after the hearse arrives to pick up a coffin first thing, the diary is pretty clear so I get on with some of other jobs.  I collate the feedback forms which are, 9 times out of 10 – very positive, but there are occasionally some that have constructive feedback which is just as useful.  I check who has been involved in that particular funeral and share with colleagues as it is important for everyone to see what the family has said.  In the afternoon, I meet up again with Fay, this time to help deliver the Grief Journey session.  I particularly enjoy this part of my job, supporting people who have suffered a bereavement to develop the tools, knowledge and a fresh mindset to come to terms with grief and work towards their future. People are often signposted to us by their GP or other health professionals and we aim to have a maximum of six people so that everybody has the chance to talk things through. It is particularly rewarding when someone opens up about their feelings for the first time, I finish the session with a mindfulness exercise to ensure everyone leaves calm and relaxed. 


Today I have been asked to visit the Alvaston branch to support the manager there who has a meeting with the daughter of a lady who has passed away.  The daughter is hearing impaired and as I am British Sign Language (BSL) trained – I am there to ensure that communication is free flowing and that her wishes are fully met.  Since I am already at the branch, I stay there for the rest of the day following up on some appointments and handling enquiries that come through.


Today I am back at the Derby branch, which is a hive of activity as everyone is trying to get as much done as possible before the end of the week. I spend a lot of Friday answering the phones, which means often I am the first point of contact with families. I take the initial enquiries and start to get the arrangement process rolling for them.  The day flies by and I leave the office looking forward to a long walk with my husband Frank – who is based at our Ashbourne branch – and our two Beagles followed by lunch at our favourite country pub.  Sunday will then be busy with the grandchildren coming over for the day and a family lunch.