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A Week in the Life Of Sarah Yeomans


Nottingham Road in Chaddesden is already busy, despite it being a cold Monday morning and I arrive at the same time as many of our neighbouring businesses.  We are looking to sponsor a local charitable cause so, as I am opening up, I speak to one of them who I know has lived locally all her life to see if she has any suggestions.

I started my working life in the funeral industry as an apprentice straight from school with Pride Funeral Services which became part of the Wathall’s family seven years ago and I was delighted when I was offered the role as branch manager here. We opened here 18 months ago and it is great to be part of such a vibrant, close-knit business community who have been so welcoming.

I start the day catching up on emails and speaking to families who have lost a loved one overnight – sending them our Next Steps brochure which is really useful and setting up appointments with those who want to use our services from the Chaddesden branch.

I also contact the families who I am arranging funerals for at the moment to ensure they are OK and whether they need anything else. I find the job really rewarding – helping people at such a difficult time in their lives and helping to ensure that the funeral wishes of they and their loved ones are fulfilled.


I am looking after the management of the pre-paid funeral plans at the moment which is something I really enjoy and I have a virtual meeting with the area manager of Golden Charter who we organise the plans with to discuss some interesting future developments which will make life even easier for people with their later life planning.

I then have several telephone calls and a couple of short meetings with people about their own pre-paid funeral plans which is always a very positive experience. Many of the people who have enquired in recent times have done so after arranging funerals for their loved ones – recognising that having their funeral wishes written down and the arrangements put in place will ease the burden on their own family when they pass away. 

I also take delivery of ashes for two families and contact them to arrange for them to be collected.  They also want information about keepsakes and have ordered an urn.


We have high footfall in this area and, particularly as we are so close to the Nottingham Road cemetery, families often pop in or telephone to discuss memorials for their loved ones. The weather is lovely today which has encouraged people to get out and about so it’s a busy day with various people calling in. I therefore take down the details of what the family would like, give them or send as much information as I can so that they can start considering the options and contact my colleague at Art Stone Memorials in Stapenhill.  She’s the expert in these matters and I know I am leaving the families in capable hands.

The sun is still shining so, at lunchtime, I walk up to the road for a meeting of the Friends of Nottingham Road Cemetery group. We discuss future plans for tidying up an overgrown area and plans for other maintenance as well as plans for a future open day event.


I have two appointments with families today to discuss funeral arrangements.  Most people like to come into the branch as it is a convenient and neutral place for family members to come together although I am happy to do home visits if that’s better for them.

One of the meetings is with a large family whose father had already confirmed his funeral wishes at a local crematorium.  The family are far more relaxed, knowing that their father’s wishes and this will be a wonderful celebration of his long and happy life. He was a life-long Rams fan and, as DCFC’s preferred partner, he wanted a 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. 

I also prepare the Chapel of Rest for a family who want to come and say their final private farewells the day before the funeral.  For many people, having their loved one close to home before the funeral is a great comfort so I greet the family, double check whether they would like the coffin to be open.  After they leave, I also make the final checks such as whether they will be wearing their jewellery or whether it needs to be returned to the family and seal the coffin ready for the funeral tomorrow.


I have two funerals leaving from here today so I get in particularly early as the floral tributes arrive first thing. The final checks are a very organised process which I and the funeral conductor carry out before the hearse leaves. I find this a particularly interesting aspect of the job as I would like to train to also be a funeral conductor as well as arranger in the future.

I also have a meeting today with a family who want to create some glass keepsakes for the deceased’s children and grandchildren to keep and they opt for the Wings of Hope keepsake urns which will be a great comfort to them.  She was a keen gardener so they also order a garden memorial which I then order from the Art Stone Memorials team.

That sets the tone nicely for my own weekend as I have plans to spend it in my own garden – planting some colour and caring for my favourite plants.