A well-known Ayrshire funeral director has been recognised for 30 years of hard work.
Keith Anderson, of Portland Funeral Service in Kilmarnock and George Telfer Funeral Directors in Cumnock, has received a special commemorative award for three decades’ service from his employer, Dignity Funerals.
Facing death as part of daily life and work might seem difficult for some – but like many in the funeral sector, it’s a vocation for Keith.
He said: “I got my first job as an apprentice joiner at Peter Wilson & Sons Funeral Directors in 1977 and I moved on to Portland Funeral Service in 1992.
“When I started, I was washing and preparing the hearses and limousines, preparing the coffins, taking care of the deceased. I then progressed to become a funeral director at the age of about 22.
“Being the funeral director means I’m responsible for arranging every part of a person’s funeral, including the ceremony and the burial or cremation, and providing compassionate support to the bereaved family members.
The Ayrshire Live app is available to download now.
Get all the local news in your area – plus features, football news and the latest on the coronavirus crisis – at your fingertips 24/7.
The free download features the latest breaking news and exclusive stories while you can customise your page with the sections that matter to you.
The Ayrshire Live app is available to download now on iOS and Android.
“Since joining the funeral profession, I think I’ve been involved with roughly 4,000 funerals.”
Looking back on his career, Keith said: “One of the most memorable moments of my career, and also one of the most difficult, was looking after my father and conducting his funeral when he passed away.
“It lives with me every day. He was a great family man, and he would have done anything for his family.
“He passed away with cancer aged 61, destroying our lives, especially my mother’s. It was the hardest and proudest day of my career to have the honour to look after my dad. I will never forget that day, for many reasons.”
Reflecting on how funerals and the end-of-life sector has changed over the years, Keith added: “I think families are much more aware of the choices they have now.
“More people want more personal funerals today than they did years ago when I started in the funeral industry.
“The majority of people used to want their loved ones to rest at home, across the window with the window slightly open to let the spirit leave.
“But today very few families request this, probably because of children in the house and also the house not being built for taking coffins in and out!”
Don’t miss the latest Ayrshire headlines –sign up to our free daily newsletter here