Another year of awards, Anne recognised as one of Suffolk’s 100 most inspirational women and meeting our bereavement dogs

Our newest recruit Kevin Mobbs passes his Funeral Directing exams, along with Rhys Askham who has been with us since he came for two weeks work experience when he was at Hartismere High School. Rhys completed his apprenticeship with Rosedale and then went off to travel the world gaining some valuable work experience in the funeral profession in New Zealand before being recognised in the National Good Funeral Awards and being promoted to the position of Funeral Director in our Attleborough and Wymondham funeral homes. Our Diss team also expanded again to include Keith a former accountant who is retraining to be a Funeral Director and is passionate about promoting the resources for bereaved children and Charmaine, a younger recruit who brings many skills to the organisation, not least her attention to detail and proof reading skills, which are so very important when dealing with tasks such as designed Service Sheets and dealing with charitable donations that have been sent in lieu of floral tributes. This was another bumper year of awards for us, we were runners up in the East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards for environment and sustainability and went on to win the same award over the border in Norfolk – our third Eastern Daily Press Business Award. The same year, we received national recognition in the Good Funeral Awards when we were crowned the most eco-friendly Funeral Director in the country. A large part of this success was as a result of working with Gabi’s garden on an initiative to make funeral flowers more environmentally friends and Gabi came up with beautiful designs for plastic free flowers, which can be recycled instead of going to landfill. The ideas received nationwide coverage and we hope we have inspired other florists to come on board and go plastic free. Rosedale has grown to a size that we never fully anticipated and the strains on Anne and Simon of overseeing the administration, premises, vehicles, staff, legal compliance, finances and marketing whilst dealing with four significant family bereavements themselves had taken its toll over the last four years. Extra help was required and Lucy Coote took a sideways move to embrace the role of Community Ambassador and develop some exciting new projects such as our ‘Cooking for one’ recipe book, Mental Health in the community and Clergy bereavement training. Because Christmas is such a busy time of year at Rosedale, we usually have our Christmas get together during the summer instead of December. This year we all met for a cookery demonstration and meal at the Assembly House in Norwich. We were very excited to share our plans for our recipe book and Richard Hughes agreed to write the foreword and supply a recipe. #nevermissanopportunity #neveroffduty Anne was included in a compilation of Suffolk’s 100 most inspirational women and attended a celebratory lunch at Kesgrave Hall. Our charity fundraising this year included two bingo nights raising funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Nelson’s Journey, as well as our Smalls for All appeal where we set up collection points for underwear for people in dire need. We also took donations of sanitary towels and supported period poverty. Although these were serious issues, we had great fun along the way and enjoyed lots of cake at our celebratory coffee morning. This year was Nelson’s Journey 20th birthday and we celebrated with them by attending their ball and was also one of twenty Norfolk businesses that pledge to raise £1,000 during the year. Of course, we smashed this target and aim to go on and raise even more money next year. We were joined during the year by Hazel Cresswell a Funeral Celebrant with many years of experience. This brings the number of celebrants who work almost exclusively for Rosedale to five as Hazel joins Major David Young a retired Salvation Army Officer, Reg Kirkpatrick an Ordained Local Minister and Chaplain to All Hallows Healthcare Trust and Beverley Bulmer and Bridget Truman who are all independent celebrants. We believe it is important to try and find the right person for each family as every funeral is different and unique. Here at Rosedale, we learnt just how healing and therapeutic animals can be especially during a time of great loss and we have two bereavement dogs. Buzz, Beverley’s little boy has been assisting bereaved families in Norfolk with his terrier smile and tail wags since the tender age of 8 weeks old and can be found either sat quietly on one of our families laps or greeting everyone at the door. Simba, Faith’s golden Labrador joined the Suffolk team this year and has made quite a hit. We appreciate how difficult walking into a funeral home can be and it has been lovely to see, first hand, people instantly relaxing and interacting. Simba is a happy boy who loves a belly rub and enjoys supporting Mencap, a local charity for people with learning disabilities, he gets lots of attention wherever he goes but likes to give back too.”