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Trio 'unsung heroes of astonishing brilliance'

By Herald Express  |  Posted: October 04, 2012

AWARDS: From left, Rupert Callender, Claire Callender, Simon Smith and Jane Morrell

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THREE Totnes companies have been recognised at the Good Funeral Guide Awards.

Green Fuse Funerals on Totnes High Street and The Green Funeral Company at Dartington Hall were jointly awarded the funeral director of the year, and Bidwell Woodland Burial Ground at Rattery won the cemetery of the year award.

The Good Funeral Guide Awards received 149 nominations made by the general public in 14 categories.

Charles Cowling, editor of the guide, said it was for 'unsung heroes of astonishing brilliance in a much misunderstood industry'.

Jane Morrell, of Green Fuse, said: "Being a funeral director is a multi-faceted role. We listen carefully to families to find out what would make a good funeral for their loved person and then make sure they get what they want.

"To do this we need to listen well, provide clear information about what is possible, put the ceremony at the heart of the decisions and be a strong support and guide for each family through a time of upheaval and great emotion."

Simon Smith added: "We are delighted and a bit in awe to have won this national award.

"There are many excellent funeral directors serving families across the country, so to be chosen is a huge honour.

"It is a testament to the families we have served since we began in 1999 for their courage and inspiration to make the funeral just as they want it to be."

Rupert Callender, of The Green Funeral Company, said: "We are thrilled to receive this award. We have been doing this entirely our own way for 13 years now, and at times we have felt like a dinghy battered by the wake of ocean going tankers, but it is a real vindication of this way of doing things to be recognised like this.

"These are not alternative funerals, these are real funerals, and the families who participate with us play just as important role in the organisation and delivery of the funeral as we do. Totnes has always been a clearing house for new social ideas, it's good to see this progressive tradition continuing."

Claire Callender said: "The funerals we do aren't filled with strange new age rituals, they are simple and appropriate.

"They just also happen to be beautiful and effective. This award really belongs to all the families across Devon and Cornwall who have taught us how to do this over the years. It has been a privilege to stand beside them."

Andrew Lithgow, owner of Bidwell Woodland Burial, said: "The site in Rattery has been open for more than 12 years."

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