Funeral director Stephen Gay and his son David
Most children grow up wanting to be a fireman or a footballer, but there was only ever one profession for young Stephen Gay.
And while other youngsters were getting up early for their paper round, he was already making his way in the family business.
Funeral director Mr Gay embalmed his first body at 11 - and says that working in funerals isn't just a job, it's a way of life.
He said: "I was always brought up with the trade and it's always been what I wanted to do. I never wanted to do anything else.
"I can't even remember the first time I saw a dead body because it was such a long time ago.
"I was brought up to respect the dead and the fact they are dead means they're not going to hurt you so there was nothing to be scared of."
Mr Gay has pledged his support to a new crematorium on farmland off Gravesend Road, in Chalk. It will offer a range of services including an opportunity for mourners to webcast their funeral service.
Mr Gay said: "They did bring the plans to me and I made a couple of observations and the plans have been modified since I spoke to the developers.
"It will be quite good for the economy in Gravesend with job opportunities."
Gravesend funeral director Stephen Gay with his son David
Mr Gay, 47, has been working in the industry all his life.
Members of his family have been in the trade since 1750. More recently his grandfather, Douglas, ran Leverton Funeral Service in Dartford in the 1960s and his father Peter, ran Peter E Gay & Co in Perry Street, Gravesend, in the 1970s and 80s.
Mr Gay conducted his first funeral at 16 and now runs two firms, Lewis Solomon Funeral Service, in Darnley Road, Gravesend, and Stephen P Gay Funeral Service, in Station Road, Longfield.
The family tradition shows no sign of stopping with Stephen's son and "right hand man" David, 20, helping him run the business.
"It's long hours with very hard work, but it's rewarding. You can help people at a very hard time..." - funeral director Stephen Gay
Mr Gay said: "I think David was always going to come into the trade.
"At one point he did want to go into medical science but after so many years of education he decided to start with funeral work. He enjoys it and he's good at it, so it was the right decision.
"It definitely helps having a family member working with you. David is very much like me, he has the passion."
Green funerals with woodland burials are popular, but Mr Gay said that although fashions will fluctuate, the same qualities will always be needed to be a funeral director.
He said: "I think you need to be compassionate and very sympathetic and understanding.
"It's a vocation like no other. In this profession you get to go home when you go home, it's not nine to five. It's long hours with very hard work, but it's rewarding. You can help people at a very hard time."
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