Published: 19:30, 17 September 2021
| Updated: 20:18, 17 September 2021
A long-serving funeral director has looked back on 30 years of supporting the bereaved through more than 40,000 funerals.
Carol Harmer, who works at F. C. Wood Funeral Directors on Tufton Street in Ashford, arranged her first funeral aged 38 and has been recognised by her employers for her three decades of service.
She said: "I joined the funeral profession 30 years ago when my husband was a funeral service organiser and worked for the Great Southern Company.
"He told me about a position that had come up as a residential receptionist at one of the funeral directors. My career progressed from there, and I worked my way up from a receptionist to a conductor, then a funeral director and then a manager.
"Since I've joined the funeral sector, I've seen how much it's changed.
"Cremations have become a more popular option, and funerals aren't as religious as they used to be. Funerals are now more about the person who has passed away and it's personal to them, from the order of service, to the music that's played."
Carol recalled arranging the funerals of a pastor and the pastor’s wife, which were very big affairs that took eight hours.
"If I wasn’t working in the funeral profession, I would have liked to have been in entertainment..."
"There were horse drawn hearses, a jazz band playing and Bishops from New York in attendance," she remembers.
"I sometimes think that if I wasn’t working in the funeral profession, I would have liked to have been in entertainment, performing on the stage.
"I see my current role as if you are on show, in front of the hearse, doing a procession for the family and friends and carrying out the deceased’s wishes."