Long-serving Funeral Director is taken down memory lane to mark 25th anniversary of Lowestoft Funeral Home
Posted by James Brindle | 09/03/2020 | Category: Funerals
A Lowestoft funeral director who has been helping families in the town for 25 years has been surprised with a trip down memory lane to mark a special anniversary.
Graeme Franks moved to Lowestoft from his native north-east a quarter of a century ago after falling in love with the east coast while on holiday in the area.
He applied for a role as a driver/bearer at Central England Co-op Funeralcare in Police Station Road - which at that point was yet to open its doors - and has been serving families in the town ever since, now working out of the Society’s Pakefield Street Funeral Home as Funeral Director.
The Police Station Road Funeral Home developed close links with the nearby former Westgate Department Store, which was then also run by the Co-op, and Graeme’s wife, known affectionately as Barbie, ran the café there for many years.
Therefore, Graeme’s colleagues decided to mark the 25th anniversary of both the Funeral Home and his time in Lowestoft by holding a special celebration event.
Former colleagues and friends from both Police Station Road and Westgate were invited, exactly 25 years to the day since the funeral home opened.
Graeme, 58, said: “It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and former colleagues and a really nice surprise as it had been kept secret from me that they would be there.
“I’ve worked in the funeral business for well over 30 years now in all and I would not want to do anything else. I love meeting families, chatting to them, putting them at ease and supporting them.
“I’m very passionate about the job and helping families. I used to get upset along with them and took the work home with me, but you have to learn to switch off.
“I get real job satisfaction making sure every detail goes right for the family, as even what seems like a small thing can really mean a lot to families.”
Graeme, who now lives in Carlton Colville with wife Barbie, said the role has delivered many varying challenges and a range of unusual requests over the years, with one particular request sticking in his mind.
Graeme said: “We do get some different requests from families and we will always try to meet their wishes. One that sticks out to me is when a young motorcycle fanatic had sadly passed away and it was his wish that he had a motorcycle hearse and for it to do a couple of drive pasts along the A12 with his coffin.
“I was on the back of the bike, having never been on one before. It was certainly an experience, but I’m always determined to ensure our families’ wishes are met.”
Senior Funeral Director at Police Station Road Funeral Home Laura Crowley helped organise the celebration and said it was a great way to mark the milestone.
She said: “It was a lovely event and as well as colleagues old and new, we also opened the doors to the public to pop in and have a chat and celebrate with us, as we are proud to be part of the local community in Lowestoft.
“We were also delighted to surprise Graeme and Barbie – we contacted lots of his and Barbie’s ex-colleagues and it was great that so many came along and to hear them all share their stories of the ‘olden days.”
Central England Co-op Funeralcare’s Police Station Road Funeral Home offers a 24-hour service, seven days a week. In addition to arranging funerals, the team are also able to offer advice on floral tributes, monumental masonry, funeral stationery, pre-paid funeral plans and probate advice. The team can be contacted on 01502 583637.