Funeral Director links up with Burton school to end the taboos around death

A Central England Co-op Funeralcare colleague has been speaking to youngsters in Burton about bereavement in an effort to end the taboo around talking about dying.

Jo Mills, Funeral Area Manager for Central England Co-operative, with Reverend George Crossley, from St Mary’s and St Chad’s, spent three days working with 90 children at William Shrewsbury Primary School, in Stretton, as part of special sessions aimed at helping bring bereavement into the spotlight for young people.

As well as answering dozens of questions from the interested youngsters, Jo, who used to be Funeral Director at Wellings Funeral Service, in Burton, talked about a wide range of subjects from planning a funeral to the day-to-day life of a Funeral Director, with Reverend Crossley talking about grief, remembrance and the role of a minister.

She said: “I am so proud that we have been able to spend valuable time with children to talk about the difficult subject of death.

“I spent the time explaining to them about my job, what goes into a planning a funeral and how different faiths have different ways of saying goodbye to their loved ones.

“The children were all really engaged throughout the three days and I spent at least an hour at the end of some of the sessions answering lots and lots of questions.

“Everyone involved at Central England Co-op Funeralcare is aware that talking about death is something most people find hard to do and this is why we are pleased to be able to head into schools to speak to young people, explain away any myths and answer any questions they may have.”

The opportunity to speak to children at William Shrewsbury first came about last year after senior teachers at the school asked if Jo and Wellings would support such an event.

A detailed plan was then put in place which involved the creation of a presentation, a briefing for parents and approval from the school’s board of governors.

Mike Randles, Head of Year Five, said: “We feel that talking to youngsters about death is an important part of helping them on their journey toward adulthood.

“We reached out through a parent who works at Wellings to see if they would be interested in supporting us and Jo kindly agreed to be part of this important project.

“The three days saw 90 youngsters aged nine to 10 find out about a variety of topics from Jo and also ask her lots of questions.
“This is the second year in a row that we have worked with Reverend Crossley, Jo and Wellings and the feedback we have had on both occasions is that the youngsters enjoyed and, most importantly, started to understand more about what is a difficult and delicate subject.”

Central England Co-operative Funeralcare offers a 24-hour service, seven days a week.  In addition to arranging funerals, the teams are also able to offer advice on floral tributes, monumental masonry, funeral stationery, pre-paid funeral plans and probate advice. 

More details can be found online at


Notes to editors


About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 


It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, and property.


The company’s funeral business consists of over 120 funeral homes across 16 counties, 10 florists, masonry production and administration, Bretby Crematorium and Terry Smiths coffin factory.


Central England Co-operative has more than 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 


The Society has an ambitious food store and funeral home development programme for 2018.


Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.


Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing or visiting


For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, @mycooplife and on Facebook:


Rob Smyth at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140


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