Robert Gresty was voted as national president of the organisation, having been a member since its inaugural meeting in 1982.
He passed the diploma when it was introduced in 1964 and is also a qualified embalmer – being a member of the British Institute of Embalmers since 1980 and currently the divisional representation for the organisation.
A vice president for the coming year was also elected: M Coghlan Funeral Directors’ Sally Walton, who passed her diploma in 2004 having already conducted 25 funerals by that time.
Sally found her calling for funeral directing having started in a part time role. When she was offered a full-time position, she “jumped at [it], knowing that I wished to be more involved with the families and running of the business,” she said.
The funeral director, from Fareham, near Portsmouth, is excited about the future of her career. “I look forward to the challenges that lay ahead, not only for the coming year but obviously the year of my presidency, and I hope I shall do my very best for the institute and keep the momentum going as far as the new educational courses are concerned,” she commented.
Electing the new president and vice president was not the only piece of business on the agenda at the annual general meeting, as the BIFD also formally announced a series of qualifications in funeral directing to encompass a level of experience suitable for all candidates. Courses include the Certificate in Funeral Directing; a new Diploma in the Funeral Service; and an introductory certificate for people outside of the profession who wish to know more.