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Edward Poole of A.J. Sellman Funeral Directors

National Storytelling Week 2020 will run from Saturday 1 February to 8 February and, all across the country, people will be telling their stories in theatres, museums, schools, hospitals and care homes. To celebrate this special week of stories we have interviewed five independent funeral directors in our UK-wide network and asked each of them to share some stories about their life as a funeral director, how they see the profession and some of their favourite things.

Edward Poole of A.J. Sellman Funeral Directors in Staffordshire joined the family business after stints in London where he worked in sales and marketing and as a professional rugby player in Worcester. He longs for more comfortable clothes to wear at summer funerals, but loves helping families in their time of need. The most unique funeral he has been involved in featured an articulated lorry.

Golden Charter: What made you consider entering the funeral director profession?

Edward: I was 27 when I started working for my family business. Beforehand, I worked in London and whilst enjoying it immensely I was ready to come home. At the time my father asked me to come into Sellmans to give the company more of a commercial focus. The needs of the business and my own intersected, and I have enjoyed every minute.

Golden Charter: Have you ever had any other jobs outside of the profession?

Edward: Yes, I have been a professional rugby player for Worcester, worked at an agricultural college and in the brewing industry. The latter two entailed insights, sales and marketing roles.

Golden Charter: As it's National Storytelling week, complete this sentence: "The one thing I would change in the funeral profession right now would be..."

Edward: For the attire to be more accommodating when it is really hot. It can be very soporific wearing a shirt, waistcoat and tails when it is over thirty degrees in a black hearse.

Golden Charter: Can you tell us the story of the most unique funeral you have ever conducted?

Edward: Using an articulated lorry for a hearse. It felt strange having to climb up into the cab after walking in front, not to mention the difficulty getting to the crematorium driving through winding lanes.

Golden Charter: What do you enjoy most about your job?

Edward: People. We get to meet such a range and variety of clients and it gives me a buzz to be of help and care for them.

Golden Charter: Is there a particular moment that stands out for you during your time in the profession?

Edward: The journey and working with my family to grow and improve the business. 

Golden Charter: If you could invite three guests to a dinner party who would you pick?

Edward: Being a huge rugby fan, the first one would be Eddie Jones - I have just read his book and found it fascinating. If he was alive, I'd invite Steve Jobs - I would love to listen to his views on a range of topics and experience his innovative mind first hand. And finally, Greta Thunberg - an inspirational young lady who would bring a fresh perspective to the dinner.

Golden Charter: What is your favourite book, or your favourite book growing up?

Edward: My favourite book is 'The Shadow of The Wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. I read it in my early twenties travelling in Europe. Up until that point, as an adult, I had only read non-fiction but this book completely captivated me and got me into reading for pleasure.

Growing up it had to be 'James and The Giant Peach' by Roald Dahl. I vividly remember being mesmerised by the sharks chomping at the peach when it was adrift at sea. I recently read it to my seven year old son - who also loved it.

Golden Charter: Finally, if you had one final meal, what would you have?

Edward: Whilst I like fine dining, it would have to be lasagne and garlic bread with a beer or glass of red wine.

A.J. Sellman is just one of the almost 3,000 independent funeral directors that make up Golden Charter's UK-wide network. To find out more about how you can plan for your funeral with one of the funeral directors in our network, request a free, no obligation information pack below or call 0808 169 4534.

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Golden Charter has one of the largest networks of independent funeral directors in the UK. Many are long-standing, family-run businesses and all provide a compassionate and professional service.

Find out more about how you can plan for your funeral with one of the funeral directors in our network.