Wathall’s Shortlisted For Two Regional Awards
Wathall’s, which is Derby’s longest established independent funeral directors, has been shortlisted for two prestigious regional awards.
Helen Wathall MBE is the fifth generation of her family to run the company which has been established since 1858 and now has branches in Ashbourne, Derby, Alvaston, Borrowash and Burton. She is one of the few women to lead a funeral director business in the UK and has reached the final of the Institute of Directors’ Midlands business awards in the Family Business category.
In addition, Wathall’s has been shortlisted for East Midlands Chamber’s Derbyshire business awards in recognition of the company’s contribution to the community. The IoD awards will be announced at a virtual ceremony on Thursday November 12 and the EMC awards on Thursday December 6.
Helen Wathall said: “We are obviously delighted that our pedigree as a long-standing family business which continues to go from strength to strength and our contribution to the local communities that we serve in Derbyshire and Staffordshire have been recognised in this way.
“Reaching the finals of these prestigious awards is an achievement in itself and, although we would obviously like to win, we recognise that the competition from fellow local and regional businesses is extremely tough.
“So much has changed this year for us all and, although it is shame not to be able to all meet up at presentation events, we will be watching online and will plan our own socially-distanced celebrations with the whole team here – whatever the outcome.”
Helen Wathall was appointed Managing Director after the death of her father Bill Wathall and has recently been joined in the business by her daughters Bec and Charlotte. Helen was the first female and the youngest ever National President of the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors in 2002 and in 2016 she was appointed as the first female non executive board director of Golden Charter – the UK’s leading provider of
funeral plans in the UK. She is Board Chair of St Peters Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) and was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List last year for services to the business and the community of Derbyshire.
Wathall’s is now planning future expansion by opening new branches across Derbyshire. This will better serve more local communities both in terms of the services that it provides and partnership opportunities to support more organisations who provide a lifeline to people when they desperately need it.
Services have been expanded during Helen’s tenure to include:
- Funeral arranging – arranging more than 950 funerals a year
- Funeral planning – opening more than 200 new funeral plans a year
- Later life planning – enabling people to register their funeral wishes and other instructions
- Dandelions Bereavement Support – an expanded programme to support people through their bereavement journey with practical and emotional help
- Design and manufacturing of memorial stones, graveside ornaments and pet memorials by Art Stone Memorials in Burton which is part of Wathall’s
In addition, Wathall’s has always been committed to being much more than a funeral director and to making a positive contribution to the well-being of the communities that it serves. Community support ranges from work to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour as part of St Peters Quarter Business Improvement District to supporting a wide range of charities by donating 10% of its profits to local good causes.
And during the Covid pandemic, services, support for families and community impact during the pandemic have all been adapted to meet Government guidelines and the professionalism and experience of the team has been put to the ultimate test. Helen Wathall also represents all Derbyshire funeral directors on the Local Resilience Forum which is run by Derbyshire County Council Emergency Planning.