The new site manager of Sedgemoor Crematorium, near Bridgwater, said she believes she has found her true vocation.
Laura Williams said: “This is where I was meant to be” just a few weeks after starting her new role at the site, which is run by Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries.
Laura was born in Taunton before moving to Bridgwater in 2001, where she still lives today with her husband and two teenage children.
After studying health and social care, she went into the retail sector where she was involved in coaching and developing people.
“Working with people was always my passion,” she said. “There’s nothing better than seeing someone progress to bigger and better things, and to help them get to where they want to be.”
A recruitment agency contacted her with an opportunity for another crematorium company at a time when Laura was looking for a role that would provide her with a better work-life balance.
Two years later, she joined Westerleigh Group and is now relishing her role as site manager at Sedgemoor Crematorium.
She said: “As soon as I spoke to the recruitment company, I knew that this was the industry that I wanted to be in. I always believed that the right job for you would find you, and it has.
“I love working with the team and the crematorium, the extended team within the group and the external teams, such as the funeral directors.
“We are all here for the same reason, which is to support the families who have lost loved ones.
“My approach is simple; what do bereaved families need in order to make their loved one’s final journey a comforting experience for those they are leaving behind? If there is any way in which I can make it happen, then it will – that is the core of our exceptional care.
“It’s a tremendous feeling when I go home every day knowing that I have been helping people and giving their loved ones a place where they know they are going to be well looked after.
“In this role, you get to know the families and hear about their lost loved ones. It is extremely rewarding to be able to spend time with families, wander around our grounds with them, listen to them and talk with them.”
Laura added: “One of the things that drew me to the Westerleigh Group was the aim of building further on its already high level of involvement with local communities, whether it is through supporting charities and other worthy organisations to simply being approachable and welcoming people to our peaceful and tranquil surroundings.
“We are keen to change outdated stigma around cemeteries; we are not just here for the ceremonies but we are here to look after the families, too, making this a place that people want to come to.
“While it is understandably emotional to begin with, we want this to be a place people want to come to in order to remember their lost loved ones, reflect on their happy memories, and find some peace and comfort.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic has placed a lot of restrictions on everyone, but we’ve worked hard to support families who have not been able to come and visit their memorials because of the lockdown.
“When families have sent in flowers, we have placed them in the garden and then taken photos to send back to the families, so that they can see their loved ones are being remembered. We are looking forward to restrictions being eased so that we can welcome all those families back in person, because ultimately, Westerleigh Group is all about people.”
If you would like to speak to Laura or her team at Sedgemoor Crematorium and find out more about the range of services or memorial prices, please email: Sedgemoor@westerleighgroup.co.uk or call 01278 680020.