An overwhelming sense of job satisfaction gained through supporting the bereaved is what drives Shaun Chapman-Young, who has just been appointed site manager at Westerleigh Cemetery & Crematorium, near Bristol.
Although he had never originally considered working in the bereavement sector Shaun, who lives in Corsham, Wiltshire, has never looked back.
Westerleigh Crematorium is part of Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner-operator of crematoria, with 35 sites across England, Scotland and Wales.
Prior to taking up his new position, Shaun was site manager at another Westerleigh Group site, West Wiltshire Crematorium, where he spent three very happy years.
Shaun, who took a BTEC National Diploma in Public Services at Chippenham College, followed by an apprenticeship in Hotel Management & Hospitality, said: “I never really knew what I wanted to do growing up.
“I tried my hand at lots of different jobs and travelled quite a bit, hoping to find what I ultimately wanted to settle down doing; we spend such a huge part of our lives at work, I just wanted to be happy in the job I was doing, and not dread the thought of the alarm clock going off each morning.
“I never, ever thought I would end up working in the bereavement sector. It hadn’t crossed my mind, until I called in to see a friend who was working at a local funeral directors, and I was offered a part-time position on a casual basis; the extra money came in handy.
“But I soon realised it was a profession like no other. The huge sense of job satisfaction that comes with supporting the bereaved is overwhelming. I soon knew that this is what I wanted to do.”
Shaun ended up working as a funeral director for seven years before moving to West Wiltshire Crematorium.
“I absolutely loved my job at West Wiltshire. Not once did I wake up in the morning and not want to go to work. I always felt very lucky to have found this in a job.
“The decision to move to Westerleigh Crematorium was a tough one, as I loved working at West Wiltshire. But Westerleigh Crematorium is one of the bigger sites that the Westerleigh Group operates and offered me the opportunity to learn about managing not only a crematorium but a cemetery, a hospitality suite, where families can hold a wake, and an on-site café.
“Westerleigh Crematorium is one of the most beautiful places to visit, all thanks to the amazing team that works here, and my main aim is to ensure this continues.
“I want to work closely with all the funeral directors that visit the crematorium, ensuring we provide a unique and personal service to the bereaved.
“Nobody really wants to have to visit a crematorium because, ultimately, it means they’ve lost someone they love.
“But when this does happen, I want to make sure that Westerleigh Crematorium is a place people want to visit, and where they enjoy spending time remembering a loved one, finding comfort in the surroundings.
“Funeral services are changing fast and we are seeing a large proportion of funerals that are very personal and unique.
“These personal touches could be anything from having a beloved pet dog attend, a motorcade of classic cars following the hearse or the whole congregation dressed in the deceased’s favourite colours.
“I am very aware of how much these personal touches mean to those left behind so, as long as it is safe to do so, I will ensure families in our care get to celebrate the life of their loved one exactly as they would want to.”
If you would like to speak to Shaun or a member of his team at Westerleigh Cemetery & Crematorium to find out more about the range of crematorium and burial services, or memorials, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 937 4619.