CEMETERY & CREMATORIA DEVELOPMENT.

Our People

Westerleigh Group owes its continued success to a strong senior leadership team supported by an extensive network of skilled, dedicated staff. The combination ensures the delivery of outstanding results across all the sites and facilities we manage.

Westerleigh employees are highly committed with a strong sense of ownership and pride. Driven by a desire to meet the needs of the bereaved with a professional service, our teams are key to meeting the company’s core objective to deliver the highest possible standards of care.

In return, we ensure that all of our people are genuinely supported by the senior leadership team who take personal responsibility for standards of conduct and performance across the group.

Read our Gender Pay Gap Report for 2023 here.

Leadership Team

Neil McCausland

Chairman

Neil has been Chairman of many prestigious organisations for the last 20 years, and has served on Boards of many companies across healthcare, leisure and retail – companies such as Kurt Geiger, Karen Millen, Snow and Rock, Nuffield Health and Joules. In addition to Westerleigh, he currently chairs a fast growing chain of IVF clinics called Create Fertility.

Debbie Smith

Chief Executive Officer

Debbie joined the Group in January 2022.  A highly accomplished business leader Debbie has extensive Executive and Board level experience across the UK and Ireland, predominantly in large, complex, customer-facing organisations in regulated markets, including MD, Boots Ireland and Chair Payzone Bill Payments Services. She has also worked with many NFP organisations previously being on the board of Business in the Community Ireland and Deputy Chair of Business in the Community Place Leadership Team in the UK. She is currently working with Dementia UK as a member of their Development Board.

Debbie is a purpose and values driven leader who is renowned for championing inclusivity and diversity throughout her career, most recently, as a Retail Week ‘Be Inspired’ ambassador.

Ian McArdle

Chief Property Officer

Ian joined Westerleigh Group in October 2018 to lead the property and development team. Prior to joining Westerleigh, Ian was Managing Director of GP Group, a leading UK investor and developer in the healthcare sector. Prior to that, Ian was a Director of AWG Development Ltd, a major UK property developer where he was responsible for their commercial development business throughout England and Wales.

Steve Wallis

Commercial Director

Steve joined Westerleigh Group in early 2021.  He has 25 years’ experience in the funeral industry, and spent more than 20 years at Dignity, where he ran the funeral plan business for over 10 years and spent 5 years as commercial director.  Steve has expertise in marketing, digital, customer services, pricing and operations.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Data and Marketing.

Ed Lane

Operations Director

Ed joined Westerleigh In July 2021. Previously the Director of Operations with FirstCare, Ed has a wealth of sector experience from his time with the Co-op and brings a strong value set centred on exceptional colleague and client experiences.  Ed has held a number of senior key operational multi-site roles in the bereavement, retail and healthcare sectors, having worked for Virgin, Dixons, The Co-op and Apple during his career to date.

Amy Marsh

HR Director

Amy joined Westerleigh as HR Director in October 2020 following a 25 year career in global fashion and UK retail businesses. She has a breadth of operational, business change and people experience across multi-site locations and whilst able to innovate and contribute to strategy, she likes nothing better than to roll her sleeves up and make a true difference with activities that will create value for the business and are important to colleagues. Amy is a member of the CIPD and actively participates in a number of professional associations, providing effective partnership and strong leadership.

Zoe Tindall-Doman

Chief Financial Officer

Zoe joined the Group as CFO in March 2021 with over 20 years’ experience as a CFO in multi-site, private equity-backed businesses across numerous sectors including leisure & hospitality, healthcare and technology infrastructure. Zoe is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a graduate of the London School of Economics.

Core Operations Team

Alan Jose

Westerleigh Ambassador

Alan has spent his long career in crematoria and cemeteries since leaving college, working in both the private and public sector in several different parts of the country.

Alan joined Westerleigh Group in 2013 and continues to be closely involved with all aspects of the funeral sector. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Crematorium and Cemetery Management and is also a Director.  Alan is a past National President of the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and he sits on the Executive Committee. Alan also serves on the Executive Committee of the Funeral Suppliers Association, has close links with a number of Funeral Director Trade Associations, and represents Westerleigh Group on Government working groups.

When not working, Alan enjoys holidays and Jaguar cars, often combined.

Kevin Davies

Head Of Division

Kevin’s career started in engineering before starting a printing company specialising in business forms, suppling a number of blue-chip companies.

He moved to the crematoria sector in 1998 working at Telford Crematorium whilst being involved with the construction and subsequent management of Llanelli Crematorium which opened in 2002, which he managed until its acquisition by Westerleigh Group at the end of 2014.

Kevin became Regional Manager for the South West and Wales, to oversee strategic operations across all crematoria in this region, the role which later evolved into Head of Division. Kevin’s extensive experience of the bereavement sector, crematoria management and operations help us maintain exceptionally standards of care and quality and forge positive relationship with the funeral director community.

Darren Daughters

Head of Division

Darren joined the funeral sector in May 2000 as a Crematorium Assistant at Kent County Crematorium where he became Assistant Manager in 2006. In 2010, when Westerleigh Group acquired Kent County Crematorium, Darren became its Site Manager and just one year later, he also took on the management of neighbouring Charing Crematorium.

Since 2021, Darren has been working across the South region, supporting other Westerleigh Group crematoria spanning from Norfolk, through London to Kent, as Divisional Operations Manager and in December 2023 took on the role of Head of Division. Having worked in all aspects of crematoria operations he has built up a vast knowledge of industry, which allows him to support Westerleigh crematoria in their vision to provide the highest levels of care to families.

Astrud Matanle

Head of Masonry & Service Delivery

Astrud joined Westerleigh Group as Manager of Parndon Wood Cemetery & Crematorium in October 2016, following a career move into the bereavement sector working at one of the largest Cemetery & Crematorium Authorities in Kent. 

Astrud enjoyed the transition to the role of Regional Manager for the South East region in October 2019, ensuring service delivery to the communities we serve, through some very challenging times.

In May 2023, the opportunity to become Head of Masonry and Service Delivery has allowed her to return her focus on providing the very best level of care possible to complete the bereavement journey for families entrusting their loved ones into our care.

Matthew Brook

Head of Partnerships and Propositions

Matt joined Westerleigh Group in 2017, initially as the Site Manager of Sedgemoor Crematorium before becoming a Dual Site Manager in March 2020. Matt moved over to become the Group’s Commercial and Operations Support Manager in May 2020 before being appointed as Head of Memorialisation in August 2021 and Head of Partnerships and Propositions from May 2023.

Matt has a management background in Health and Social care prior to joining Westerleigh which is where his passion for supporting families originated. He is passionate about providing the highest standards of care to the bereaved whether that is at one of our crematoria or in providing a long-lasting tribute to the lives of loved ones through memorialisation.

Giles Palmer

Head of Grounds

Giles joined Westerleigh Group in the spring of 2021, bringing 25 years of experience in the curation, conservation and development of historic and botanical gardens, nature reserves and outdoor public spaces. 

He has led native species conservation projects within the UK and collaborated on projects as far afield as Vietnam. Gardens of note include Chartwell, the family home of Sir Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie's Greenway and the RHS accredited Coleton Fishacre.

Giles could not wait to get started in the bereavement industry and stated: ‘Throughout my career I have witnessed first-hand how people instinctively reach for the comfort of plants and nature in times of need. It is a privilege to ensure our gardens provide solace for bereaved families when grieving the passing of a loved one, and the opportunity to celebrate the full circle of life.’

Steve Glen

Head of Central Operations

Steve joined Westerleigh Group in December 2015, following a career in the police service. During this time, he was fortunate enough to work in some highly demanding but ultimately satisfying roles. The police serviced gave him a wealth of varying experiences which still benefit him to this day. He initially started his journey with Westerleigh Group at West Lancashire Crematorium, working his way up from Crematorium Assistant to Site Manager. The formation of an exceptional team has seen West Lancashire Crematorium continue to grow in terms of services held and reputation.

Moving to Head of Central Operations in October 2021 has come at an ideal time for Steve. He sees this as an opportunity to offer his experiences to assist not only the leadership team with ongoing operational demands, but to ensure that all individual crematoria continue their development with future projects, changes within the sector and maintaining the group’s reputation as the ‘best in the business’.

Jason King M.ICCM (Dip)

Head of Quality & Standards

Jason began his career at Westerleigh Group in 1997. During this time he has gained vast experience and practical knowledge on the setting up and management of cemeteries and crematoria and is part of the company’s technical team.

He has managed several Westerleigh sites including Forest Park, Parndon Wood and Woollensbrook. He is a Diploma holder in the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management and he prides himself in providing the highest standards of care to the bereaved.

Donnie Connor

Divisional Operations Manager

Donnie previously worked for many years in social care before joining Westerleigh Group four years ago. He started as the Crematorium Manager at Stirlingshire Crematorium before promotion to his current role of Divisional Operations Manager. Donnie is a skilled leader and manager who is excited about the future with the Group and to be part of the future development of the company.

Out of work, he plays lawn bowls to a good level, enjoys dining out and spending time with his wife and his wee Bichon Frise Dog, Teddie.

Lisa Johnson

Divisional Operations Manager

Lisa joined Westerleigh Group as the site manager of Wessex Vale Crematorium in September 2009, following a successful 10-year career within the finance sector.

During her time with Westerleigh, Lisa has continued to remain the site at Wessex Vale Crematorium whilst taking on the additional promotions of multi-site manager, regional support manager for the South and South Central and then becoming the Divisional Operations Manager.

Lisa enjoys working for Westerleigh Group, as it is a company who shares the same ethics as herself. Lisa believes that it is a privilege to be able to care and look after families through such a difficult time.

Hannah Giles

Divisional Operations Manager

Hannah joined the Westerleigh Group as the Site Manager of The Forest of Dean Crematorium in February 2016, following an 8-year career in Retail Management. One of Hannah’s biggest achievements was becoming one of the youngest Manager’s in Retail at the age of 17.

During her time with Westerleigh, Hannah has continued the running of the site at The Forest of Dean Crematorium whilst taking on the additional promotions of Multi-Site manager in 2019, Regional Support Manager for the Wales and South West Region in 2020 and becoming the Divisional Operations Manager for the Hanham Division in May 2022.

Hannah loves working for Westerleigh Group, as she gets to support as many people as possible whether that be colleagues or community at such a difficult time in their lives.

Claire Butcher

Divisional Operations Manager

Claire joined the funeral sector in September 2010 as an administrator at West Suffolk Cemetery & Crematorium and is a perfect example of Westerleigh Group’s internal progression and development of its colleagues.

In December 2015, Claire was appointed as Assistant Manager at West Suffolk Cemetery & Crematorium, which coincided with the building and opening of a new chapel and Hospitality Suite. Then in June 2018 Claire was appointed as the Manager of the newly opened Cam Valley Crematorium at Great Chesterford which she successfully managed until August 2021 when she returned to West Suffolk Cemetery & Crematorium as the Site Manager & Registrar.

Claire was delighted with the latest progression opportunity into the role of Divisional Operations Manager which she started in December 2023.

Shaun Chapman-Young

Divisional Operations Manager- Interim

Shaun started his career with Westerleigh Group in 2018 as a Site Manager at our West Wiltshire site. He was based there for three years before having the opportunity to move access to Westerleigh Crematorium. The new position allowed him to expand his knowledge of burials and hospitality which were two areas of the business he'd never worked in before. 

At the end of 2023, Shaun took up the offer of a secondment opportunity to the Divisional Operations Manager role. He's looking forward to taking on this role, working with other sites and supporting them when needed.  

Mark Hull

Chief Marketing Officer

Mark is an accomplished marketing professional with over 25 years' experience in broad ranging marketing roles, including 10 years within the end-of-life sector.  He joined Westerleigh Group in November 2022.

Committed to developing exceptional and talented teams, Mark leads by example with an MBA from Cranfield University, he's a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the CIM, and also a Chartered Manager and Fellow of the CMI.

Mark has extensive experience of leading marketing through business change and digital transformation and been recognised with prestigious awards for brand, digital and marketing leadership.

Rachel Newham

Business Partnership Manager - Distinct Cremations

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