Julian Walker made a visit to the factory of Poppy Scotland - AB Walker through its partnership with Golden Charter funeral plans support the Royal British Legion and sister organisation Poppy Scotland with a very specific funeral plan campaign in October and November each year.
At the factory Julian was shown how over five million poppies are constructed, packed and stored each year completely by hand through a team of disabled ex-servicemen.
The Scottish poppy has symbolic differences from the two leaf poppy we see in the south of England.
Julian Walker is preparing for the Royal British Legion London to Paris being held at the end of August.
Covering 460 kilometres into the heart of Paris and alongside nearly 200 other riders, the event is in support of ex-servicemen and women.
Julian, who took up cycling only last year is progressing with his training and will launch his fundraising in mid-June.
The Opening and Dedication of St Andrew's Ark and Parish Office took place on Sunday 7th May. A special service was led by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, at which the Ark was officially dedicated. Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled the plaque, formally opening St. Andrew’s Ark.
Hundreds of people in the Berkshire area attended our Annual Service of Remembrance on April 2. The service which took place at the Reading Minster of St Mary the Virgin was officiated by the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud.
Matthew Walker, Director of A.B. Walker, said: "This service is an occasion of togetherness and allows us to reflect on love and lives shared.
"Each of you will be here on your own personal journey adjusting to the pain of losing a loved one. I stand here today, with my family, in just that situation, having lost a dear uncle who we buried just ten days ago.
"Throughout our journey a whole spectrum of feelings and sensations are experienced which are individual to each of us.
"Although we all grieve in our own manner, each of us has gathered this afternoon with a common thread of being on similar journeys, being in a position of having to adjust our lives when we lose someone we love and dearly miss."
We wish to thank all those families for attending and we hope that this service has offered some peace with an opportunity to commemorate the loss of our loved ones.
Melissa Walker of A B Walker, The Funeral People, was commissioned as a qualified Street Pastor at a service on Saturday 25th February 2017 at Life Spring Church after 40 hours of training over a 6 month period. Melissa volunteered to join the Reading Street Pastors and has been out regularly on Saturday night patrols - assisting vulnerable people in Reading town centre.
"I really enjoy being part of a wonderful team which is devoted to looking out for people at night in Reading, usually who have over indulged!" Reading Street Pastors, which is a Christian based project is based at Reading Minster in the town centre and has teams out between 10pm to 3am every Friday and Saturday night, along with added cover for Reading Universities Fresher's Week, Reading Festival and the Henley Regatta.
Reading Street Pastor, Sally Leonard (left) and Melissa Walker (Right)
In partnership with Golden Charter and their 2016 Poppy Appeal, £70,000 was raised for the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland. This incredible amount was raised by donating £25 from each funeral plan sold in October and November and A B Walker are delighted that we had a part in this.
Thank you for all that helped to support the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland – the money will go towards helping ex-Service personnel and their families with household repairs and minor adaptations in order for them to continue living independently in their own home.
Grandfather Ken Stevens has won his funeral in a prize draw organised by Berkshire funeral directors A.B. Walker.
Ken, who lives in Sonning Common, has won a pre-paid funeral plan.
The 71 year-old was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in 2015. He already had a will and has prepared an information pack of things to do after his death, including draft notification letters to the bank, utilities and Pension Company.
‘The overall objective is to minimise the admin that my wife will have to handle at a difficult time’ he said.
He was delighted when he heard that he had won the funeral plan. ‘I cannot be certain how much time I have left to save up for one,’ he said.
‘It is comforting to know that this major aspect of advance planning is now already settled.
‘Prepayment could well, in effect, produce a better rate of interest than simply putting money by in a savings account, as funeral costs appear to be inflating faster than the miserable rates offered by banks.
‘Aside from the admin and financial benefits of a pre-paid funeral plan, it also enables me to indicate my wishes as to the sort of funeral I would like.’
Ken has chosen a cremation at Reading Crematorium. He has suggested his ashes could be scattered in Shetland where he used to live, or on Hampstead Heath where he proposed to his wife in the 1960s.
A.B. Walker Director Julian Walker said: ‘Death is something that no-one wants to think about, and that’s natural. But for many people planning their funeral has brought peace of mind. It also allows you to save money by purchasing a funeral at today’s prices rather than what they may be in the future.
A.B Walker has seen soaring demand for funeral plans. ‘A funeral plan takes the worry and expense out of planning a funeral,’ says Julian. ‘Planning ahead can help to ease the financial and emotional burden on loved ones at a distressing time. Funeral plans are often bought by people as part of later life planning. You can make arrangements for your funeral, exactly how you want it to be. We can advise and assist with all the details.’
A.B. Walker is one of Berkshire’s oldest family businesses. It started in 1826 and is now run by the fifth generation of the same family, brothers Julian and Matthew Walker. There are branches in Reading, Bracknell, Wokingham, Henley-on-Thames, Thatcham, Caversham and Maidenhead.