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Proud to be in Woodley

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We were proud to welcome guests to the opening of our new branch in Woodley.

The branch, at 1 Headley Road, was officially opened by Mr James Puxley, the Lord-Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire, who unveiled the commemorative plaque. Guests also included Mayor of Woodley Councillor Kay Gilder, and Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Bill Soane.

Ken Murphy, the Funeral Administrator at the branch, has lived in Woodley for the last 30 years. He said: ‘After living here for so long it is good to be able to give something back. I like to be able to help people at their hour of need. It is a close knit community in Woodley.’

A.B. Walker has been supporting bereaved families for nearly 200 years and on the wall at the new branch is a picture of Alfred Blyth Walker who took over the business in 1882.

We have been supporting bereaved families in Woodley and Earley for generations.

We are now proud to be at the heart of the community in our new branch and to be able to offer bereaved families a service on their doorstep.

Later Life Advice Event - Tuesday 22nd October

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A. B. Walker and Blandy & Blandy LLP, both of which have offices in Henley-on-Thames, will be hosting a special event at the town’s River and Rowing Museum on Tuesday 22 October from 2-4pm.

The ‘Later Life Advice Afternoon’ will “provide helpful guidance from a panel of experts on how to deal with practical, legal, financial and funeral concerns.”

Julian Walker will be speaking alongside Partner Caroline Casagranda and Associate Solicitor Elizabeth Short from Blandy & Blandy’s leading Probate, Tax & Trusts team.

With offices in Reading and Henley-on-Thames, Blandy & Blandy is an award-winning firm of solicitors and recognised as a top tier firm in the UK’s leading guides to law firms, Chambers UK and The Legal 500.

Pascal McNamara, Antiques Auctioneer, will also be available to offer guidance on valuations.

For further information on this free event, or to register to attend, please contact patricia@abwalker.co.uk or call 0118 9839 419.

Funeral Administrator Recognised in Awards

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Carolyn Tuttle, our funeral administrator in Thatcham, demonstrated her community spirit when she was chosen as a runner up in the FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards.

There were thousands of nominations and Carolyn made it to the final three in the category of Grassroots Coach of the Year.

Carolyn is a coach at Burghfield Football Club in Reading where she coaches the Saturday Mens team, the under fours and Walking Mens/Womens Football.

‘I was shocked when I heard,’ she said. ‘I am coaching almost every day and I get pleasure out of it. As long as the kids and the adults are enjoying it then I’m happy. It made me emotional to think that people were kind enough to nominate me.’

The FA and MacDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards recognise individuals and groups who put their heart and soul into the game.

The national winners, selected by a national judging panel, were chosen from a shortlist of local winners, selected by County FAs.

Someone who nominated Carolyn said: ‘Her passion for the club and her players is inspiring and unwavering.’

A.B. Walker is one of the sponsors of the Burghfield Football Club Saturday Mens. Established in 1989, Burghfield Football Club is an FA Charter Standard Club with over 400 members.

Carolyn’s brother David Tuttle used to play for Tottenham Hotspur and she has been interested in football ever since she was a teenager.

Carolyn has been part of the team at A.B. Walker for 15 years. She is someone who likes to help other people and we are very proud of her.

Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning - Friday 27th September

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In support of Macmillan Cancer Support we are will be holding coffee mornings at the following branches:

Bracknell - 157 Binfield Road, RG42 2BB - 11.00am - 1.00pm

Henley - 158 Reading Road, RG9 1EA - 10.00am - 1.00pm

Tilehurst - 13 School Road, RG31 5AR - 10.00am - 1.00pm

Thatcham - 40 The Broadway, RG19 3HP - 10.00am - 12.00 noon

Woodley - 1 Headley Road, RG5 4JB - 10.00am - 12.00 noon

Please pop in for a chat and to meet the team.

Tea/coffee and cake will be available.

We look forward to seeing you!

Annual Memorial Walk

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Our annual Memorial Walk at Dinton Pastures took place on Sunday.

Over 80 people attended and enjoyed the glorious sunshine - young and old, dogs, scooters and buggies.

6 doves were released at the beginning of the memorial walk to symbolise the act of remembrance, peace, freedom, and reflection.

ABW Information Stand - September

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Please come and visit the ABW stand for more information about prepaid funeral plans and our Link bereavement course. We will also be able to answer any general funeral questions you may have.

Thursday 5th September - Kennet Shopping Centre, Newbury, RG14 5EN

Thursday 12th September - Broad Street Mall, Reading, RG1 7QE

Tuesday 17th September - Woodley Centre Stage, Woodley Precinct, RG5 4JZ

Wednesday 18th September - Kennet Shopping Centre, Newbury, RG14 5EN

Thursday 19th September - Wokingham Market Place, RG40 1AS

Wednesday 25th September - Broad Street Mall, Reading, RG1 7QE

Monday 30th September - Older Peoples Day, Broad Street Mall, Reading, RG1 7QE

We look forward to seeing you!

Farewell to Andrew Bradley

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We would like to wish Andrew Bradley all the very best for his retirement. Andrew joined us in 2010. He was operations manager at A.B. Walker and a valued member of our team.

‘I was proud to work for A.B. Walker,’ said Andrew, a 65 years-old grandfather ‘I enjoyed the challenge of the role and working as part of a team.

‘Throughout my life I have always found it rewarding to be able to help others.’

Andrew also spent 30 years as a police officer for Thames Valley Police, working mainly in the traffic department.

He was mayor of Earley in 2009. He is a former borough councillor in Wokingham and a former town councillor for Earley.

He plans to enjoy spending time on his 32 ft cabin cruiser on the Norfolk Broads.

‘I’M A VERY CARING SORT OF PERSON’

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Mother of two Alex Williams is the new funeral administrator in Caversham.

Alex started her career as a hairdresser and then worked in customer service for a private healthcare company before she joined A.B. Walker in April 2018, based initially in our Reading office.

Alex says she loves her job. ‘It is so rewarding because you are helping families at such a difficult time,’ she says.

‘I am a very caring sort of person. I wanted to help people.

‘I love helping families at a time of need and doing everything I can for them.’

Alex, aged 45, enjoys painting and cooking in her spare time.

BOWLS GALA DAY

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A. B. Walker continued our support for the Henley Bowls Club and Palmer Park Bowls Club Gala Days.

 

Both events were well attended and a good time was had by all.

 

Wargrave were the winners for the Henley Bowls Club Gala Day with Island Bohemians taking the winning position for the Palmer Park Club Gala Day.

 

Well done to all those who attended and a special thank you to all the club members who made us feel very welcome.

 

Marcus loves his job

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Marcus Narracott loves his job as Deputy Operations Manager at A.B. Walker. He joined us in March 2018 as a Funeral Operative and took on his current role in January 2019. ‘I love the people, I love the job. I just love what I do,’ he says.

Marcus, who is 26, was managing pubs before he came to A.B. Walker and decided he would like a complete change. ‘My mum’s friend used to work here and she only had good things to say about it,’ he says.

His role now includes organising the funeral fleet, staff, and maintenance.

‘I love organising,’ he says. ‘I really care that families get what they expect and that people are treated with care.

‘I’m proud to work for A.B. Walker. We care for people and we do it to a very high standard.’

Outside of work Marcus enjoys travelling.

A.B. Walker Hosts European Conference

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We were proud to host a European conference recently, welcoming funeral directors from around the world.

Around 70 visitors from countries including the USA and Australia came to the Selected Independent Funeral Homes European Conference 2019.

The theme of the four day conference was leadership. Speakers included Minister of State for Employment Alok Sharma.

The conference included visits to Windsor Castle, The Leander Club, and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.  

We were proud to welcome visitors to the county of Berkshire and the surrounding areas, and to showcase our business and our team to our peers.

We are hugely grateful to individuals and organisations for their help in delivering this experience.

It is beneficial to share knowledge with other funeral directors from around the world.

The conference included comparing funeral practices in the USA, Australia and the UK and discussing what we can learn from each other.

Membership of Selected Independent Funeral Homes is by invitation only and is extended to worthy funeral homes after careful evaluation of their character, professional ability and reputation.

Welcome Back James!

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We are delighted to welcome back James Hall who started working with us back in January 2001.

James spent a year in Devon, where he worked for another funeral directors, but he is now back conducting funerals at A.B. Walker again.

‘It’s very good to be back,’ he says.

James’ great grandfather was a funeral director, and so he was following in family footsteps when he joined A.B. Walker.

One his first day he washed the cars but soon rose through the ranks and was the first non-family member to wear the top hat permanently. Now he walks in front of the hearse at funerals.

He has also gained a Diploma in Funeral Directing.

James enjoys the variety of his job. ‘No two days are the same,’ he says.

He also likes helping bereaved families. ‘I’m always willing to help people out if I can,’ he says. ‘In some cases it is one of the saddest days in their lives. If I can bring a bit of comfort, even just with a smile, and if I’ve made their day a bit easier, that makes me happy.

In his spare time James, now 46, has travelled around the world watching Formula 1.

CMA INVESTIGATION INTO FUNERALS SECTOR

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We have welcomed the decision by The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to launch an in-depth market investigation into the funerals sector.

We are an independent family-run firm and have been serving bereaved families in the local community for almost 200 years.

We welcome this investigation to bring greater transparency for the families we serve when it comes to price, level of care and the ability to compare the services of Funeral Directors to decide which Funeral Director to use.

At A.B. Walker we understand that in most cases people are very vulnerable when they are organising a funeral. We always aim to treat our customers fairly and to serve them in a way that we would wish to be served ourselves.

Helping the Community

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‘I really like the fact I can help people in my local community,’ says Melanie Knight, who is a Funeral Administrator in Caversham. She has lived in Caversham for seven years. ‘I really love Caversham,’ she says. ‘Although you are part of Reading it has a village feel to it.’

Melanie joined A.B. Walker in September 2018. She had spent 16 years working as a customer service host on the Caledonian Sleeper train from London to Inverness.

The first funeral she arranged from the Caversham office was at St Andrew’s Church where her daughter was christened.

‘I feel a real sense of pride that I’m dealing with the community I live in,’ she says.

Melanie, a 42 years-old mother of two, has enjoyed her new role and being able to provide a worthwhile service.  ‘It’s such a lovely job to be able to do for people,’ she says. ‘If I can make it even just the tiniest bit easier for any family or next of kin it gives me a real sense of job satisfaction.’

Hundreds light Candles at a Moving Service of Remembrance

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The Walker family joined hundreds of people lighting candles in memory of their loved ones at a moving service at Reading Minster.

The annual Service of Remembrance was organised by A.B. Walker.

The service was led by The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud.

Light streamed through the stained glass windows as young and old stood side by side remembering those they had lost.

A.B. Walker Director Matthew Walker said he hoped the service would provide reassurance to those attending that they are not alone.

‘This service is an act of togetherness that allows us to reflect on love and lives shared,’ he said.’ Although our loss is unique to each of us we can share that common thread of being on that journey, of being force to adjust our lives to a loss of those we love.’

He expressed his thanks to the Bishop of Reading who has led the service for a number of years.

The service was attended by Lord Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire Mr James Puxley, and The Mayor of Reading Councillor Debs Edwards.

Matt Allwright read a poem, Remember Me by Margaret Mead. The bible reading was read by Pastor Paul Garratt.

Refreshments were served after the service.

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