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.
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.
Tuesday 2nd July - Kennet Shopping Centre, Newbury, RG14 5EN
Tuesday 9th July - Nicholson Shopping Centre, Maidenhead, SL6 1LB
Tuesday 16th July - Kennet Shopping Centre, Newbury, RG14 5EN
Thursday 18th July - Nicholson Shopping Centre, Maidenhead, SL6 1LB
We look forward to seeing you!
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.
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.
Losing a loved one can be one of life's most difficult experiences.
Our aim is to assist individuals during this time.
We will be holding free bereavement drop-in sessions at our Maidenhead branch on the following dates from 10am - 12noon:
Thursday 23rd May
Thursday 30th May
Thursday 6th June
Thursday 13th June
Thursday 20th June
Thursday 27th June
Please feel free to come in and have a cup of tea/coffee and a chat with our experienced team.
‘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.’
As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week we will be taking part and hosting the following events:
Monday 13th May:
5.30pm: Living & Dying Well - Crowne Plaza Reading, Caversham Bridge, Richfield Avenue, Reading, RG1 8BD.
Tuesday 14th May:
12 noon - Radio Interview with Blast 1386AM
2pm-4pm - Open Afternoon at our Reading office (36 Eldon Road, RG1 4DL)
Wednesday 15th May:
9.00am-12noon: Broad Street Mall, Broad Street, Reading, RG1 7DE
Thursday 16th May:
12noon-3.00pm: Open Afternoon at our Maidenhead office (115 Bridge Road, SL6 8NA)
Friday 17th May:
11.00am-2.00pm: Open Day at our Thatcham office (40 The Broadway, RG19 3HP)
Please pop in for a chat and to meet the team.
Information will be available on Prepaid Funeral Plans, Memorials and our bereavement after care course, Link.
Please come and visit our stand in Woodley Library where you can find out 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.
We will be at the Library on Wednesday 8th May from 10am-12noon.
Woodley Library, Headley Road, Woodley, RG5 4JA
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.
Birth and death have both been part of life for Reading Funeral Administrator Charlotte Janes.
Charlotte joined A.B. Walker in September 2018. Before that she worked in the maternity unit at Royal Berkshire Hospital.
‘I wanted to do something completely different,’ said 28 year-old Charlotte who had worked as a care assistant for eight years, looking after new mums and their babies.
Charlotte, a mother of two, has always been interested in the funeral industry. She finds her new role rewarding and enjoys helping people.