Hayley Owen Blog

Hayley Owen Blog

My Life With Death - Dancing Embalmers - a top night out!

EmbalmingPosted by Hayley Owen Mon, January 22, 2018 10:13:27

All good things come to an end! And I'm not talking about Life!

When I got involved in embalming more than a decade ago, I had no idea that one day I'd have the honour of being chairwoman of the Yorkshire division of the British Institute of Embalmers (BIE) in my late 20s. Now I'm feeling sad as I'm about to hand back my chains of office.

It's been a whirlwind and fabulous 12 months at the county's embalming helm with many highlights, not least a huge get-together with loads of other embalmers in Harrogate at a hotel where the author Agatha Christie hung out when she "disappeared" for 11 days in 1926. It's also been brilliant to have so much support and help from so many (including my partner Dave, see above) and the chance to get to know some wonderful people.

I'll be giving a speech and kissing my chains goodbye at a dinner dance for the Yorkshire division at the Mercure York Fairfield Manor Hotel on the 27th of January. There'll be around 100 people there, some of them embalmers from across the county and some of them travelling from as far afield as Birmingham, Wales and the South. Some student embalmers will be there too, always good to see.

It took me four years to become a qualified embalmer and it's not easy. Hopefully these embalmers-in-the-making will be inspired to continue in the profession. Embalming is an everyday practice, after all, used on people from all walks of life (including China's Chairman Mao!) but, of course, not used on everyone. With increasing numbers of 'green' funerals these days, embalming and its heavy use of chemicals probably won't be around forever. However, it's certainly still done an awful lot now, although it's not discussed much by most people.

The BIE was set up in 1927 by some funeral directors who realised an organisation for professional embalmers was needed. I'll be sorry to no longer be chairwoman for Yorkshire but I look forward to many more years of involvement with this reputable organisation. I will do my utmost to build on all the good relationships formed and strengthened this year.

Plus, I'm looking forward to the dinner dance; I'm already dusting off my glad rags!

Until next time,


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