Meet Your Funeral Care Expert: Lianna Champ
Lianna Champ — Pioneer, MD, Funeral Expert, Civil Funeral Minister, Counsellor, Author and Speaker on the subject of grief.
What made you want to become a Funeral Director?
Definitely vocational – I wanted to be an undertaker from the age of 9, even though I was always told I may as well be an astronaut as I would have no chance of either. I never wavered. Regardless of being classed as weird and called ‘Morticia’.
What qualifications do you possess and how do they help you do your job?
- Diploma in Funeral Directing
- Diploma in Embalming
- NOCN Level 3 Diploma in Funeral Celebrancy
- Certified Grief Recovery Specialist
I think it’s very reassuring for the families we work with to know that we are trained and qualified to a professional level.
It helps me in my job knowing that the families we work with are receiving the best care and service possible. If we received a funeral instruction from the Royal household we wouldn’t change a thing – well we would, but not our Champ standard of service or levels of excellence, we’d just put the Royal Crest on the hearse door.
Being a qualified funeral director, grief care specialist and funeral minister create a hand in glove experience. Everything takes place under one roof. Also, as embalmers, we have state-of-the-art facilities at our premises, so when we bring someone into our care, they remain with us until the day of the funeral. Other funeral homes use central holding areas.
What’s the working environment like at Champs and how would you describe your colleagues?
Each day is different. Everything can change in an instant – we never know who’s at the end of the phone, but whatever the call, we are always calm and knowledgeable and can help in an instant.
There’s a lovely atmosphere in the building, and we often receive lovely comments about it. Because of the nature of our work, we are like extended family, working really closely together to ensure a seamless service, but also to lift each other up when there’s a particularly traumatic funeral we have to arrange. We help and support each other.
What’s your favourite thing about being a funeral director?
I love the diversity. Each person is unique. Each funeral is unique. It’s great to work with families who like to create something special – it gets us thinking outside the box, and we really get to know the families we work for.
What’s your favourite way to wind down after a day/week at work?
In winter, a nice warming meal, then snuggling up in front of the fire. In summer, out in the garden or a nice dog walk. Though Charles does have plans to get me out cycling as soon as the weather improves!
What’s your advice to someone who is trying to cope with grief?
Find someone you feel safe with to share your feelings. Ask them just to listen without analysing what you are saying. In fact, without making any comment, just to accept your words.
When we are happy or receive good news, we want to share it with others. It’s the same when we are sad – we need to share that too. Very often, just voicing how we feel can release a lot of emotional tension.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
When I lost my mum in 2011. I had nowhere to turn. This sent me on a quest to learn everything I could about grief and this is now my area of specialism.
From working with thousands of grievers for over thirty years and receiving their feedback, we have crafted a unique approach to grief which heals negative emotions people may be carrying, which can complicate their present grief experiences.
When you can see that you have made even the tiniest difference to a family. It’s one of the most rewarding things about our work.
What’s your personal motto?
Always be your best.
Champ Funerals opening day in 1986 with the former Mayor & Mayoress of Hyndburn
Who inspires you?
Always my mum.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the past year?
To take risks, try something new. I don’t want to have regrets about something I knew I should have done but didn’t. I like change, and even though I have been running Champ for over thirty years, there have been many changes and new developments without losing our ethos of care and excellence.
If you were to tell one person, thank you for what you did, you made me who I am today, who would that be?
Again, my mum. There were many things I didn’t understand growing up. I didn’t see the gifts she was carving out for me. Now I do and am grateful to her on a daily basis. She is my guide and yardstick.
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