Wigan funeral director wins national award
A Wigan funeral director who has worked in the town for four decades has been recognised at a national awards ceremony.
Sue Gibbons, who opened her own service in Poolstock four years ago, was named employee of the year for the UK’s central region in the Golden Charter Independent Funeral Directors Awards 2021.
Mrs Gibbons, who lives in Winstanley, said: “I don’t know who nominated me, it was a total shock and is just surreal. I can’t tell you how proud I am. It is the greatest compliment in the world. It’s not a job to me, it’s a vocation.
“I’ve been in this job a long time, at one stage I was also in the ambulance service at the same time, so I’ve always been in a caring profession.
“I take so much pride in the award and it’s been well worth every single minute I’ve taken to look after people.
“I’ve not had a day off since I opened. I never dreamed I would ever get chosen for anything like this, and it is amazing.
“My husband was over the moon and jumping hoops because he was so proud of me.
“He told me I had to come home that night for a Zoom call. I didn’t know what I was watching until the awards appeared.”
Mrs Gibbons has been an embalmer for the last 40 years and currently runs her funeral service, on Park Street, by herself.
She is on call 24 hours a day, all year round, with responsibilities including dressing the coffins and taking care of chapel visits.
She said: “I go on the whole journey with the families. I do the arranging and the conducting, I get some lovely cards from relatives.
“They’ve all become my friends, it’s so lovely. They become really attached and come back for a cup of tea.
“People feel comfortable because it feels like a home and some stay for hours. As long as they’re happy, I’m happy.
“I go that extra mile without thinking about it, I just want people to be able to say goodbye.
“It’s been such a horrible time for everybody during the pandemic. People haven’t been able to go to the hospitals and say goodbye, which makes a huge difference.”
Mrs Gibbons will also receive a prize of £200 to give to charity, with the funeral director choosing Brain Tumour UK and an Alzheimer’s charity, both causes close to her heart, as family members have been given terminal diagnoses.