National recognition for Llanelli Funeral Director


Llanelli funeral director Gemma O'Driscoll is walking proof you can juggle a career with bringing up a large family.
Gemma and husband John-Paul are the proud parents of six daughters.
While John-Paul works as the rentals manager in charge of the property portfolio for 'Secret Millionaire' Kevin Green, Gemma has her own career as the owner of G E O'Driscoll and Daughters, Funeral Directors in Hendy.
And the latest success in her dynamic career has been to be elected President of the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF).
The honour was bestowed on Gemma at the Society’s Annual General Meeting held at Windsor.
"It really is a huge privilege," said Gemma.
"We've all worked very hard on the business and it is a real feather in our cap to be honoured with the SAIF Presidency.
"It is a very much a team effort in our household. Everyone pulls together and the result is success in the shape of this presidential honour."
Gemma has been recognised for the hard work she has carried out for the society over the past six years.
She has served as a Quality Assurance assessor, inspecting members’ premises to ensure they comply with the Society’s high standards, been a member of the National Executive Committee and has been a Trainer and Assessor for the Independent Funeral Directors College, using her wealth of experience to train new, and not so new, entrants to the funeral profession.
Throughout her year in office, Gemma will travel to all parts of the United Kingdom to meet fellow members, attending meetings and spreading the word about SAIF, which last year celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Gemma has nominated, Child Bereavement UK and Epilepsy Action as her chosen charities during her year in office.
Gemma explained how she started work as a funeral director -
"I have worked within the funeral profession for almost 18 years, initially part time through college and university. I began attending meetings with SAIF, the trade association for funeral directors more than 10 years ago and became involved quite quickly in the organisation that exists to promote and protect independent, often family owned businesses.
"Believing in high standards, and quality training, I began work for the Independent Funeral Directors College more than six years ago, as a trainer and assessor. Then, five years ago I became a quality assurance inspector for SAIF, inspecting members throughout wales, the West Country and the midlands.
"I have learnt a great deal from this; from the issues being faced to the regional variations that exist; but most of all I have learnt what a dedicated group of funeral directors our members are. I have been inspired by those I have met on my travels, and I look forward to meeting even more this year. In 2012 I joined the SAIF Executive and was honoured to be elected National President 2015-2016, becoming only the third woman to hold the position."
Gemma said she had chosen special charities for her year of office -
"Child Bereavement UK provides help and support to both children that have lost a loved one, and also to those that have lost a child. They also provide training to professionals including schools, giving teachers the tools they need to help the children in their care affected by bereavement. I am sure that we have all encountered families who would benefit from the services offered by CBUK and so I hope that you will all feel it is a worthwhile charity to support this year.
"My second charity is a personal one. 18 months ago my children’s world was rocked when they woke one morning to find that their beloved Grampa had died following a seizure. He had lived with Epilepsy for over 25 years but one night he did not recover. The shock of that night still ripples through the heart of my family, and that is why I have chosen Epilepsy Action as my second charity this year.
"We will be hosting many challenges throughout the year to raise funds for my charities. I will be completing the West Highland Way in June 2015. This is a 96 mile walk from Glasgow to the West Highlands, usually completed over seven days; however we are going to attempt to complete the walk in three days!
"A large number of funeral directors, family and friends will be climbing Snowdon in July, again to raise funds for my chosen charities.
"The first event however is a Purple day event today (Friday), to raise funds and awareness of Epilepsy.
"My eight-year-old daughter Maribeth is cutting her 29-inch-long hair to raise money.
"So far we have donations totalling more tha £300. The hair itself is being donated to the Little Princess Trust, who provides real-hair wigs for children that have lost their hair through cancer treatment. 
"I have had lots of support from other funeral directors throughout South Wales and, aside from our big challenges, we will also be holding raffles at our meetings, an auction at our Christmas dinner to be held in Carmarthen and the year will end with an AGM and banquet weekend at The Vale Resort next March when I will present the charities with the money raised."
National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)

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