Deceased Management Matters: An Interview with Judith Emond of Borders Crematorium

25th November 2021 | Interviews Members

Which Crematorium/Authority do you work for? 

Borders Crematorium – Part of the Westerleigh Group for 10 years. 


What is your role? 

Crematorium Manager.  


Reflecting on this past year, what challenges did you face with the pandemic, how did you approach them and what are you focusing on moving forward?

The Covid-19 Pandemic has been the biggest challenge the Cremation industry has ever seen.   

We were faced with ever changing restrictions and different rules in each country within the UK, this proved to be exceptionally difficult for us and added to the confusion for families as we have many cross-border funerals, some of these changes were required to be implemented with less than 24 hours’ notice. 

The biggest and most difficult restriction we were forced to implement was the restriction on the number of mourners permitted in the chapel, which at times felt almost inhumane. This, for me personally, was the most challenging and deeply upsetting time, removing chairs from our chapel and leaving only 10, went against every basic instinct I have, to provide exceptional care to our families.  

Despite the support given to us by the business and HMI Cremation, we, as an industry, were left in no doubt that the onus to ensure the enforcement of these stringent regulations, lay with ourselves.  

Despite these challenges, aided by an excellent relationship with our Funeral Directors, Clergy & officiants, we worked together as a team, tirelessly, to ensure that every family who crossed our threshold felt safe and cared for. Rather than looking at the small numbers in the chapel negatively, we were able to help families feel that this was a chance to have a very personal and intimate service, and at times there were many laughs and tears that there may not have been in a larger gathering.   

It has become apparent, since the outbreak of Covid-19 that there is a demand for Direct Cremation.  

We as an industry need to learn to adapt and flex, we must accept that following this Pandemic, it is inevitable we will see a lower death rate in the next couple of years, yet another challenge for us. 

Looking to the future, we must never forget what is important to a family; we may have the most up-to-date technology and the most beautiful building, but if we don’t have the right team on the ground, none of it will matter. 




Judith Emond is the Crematorium Manager at Borders Crematorium and you can connect with her here.

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