A Teesside funeral home owner has been inaugurated as the new President of the UK funeral industry’s leading independent trade organisation.

Alison Crake of Stockton-based funeral directors Crake and Mallon is heading up the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) for the next twelve months.

Established in 1905, the NAFD upholds standards and champions the needs of the funeral profession and the bereaved families they care for across the United Kingdom.

It is the largest trade association for the funeral sector with almost 4,000 of the circa 5,000 funeral homes nationwide represented which, between them, organise about 80% of all funerals held in the UK each year.

It also includes hundreds of suppliers to the sector as members, who provide everything from caskets and urns, to firework displays containing ashes, as well as a number of international members whose work often crosses international borders.

Alison Crake is the organisation’s 99th President and her role encompasses leading the organisation in its representations at all levels of Government on legislative matters as well as its campaigning on funeral matters.

As the Senior Partner of one of Teesside’s longest-established and best known family-owned funeral businesses, Alison is passionate about upholding the highest possible standards within the industry.

“The theme for my presidential year is ‘shared knowledge’ which will include engaging with other kindred associations and external stakeholders to look at how collaborative working can help us provide the best possible service to the bereaved and their families,” she said.

Developing education and training within the industry is one of the key themes Alison plans to focus on during her presidential year.

She achieved an MBA in Business Administration and Enterprise from Teesside University in 2008 and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.  Alison has served on the NAFD’s Committee of Professional Development (CPD) since 2010, and has been an elected member of the NAFD’s Executive since 2012.

She said: “One of my first tasks is working with a newly formed Board of Education to expand upon the work of the CPD that I also chair.  We will be responsible for creating the vision, strategy and plan for training and education services for the benefit of funeral service employers and their employees.

“It is vital that people who work in this industry can get professional recognition and I will be working on a robust framework and supporting system to enable NAFD qualified Funeral Directors to access opportunities for continuous professional development.”

Alison joined Crake and Mallon in 1979 and commented: “During my career I have seen huge changes in the profession as well as many challenges and these will help inform my inaugural year.  But whilst we represent the views and interests of funeral businesses, we will never do so to the detriment of the bereaved and the families we care for.”

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