Child Funeral Charity is a result of like-minded people, linked to the funeral industry, talking about their experiences of trying to support families arranging a funeral for a baby or child. Discussions revolved around the financial pressures, emotional stress, and difficulties families in such situations encounter. They realised there was a gap for an organisation who could help provide that support and decided to do something about it.
There are three Charity Trustees – Anne Barber, Mary Tomes and Kevin Tomes and the charity is administered by a Chief Executive Officer, Roger Gale.
Roger Gale, Chief Executive Officer
Roger’s background is in the ‘third sector’, with vast experience of managing both large and small organisations. He has a Master’s Degree in Education and has worked with children and young adults with additional support needs for his entire career. Some of these children have been at the end of their life and he has witnessed first-hand the concerns of families at this time. Roger has two children and three grandchildren. His hobbies are travel and photography which he likes to link together.
Anne Barber, Trustee
Anne is Managing Director of Civil Ceremonies Ltd and founder and Honorary President of the Institute of Civil Funerals. Anne established Civil Funerals in the UK in 2002 and founded the Institute of Civil Funerals in 2004. She wrote and published ‘The Complete Guide to Naming Ceremonies’ in 2008 and has established the websites Funeral Map, an online resource for those arranging a funeral and Celebrant Supplies, providing resources for celebrants. Her qualifications include a BA (Hons) Degree in Business Studies and an MBA. Anne established the National Qualification Level 3 Diploma in Funeral Celebrancy and tutors the Level 4 national qualification in Child and Baby Funerals.
Mary Tomes, Trustee
Mary is Managing Director of Colourful Coffins, the first company in the UK to produce personalised coffins and caskets. Mary founded the business in 2004 and since then has worked closely with many bereaved families, helping them to provide a very special and personal final farewell for their loved ones. She is well-known throughout the funeral trade and has been recognised both locally and nationally for her community and public service. In 2010, Mary was the inaugural winner of the Gaia Award at the prestigious NatWest Everywoman Awards, given to the most inspirational and successful female entrepreneur who runs a business with a clearly defined social and/or ethical purpose at its heart. Mary is also a Fellow of the Society of Bereavement Practitioners and in 2009 Colourful Coffins became the first organisation to gain Corporate Membership of the Society.
Kevin Tomes, Trustee
Kevin is Technical Director of Colourful Coffins, working alongside his wife Mary and the team to keep the business at the forefront of product design and innovation. Prior to joining the family business he was in the Air Force, and his experience in electronics and factory management has been essential in underpinning the company’s growth and success. Like Mary, Kevin is a Fellow of the Society of Bereavement Practitioners and as a designer he works closely with bereaved families and the funeral trade. Kevin says it is the company’s personal touch and what he calls a “soft and honest approach to design” that enables families to create a very personal celebration of remembrance for their loved one. Mary and Kevin’s son and daughter both work for Colourful Coffins and they are also proud grandparents.
Bel Mooney, Patron
Bel is a journalist and broadcaster born in Liverpool. She became a journalist in 1969 then went on to write for the New Statesman, the Daily Telegraph Magazine, Cosmopolitan and many others. She was a columnist on the Daily Mirror, The Times and The Sunday Times. For the last nine years she has written a much-followed advice column, first for The Times and now each Saturday in The Daily Mail.
She has honorary degrees from the University of Bath and Liverpool John Moores University, and is a Fellow of University College London. ‘Devout Sceptics’ (BBC Radio 4) won a Sandford St Martin Trust award for religious broadcasting, and the children’s novel The Voices of Silence won a New York Public Library citation and was shortlisted for a Gold Medal in the State of California. She has won special awards for journalism from charities including CRUSE. Mooney is also Patron of Teenage Cancer Trust (South West) and National Family Mediation.
Bel is extremely interested in the work of the charity and will support it as much as possible.
Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Patron
Baroness Sally Greengross has been a crossbench (independent) member of the House of Lords since 2000 and chairs five All-Party Parliamentary Groups: Dementia, Corporate Social Responsibility, Intergenerational Futures, Continence Care and Ageing and Older People (Co-Chair).
She is the Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life, and is Treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Equalities, Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre – UK; Co-President of the ILC Global Alliance; and was a Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission from 2006-12.
Sally was Director General of Age Concern England from 1987 until 2000. Until 2000, she was joint Chair of the Age Concern Institute of Gerontology at Kings College London, and Secretary General of Eurolink Age. She is also Chair of the Advisory Groups for the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (ELSA) and the New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA). She is President of the Pensions Policy Institute and Honorary Vice President of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. Baroness Greengross is Patron of the National Association of Care Caterers (NACC) and Patron of Care & Repair England. She holds honorary doctorates from eight UK universities.
She is very concerned about the current issue of funeral poverty and is pleased to help and support the Child Funeral Charity.