A funeral director is looking back on 20 years’ service at a job she says she is very proud of.

Diane Clarke, who works for Co-op Funeralcare homes in Maryport and Brampton, has climbed up the ranks in the profession during her years working for the business.

Her landmark service was marked with a certificate signed by Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells, who gave her special recognition and appreciation for her hard work over the years.

Starting off as a funeral arranger, it wasn’t long before Diane impressed her colleagues and was offered the role of funeral director, thanks to her clear passion for the job.

In the early years, she built up an understanding and passion for the special support service Co-op Funeralcare provided to families in the local community.

While she is a funeral director across the region, she has spent most of her career to date based at the Maryport Co-op Funeralcare home, before moving to be based at the Etterby Street in Brampton earlier this year.

She said: "I never expected to work in the funeral profession, but looking back, it’s been more rewarding than I could’ve even began to imagine.

"For me, it’s all about the families, and the support you give them. It’s incredibly rewarding to get to know and more importantly to serve a family at such a difficult time.

"To know you’ve helped them go through the grieving process and comfort them is so rewarding.

"I feel most proud when I’m conducting a funeral, playing a lead part in someone’s final send-off – it really is a total honour."

Diane has also led on a number of charity and local business initiatives in the region, including fundraising for a Dementia Awareness charity and speaking at a local Mother’s Union meeting about Co-op Funeralcare pre-payment plans.

Diane has worked closely with fellow Co-op funeral director David Moon, also based in Carlisle, for 17 years and he has seen her experience grow impressively.

David said: "Diane is very professional and always puts the families first. Her presence in the community is impressive too – she is always keen to get involved. She truly is a pleasure to work with – I think she’s a total asset to Co-op!"

And regional operation manager, Andrew Richardson, who has worked with Diane for 20 years and trained her up from arranger to director, agrees she is a total asset to the business: "Diane has very high standards and always delivers above and beyond for the families in her care. We are a very passionate team here in Cumbria and always work together to provide the best possible service – and Diane is a key driver of this mission."

With over 1,000 funeral homes across the UK, the Co-op Funeralcare teams are respected members of their local communities. They are trusted in what they do and families in their care are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

For more information on your local Co-op Funeralcare home, visit www.co-operativefuneralcare.co.uk.