Our Caversham office, recently opened, held its first funeral today. Pictured above is Matthew Walker leading the hearse from AB Walker & Son Caversham to the Reading Crematorium.
Aside from the being A.B. Walker’s charity of the year; the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre is very dear to our hearts as one of our staff members suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. Yvonne Parks, our Memorial Manager (pictured right) has been fighting MS for about seven years but she doesn’t let it slow her down!
Yvonne likes to keep busy in the Memorial department and this year became the first female certified by BRAMM in Berkshire! Well done Yvonne! To hear her story,
A.B. Walker & Son will have a few runners in the Reading Half Marathon this weekend supporting our charity of the year. Funeral Director Julian Walker, along with Funeral Conductor Tony Grimshaw and his wife, Nikki Grimshaw (pictured right) will be running the Reading Half Marathon this Sunday 2 March 2014 in support of the Berkshire MS therapy centre. Both Tony and his wife Nikki hold this charity close to their heart. To find out why they chose this charity or to donate to the cause, follow the link below:
Best wishes from all of us at A.B. Walker and Son. We’ll see you at the finish line!
A.B. Walker & Son are pleased to be nominated by Golden Charter for Funeral Planner of the Year 2014 in the southwest London and South England area.
Award Category - 500+
A.B. Walker & Son Limited - READING
Alex Jones Funeral Directors - LINFIELD
Nicholas O'Hara Funeral Directors Ltd - WIMBORNE
We wish all nominees the best of luck as we all look forward to the award ceremony on Saturday 15 March held at the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre.
A.B. Walker & Son introduce Jeffrey Tibbey as a new casual bearer. Jeff is a retired police officer from the Thames Valley Police. Please join us in giving Jeff a warm welcome to the operative team.
A.B. Walker & Son, a family firm of funeral directors is holding a family service of remembrance at St. Mary the Virgin, St Mary’s Butts, Reading on Sunday 2nd of March at 5pm. The Walker family and staff welcome those that have suffered a bereavement to join them. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP due to limited seating in the church.
(Pictured above are the Link instructors from A.B.Walker).
A.B. Walker’s bereavement group, known as The Link, hosted a successful dinner evening at the Toby Carvery last week. Clients from the programme came together and shared a meal whilst talking about the bonds they had made throughout the programme. Link has been running at the head office in Reading since April 2013 and has helped over 50 clients so far.
Everyone at A. B. Walker & Son would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest employee, Nicholas Fox. Nick joined our team as a casual bearer in mid-November 2013. Thank you Nick for being a part of the A.B. Walker team.
Please join us in congratulating our Funeral Conductor, James Hall as he celebrates his 13 year anniversary at A.B. Walker & Son. James began his career at A.B. Walker as a funeral operative and later moved up the ranks into the conductor role. He has recently received the Pillion Award for his excellent service in motorcycle funerals. From all of us at A.B. Walker we commend you for all of your hard work over these many years. Well done James!
Caroline Cassells, our Henley funeral administrator, has much to celebrate this Christmas with the birth of her lovely granddaughter. Holly Louise was born at 3.49 am on Christmas Eve weighing 8lbs 9 oz.
Congratulations on your new little bundle of joy!
Join us in helping raise £20,000 for Hounds for Heroes in memory of the fallen hero that lost his life in Afghanistan to pay for a dog and subsequent costs for injured armed forces & civilian emergency services personnel. For more information on L.Cpl. James ‘Jay’ Lee Brynin click here http://houndsforheroes.com/ and here http://www.memorygiving.com/lcpljamesjayleebrynin
So far the total has reached £17,555.82.
Nelson Mandela’s celebration of life is said to be the largest the world has ever seen; larger than Princess Diana or even Pope John II. Heads of state from all over attended Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday, 10th of December. Memorials will take place all week honouring the great Mandela until he is laid to rest at his ancestral village of Qunu. For more on the story click here
Congratulations to our General Manager, Cynthia Townley for her 13 years of dedication to the A.B.Walker Company. Cynthia began working at A. B. Walker & Son as a funeral administrator on 18th December 2000. Since then she has moved up the ranks to becoming a successful General Manager.
Congratulations and thank you for all your hard work Cynthia!
A.B. Walker & Son Ltd Funeral Directors is offering people a chance to remember the loved ones they have lost with a memorial Christmas tree.
A.B. Walker & Son, are inviting relatives and friends to decorate the memorial tree with cards in memory of those who have passed away.
The memorial tree has been in the AB Walker & Son funeral home since Monday, 2nd of December and people are invited to visit any of the five branch locations and leave memorial cards in the run up to Christmas, Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm.
Congratulations to our Assistant Operations Manager, Dean Moore, who has just celebrated 15 years of working with AB Walker and Son Limited, joining our Reading Office in November 1998. Well done Dean!
Caroline Cassells, in A.B. Walker and Son's Henley Office, is thrilled to announce the arrival of her Granddaughter, Ellie Rose, born on Bonfire Night weighing 6lbs15oz.
Congratulations to our Henley Office Administrator, Caroline Casells, who celebrates 3 years working for A.B. Walker & Son! Caroline who grew up and still lives in Henley started work with us on 1st November 2010.
Last year Caroline was voted one of the "100 faces of Henley" and her picture (right) was published in a book of the same title, as well as being displayed at both a local gallery and the Henley River and Rowing Museum.
A happy engagement for a lovely couple as A.B. Walker’s conductor James Hall announced his engagement to Jacqui Longhurst. Jacqui has worked at A.B.Walker in the past as a Funeral Administrator. Please join us in congratulating both James and Jacqui as they cross the threshold into a new life together.
A. B. Walker and Son Limited are delighted to welcome Jamie Howell to our team as the newest Stone mason. Jamie comes to us from S.B. Renovations and has been with A.B. Walker since early August. Welcome Jamie!
Join us for an evening out when Reading FC former players hold a dinner supporting the Berkshire MS therapy centre. After a young player was forced into early retirement since suffering multiple sclerosis, he spent a good deal of time at the Berkshire MS therapy centre for treatments.
Chris Armstrong along with other star attractions will be in attendance supporting the local charity on the evening of the 28th November at the Penta Hotel. For more on the story, visit: http://www.getreading.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/reading-fc-legend-coppell-calls-6199237
Please join us in congratulating John Little and his wife on their wedding. John was a Stone mason at A.B. Walker & Son until he fell in love and moved up north and is now training to be funeral director in Liverpool. His very proud mother, Sue Little still works in our Memorial department. We wish you all the best John! Congratulations to Sue too!
A.B.Walker & Son supervised the exhumation of 3 pupils from the original Oratory School site in Caversham and conducted their reburial at the current site in Woodcote. The burial was preceded by a mass in the Oratory School chapel. A.B. Walker & Son would like to thank all those involved for their support.
Another milestone for A.B. Walker & Son as it sees its first female conductor on a funeral today. Clare Curtis (picture right) is the first female conductor for the fifth generation family business of Funeral Directors. As times are changing, so are traditions. Please join us in congratulating Clare on all of her very hard work. Well done Clare!
A.B. Walker & Son wishes the best of luck to Native Woodland Ltd. as they have recently been rebranded Leedham Natural Heritage.
To learn more visit the webpage http://www.leedam.com/
A.B. Walker & Son had a lovely visit from local Olympian, Chris Mears today. Chris is training hard and will be competiting in several countries over the next few months. Join us in supporting Chris and wishing him good luck during his future competitons.
(Pictured right: General Manager, Cynthia Townley; Olympic diver, Chris Mears; and Funeral Director brothers, Matthew & Julian Walker)
A.B. Walker is very pleased to announce that our Funeral Operative, Andrew Weston along with our Stone Masons, Stephen Duffin and Jamie Howell have sucessfully passed the BRAMM exam.
We are also proud to announce that our Memorial Manager, Yvonne Parks was the first lady tested and certified by BRAMM. Please join us in commending them.
Well done Memorial team!
Rachel Goode, an A.B. Walker Administrator was thrilled to announce the arrival of her grandson Ethan Callum on 7th of October weighing 9lbs 2 oz.
Congratulations to our Thatcham Office on their successful Macmillan Coffee Morning on Friday 4th October, A very good turnout and an amazing amount of money raised for a good cause!
Last Saturday, 28th of September, some of A.B. Walkers staff members participated in London's SHINE WALK 2013. The event took place at night walking around the sights of London raising money for seven different charities. 16,000 people took part in this half marathon walk dressed in bright colours and glow sticks. It was a great night with great atmosphere.
(Pictured right are medal winners Rachel Goode and Lydia Page)
Well done ladies!
A.B. Walker Thatcham Office at 40 The Broadway, Thatcham are holding a Coffee Morning on Friday 4th October at 10.00am in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Please feel free to drop in and offer your support - our lovely Thatcham Ladies, Carolyn Tuttle and Catherine Pavier (pictured left) will be on hand with a warm welcome, a refreshing cup of coffee or tea plus a biscuit or maybe even a cake or two - all for a small donation which is going to a very worthwhile cause!
Congratulations to the A.B. Walker Bracknell office for participating in the world's largest coffee morning. They raised a total of £114 for Macmillan Cancer support!
A.B. Walker, with help from Reading Film and Video Makers, have successfully completed their first training video. Here's to many more successful filmings!! Pictured left are Andrew Bradley and Matthew Walker of A.B. Walker & Son and Peter Marsh from Reading Film and Video Makers.
This year’s Mizuno Reading Half Marathon will take place on Sunday, 2nd March 2014. A.B. Walker & Son is getting it's team ready which will support the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre. If you are feeling inspired too, sign up now at the link below:
Best wishes to everyone running and good luck with your preparations for the race day. Follow along to see how the staff members at A. B. Walker are training for the big day. More details to come!
A.B. Walker & Son was excited to be a part of the Walk for MileS last Sunday the 15th of September. The event was expected to raise over £10,000 in support of the MS Therapy Centre with over 100 walkers hiking three different trails up to 13 miles! Part of the A.B. Walker team included our very own Memorial Manager, Yvonne Parks, PA, Vawn Koch and friends.
This Triumph Adventurer motorcycle hearse set out from the Reading branch of A.B. Walker & Son for a funeral today. Riding in style up until the end!
A. B. Walker’s local Bracknell Branch will host a coffee morning by taking part of the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support on Friday, 27th September 2013.
In hopes to help raise millions of pounds for the charity, they will meet at 157 Binfield, Bracknell on Friday from 10am- 1pm.
A. B. Walker and Son Thatcham Office (pictured right) are supporting the Homeless and at Risk in Newbury & West Berkshire, “Two Saints”
Please let's help hundreds of people in Newbury, Hungerford, Thatcham and surrounding areas, so they are not going to bed hungry.
You can pop in and donate a tin or two to our Foodbank Collection. It really does make a difference to people in need.
Carolyn Tuttle and Catherine Pavier (pictured right) from the Thatcham Branch of A.B. Walker and Son would like to thank everyone who attended open day at The Broadway, Thatcham, including The Mayor, together with representatives of Thatcham Town Council, local nursing homes and ministers.
A very good day was had by all and money was raised for A. B. Walker and Son's Charity of The Year, The Berkshire MS Therapy Centre.
The National Association of Funeral Directors, granting Diplomas in Funeral Arranging & Administration, and Diplomas in Funeral Directing, will be holding exams for the next two days beginning tomorrow in Solihull. A.B. Walker & Son wishes all students and those involved Good luck! May all the hard work pay off.
At this year’s Good Funeral Awards, which took place on Saturday 7th September in Bournemouth, Henley Woodland Burial Ground (pictured above) won the much coveted ‘Cemetery of the Year’ award. This triumph reflects the increasing popularity of natural burials and the public’s efforts to find more meaningful, discerning alternatives to crematoriums and municipal cemeteries.
Nominations were submitted by customers, whose experiences were read, scrutinised and judged by an anonymous panel of funeral experts. The cemeteries, which ranged from Victorian graveyards to the ‘go natural’ woodland and meadow burial grounds, had both their appearance and customer service reputation taken into account, with Henley’s simple, natural ethos edging ahead of the stiff competition.
There to receive the award for Henley was Melissa Stewart, collecting the miniature wicker coffin trophy from host Pam St. Clement aka Eastenders’ infamous Pat Butcher. Melissa summed up the weekend by saying “It was great to spend a whole weekend with people who share the same vision. Our mutual purpose is to make people’s experiences of death, dying, funerals and bereavement change for the better and we spark off each other.” A Q&A followed the awards presentation, in which the audience were encouraged to ask Pam about her death bed performance. Unlike the teary TV scene however, there was no lack of words as the hostess gave a rousing account of how she undertook her final goodbye, and shared her own thoughts on death, dying and bereavement.
The award ceremony capped off a weekend of all things death that was organised by Brian Jenner and ‘The Good Funeral Guide’s’ Charles Cowling. Also featured in the programme was the Death Café’s welcome – ‘where people come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat cake’; the unveiling of a new pebble shaped coffin in which the person who has died lies in the foetal position; and lectures which included Pia Interlandi’s ‘Garments for the Grave’.
Henley Woodland Burial Ground, one of Leedam Natural Heritage’s seven sites across the UK, attributes their success to their custodian Andrea Chanter. As the customers’ accounts confirm, her personal guidance and honest and friendly support makes the funeral experience far gentler and more manageable for grieving families. This, coupled with Leedam’s commitment to minimise its impact on the countryside, ensured that the prize went to Henley.
The awards presentation was filmed by ITV, broadcast date to be announced. All the winners are pictured below.
Representatives from A B Walker & Son Limited will be attending the Annual Memorial Service at Easthampstead Park Crematorium which takes place on Sunday 1st September at 3.00pm.
This is an open air ceremony, aimed at remembering those who have passed away during the last year. The service will comprise hymns, a humanist section, readings from local Ministers, plus a Choir and the Salvation Army Band will also be performing. Afterwards refreshments will be served to raise money for the Mayor’s Charity.
Please visit our Thatcham Branch on Friday 30th August between 9.30am and 3.30pm as part of the Thatcham Town Council Fun Day. Everyone is welcome.
Pam Aramo and Heidi Nightingale from the Wokingham Office of A B Walker & Son Limited, joined the Town Mayor, Martin Bishop (pictured above with his Lady Mayoress) for the judging of "Wokingham in Flower Competition" which is sponsored by A. B. Walker & Son every year.
The winner in the Container section was "Bush Walk", followed closely by "The Queen’s Head". Winner in the Garden section was "The Duke’s Head", followed by "The Doll’s House".
Trophies and certificates are to be presented at The Town Hall later in September, and in the meantime A B Walker & Son Limited would like to take this opportunity of congratulating everyone who took part, our thanks go out to everyone for all their effort and hard work - well done!
The Walker family and all members of the A B Walker and Son team send their very best wishes to their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the arrival of their first born – a son and our future King - George Alexander Louis. We lovingly wish them solitude and privacy down the road in Bucklebury in the coming weeks as they experience the magic of becoming first time parents – Julian and Mat Walker recommend that Dad gets some sleep whilst on duty at RAF Valley – he will need it in the coming months….
A Vintage Hearse leaving A B Walker and Son's Head Office yesterday - the vehicle is an Austin 2016 built in London by Alpe and Launders Limited in 1933. The hearse is equipped with a crank in the front, which is how they had to start the engine in the 1930s!
This year's Palmer Park Bowls Club Gala Day, sponsored by A B Walker and Son Limited, was held on Sunday 21st July. The day was dedicated to the Memory of Sylvia Sawyer, who passed away in October 2012, and one of the awards was presented by Sylvia's daughter, Trudy Withers.
Sylvia was the main driving force in getting the Gala Day started back in 2001, and she continued in her major roll for the following 11 years; sourcing raffle prizes, selling raffle tickets, making the lunches and teas for over a 1000 Gala Day competitors over the years as well as keeping the club members organised in her friendly, happy way. A well respected member of PPBC, she is greatly missed. As a mark of respect a minutes silence was observed before the tournament started by the 20 visiting teams and the 40+ club members who helped on the day.
The Winning Team on the day was Woodley Bowls Club, followed by runners-up Hurst. The awards were presented by Julian Walker, Managing Director of A B Walker and Son, and David Brown, President of Palmer Park Bowling Club.
The construction works at A B Walker and Son's Head Office in Reading are progressing well. The above picture depicts the inside view from the new training suite. The building works will be completed in October and events are already being booked in for our new facilities.
Last night saw the start of this year's Henley Festival, this will be the last celebration at the present site as next year's festival will be held at Henley Business School. Caroline Cassells from the Henley Office of A B Walker and Son and our General Manager Cynthia Townley will be there tonight with their partners to see Jamie Cullum perform on the floating stage.
There will be a meeting of the Fundraising MIG Group led by MIG Chairman, Tim Diggle on Wednesday 6th November 2013. A presentation regarding In Memorium Funds will be made by our very own Julian Walker, and further subjects being discussed include Tribute Funds and Legacies.
Rooster Digital, one of A B Walker and Son's partners held a charity golf day in Hampshire recently in aid of "Lucy’s Days Out", a charity focusing on giving quality to the time remaining for children suffering from terminal illnesses – Julian Walker was part of the third place winning team and won a wonderful black umbrella – just what every funeral director needs!
A B Walker's charity of the year, The Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, recently held a Champagne Reception (see picture below) for everyone who participated in the Reading Half Marathon to raise funds for the Centre, including several members of the A B Walker team.
Memory Giving, our on-line donations web site has released the first of its apps – allowing regular givers easy access to on-line giving. The first app is for android users and like Memory Giving, is available for free – an Apple friendly app will follow shortly. These apps were developed by the same company as AB Walker’s own apps (Appetize). Our own apps are available now to assist in the arrangement of a funeral and handy assistance to complement our normal processes.
A Wild West Themed Funeral left the Reading Branch of A B Walker & Son Limited today.
A B Walker and Son Limited recently sponsored Henley Bowls Club Gala Day, prizes were presented by Henley Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak, pictured above and below with the winning teams.
A B Walker's charity of the year, The Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, has invited everyone who participated in the Reading Half Marathon to raise funds for the Centre, to a Champagne Reception on Wednesday 3rd July. This includes several members of the A B Walker team, and for anyone who has not previously visited the centre, this will be a wonderful opportunity to see how the money raised will be spent, and for the centre to say huge THANK YOU to everyone for all their hard work!
All runners are being invited to bring their Reading Half Marathon Medal with them, so that a group photograph can be taken. Also attending the event will be runners of the London Marathon who did so to raise funds for the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre and the Endure 24 team. A reporter from the Reading Chronicle and the Reading Post will be present.
Following a sucessful pilot course in May 2013, A B Walker and Son Limited are holding their first LINK Bereavement Course which runs for six weeks commencing on 27th June. The Link Bearavement Care Group is a partnership between A B Walker and the national charity, Cruse Bereavement Care, to provide a group bereavement programme for our clients and their families.
The 6 week course aims to investigate feelings and share the experiences of loss and bereavement. Each session is a mixture of learning and group interaction managed by trained facilitators.
Established in 1905, the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) represents the interests of the entire spectrum of funeral directing businesses – including independent businesses, the Co-operatives and major funeral groups – who conduct in excess of 80% of UK funerals.
The NAFD provides a wide range of general business as well as industry specific support services to help funeral director members focus on their core objective – meeting the needs of the bereaved.
This week representatives from A B Walker and Son Limited will be attending a meeting of the Southern Area NAFD in Basingstoke.
Dedicated to client care, A B Walker and Son Limited have formed The Link Bereavement Care Group, a partnership with the national charity, Cruse Bereavement Care, to provide a group bereavement programme for our clients and their families.
The 6 week course aims to investigate feelings and share the experiences of loss and bereavement. Each session is a mixture of learning and group interaction managed by trained facilitators.
A pilot course was successfully run in May 2013 and bookings are being made for courses over the next few months.
This month sees the commencement of a second floor extension to A B Walker and Son's Head Office in Reading. The new extension will provide training rooms and enhanced staff facilities.
The 22 week contract is being undertaken by local builders S B Renovation Ltd and the new extension has been designed by The Harris Partnership whose practice is within 200m of our offices.
Above is a phoptograph of how the new building will look with the extension added.
A Team from A B Walker and Son Limited are this weekend attending the National Funeral Exhibition - New guide launched: What to do when someone dies - Death Certification in Scotland: a request for help - What's coming up in June'sFuneral Director Monthly - Welcome to new members and much more...
With 215 exhibitors, the National Funeral Exhibition 2013 is the largest ever UK funeral show. Family Day on the Sunday has a circus theme and there are many other features throughout the three days of the show. If you haven’t pre-registered to attend, don’t worry as you can just turn up on the day.
Father John Creagh came to visit A B Walker and Son's Reading Office today. Father Creagh (pictured below) has been the Head of the Spiritual Department in Hillingdon for quite some time now and resides in Tilehurst.
The magnificent sight of a horse drawn hearse pictured at The Thatcham Branch of A B Walker and Son - this is the first such funeral to depart from our newest branch office.
Today Keith Wilson from Earley Baptist Church (pictured below) visited the A B Walker and Son Reading office. Keith has been Minister at Earley Baptist Church for 4 years so A B Walker have had the pleasure of working with him in the past.
A B Walker and Son Limited have recently started the “Name to Face” programme so we can meet and greet the local ministers in the surrounding area. Pictured above is Derek Chandler of St Barnabus in Emmer Green, below top is Paul Garrett from Reading Community Church, and finally last but not least, Father Sean Riordan of St James in Woodley, all of whom visited the A B Walker Reading Branch this week.
A B Walker and Son have been granted membership of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. We look forward to sharing best practice and gaining advice from colleagues at home and overseas whilst constantly striving to improve and challenge how and what we do.
The rousing sound of the bagpipes was heard at an A B Walker funeral recently. Ian King lives in Goring-on-Thames and between 1990 and 1999 he was Piper to the Queen Mother. I am sure you will agree he looks splendid!
Now spring has sprung, Sunrise of Sonning, Old Bath Road, Sonning, has a whole range of events planned to get everyone in the mood for warmer weather.
On Tuesdasy 14th May 3.30pm to 4.30pm, John, Jo and Sue, Sonning's most talented trio, will be entertaining everyone with their skills on the piano and with an impressive repertoire of songs, there will be many opportunities for everyone to sing along with them during the afternoon.
On Friday 17th May, from 3.30pm to 4.30pm, Wing Commander Mike presents The Story of the Dambusters. Commander Mike will talk about the exploits of Barnes Wallis, Guy Gibson and the aviators of 617 Squadron who took part in the most famous raid in the history of the Royal Air Force.
On Saturday 18th May there is a Spring Open Day Buffet. A Quiz in the Bistro starting at 11.00am will be followed by a buffet lunch. At 2.00pm there will be entertainment by guest performers and everyone can sit back and relax with a glass of Pimms.
The events are all free with all donations being given to Alzheimer's Society.
Julian Walker, Managing Director of AB Walker & Son, ran the London Marathon for Sue Ryder for the third time on Sunday.
Julian, aged 44, lives in Peppard and finished, disappointed, in 4 hours 28 minutes.
“I was aiming to beat my previous time and had 3hrs 45 minutes as a goal - All of my training runs have been in the dark with snow, frost and lashing rain and the wonderful warm sunny weather on race day caught me out and I suffered from dehydration and cramp at about 18 miles. However I do have a wonderful vest shaped tan and have managed to collect over £3,000 for Sue Ryder”.
Julian ran by way of thanks for the care that the Sue Ryder team at Nettlebed gave to his great family friend Terry Simpson last year.
Our very own Julian Walker (pictured below) is running the London Marathon in just over a week's time in support of Sue Ryder Nettlebed Hospice. Please click the attached link to sponsor Julian.
Olympic diver, Chris Mears (pictured below in action), who is sponsored by A B Walker Funeral Directors has started his campaign for the 2016 Rio Games by competing in the Word Series Diving in China and Dubai. Chris talks about his experiences there and his hopes for the future in Daily Mail Online, please click the above link to read all about it!
A B Walker and Son Limited welcome Phil Olney (pictured right) who joined our team on 24th January 2013 as a casual bearer.
A B Walker and Son Limited are delighted to welcome our newest Funeral Administrator, Sarah Ferris (pictured above) who joined our team on 25th March 2013 and Hannah Rudenski (pictured below), our new Accounting Assistant in the Reading Branch, who joined us in mid-March. Both have been a wonderful addition to the team!
Members of staff from the Reading Branch of A B Walker and Son Limited competed in the Reading Half Marathon on 17th March 2013. A B Walker had a team of four participating – our Memorials Manager Yvonne Parks (pictured above), one of our Funeral Operatives, Kyle Hobbs, the PA to our Directors, Vawn Koch (pictured below), and finally Julian Walker.
A B Walker and Son Limited extend a warm welcome to our newest recruit. Rachel Goode joined our team on Monday 11th March as a Funeral Administrator in the Reading branch. Welcome Rachel!
A B Walker and Sons would like to welcome our new Stonemason, Jordan Jedrzejczyk, who joined our team on Monday 11th March after 5 years with Loddon Brewery company.
The magnificent sight of a 1937 Antique Hearse which left A B Walker's Reading Office today as part of a funeral procession.
A B Walker and Son Limited held an emotional Memorial Service at St Mary's Butts in Reading Town Centre recently. Over 550 people attended to remember those whom they had lost and a poignant reading was made by Chris Tarrant who lost his own Mother, Joan, last April.
The service was open to anyone who had lost a loved one in the past year, and conducted by Rev Brian Shenton, guests included entrepreneur Sir John Madejski. Members of the congregation were all invited to light a candle in memory of their loved ones.
Company Director, Julian Walker, said he intended to organise another service next year and added "We realise there is a great need to collectively remember and the most poignant moment was when relatives lit candles in memory of their loved ones".
Sunday 10th February 2013 marked the 70th Anniversary of the bombing raid on Reading, when four 500kg bombs dropped on to Reading and exploded right in the centre of town.
Around 230 people gathered at Reading Town Hall to remember the 41 people who were killed and more than 100 others who were injured during the air raid on February 10th 1943.
Although only 37 of those killed were identified, Julian Walker of A B Walker and Son Limited and Maria Moppett of Blandy and Blandy read each name aloud, as people reflected in silence.
A commemorative plaque, donated by A B Walker and Sons Limited, was unveiled on the wall of Blandy and Blandy by Mr Brian Fowles and fellow survivor Mr Derek Chamberlain, together with Reading Mayor Jenny Ryan.
The maternity department at Royal Berkshire Hospital is holding a memorial service for all the babies who died there within the last year.
The service will be at 2pm on Sunday, March 24th, at the old chapel by the London Road entrance to the hospital.
All family members are welcome at this inter-denominational service.
Those wishing to have their baby's name read out are asked to write his or her name on the list at the entrance of the chapel.
Refreshments will be provided after the service.
The majestic sight of a Horse Drawn Hearse leaving A B Walker and Son's Reading Office.
We are holding a Family Remembrance Service at Reading Minster of St. Mary, St Mary’s Butts, Reading on Sunday the 10th of February at 5pm. We have specifically timed this occasion to gather together, offering an opportunity to pause and reflect before the spring, the natural season of renewal. This service will allow us to collectively and formally commemorate the loss experienced by you and our other families during the last year. Afterwards, we hope you will stay for refreshments.
We would welcome all members of your family to accompany you.
Those wishing to attend may contact Vawn at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone 0118 983 9419.
Our General Manager, Cynthia Townley (picutred above), and Funeral Conductor, James Hall (pictured below), paid a visit to the Golden Charter Headquarters in Glasgow on Thursday 17th January to meet members of staff. They had a very fruitful meeitng and would like to thank everyone in Glasgow for making them so welcome.
A Christmas Memorial Carol Service takes place at West Berkshire Crematorium this evening (Friday 14th December 2012) from 7pm until 7.45pm, the service is to be followed by light refreshments until 8.15pm.
On Sunday 16th December St Mary's Church in Thatcham will be holding their annual Civic Carol Service, the service starts at 4.00pm and everyone is welcome.
A first for A B Walker and Son Limited this week when we had a funeral cortege leave in a VW Hearse,
A B Walker and Son want to wish their Thatcham Branch a very happy birthday - we opened for business one year ago today! We would particularly like to say a big thank you to the people of Thatcham for welcoming us so warmly into their beautiful town and we hope to be there for many more years to come!
For the first time ever, A B Walker and Son Limited are to have a Christmas Tree in all their branches. To be known as a Memory Tree, all clients over the Christmas period will be invited to hang a tag on the tree with a message to their loved one who has passed away.
The tree in our Thatcham Branch (pictured right) was donated by Acorn Ridge.
Whilst on exeat from school, the oldest member of the 6th generation, Oliver Walker (aged 13) helps the A B Walker valet team prepare the fleet for the days funerals!
Our Pride of Reading Award in the Business in Action (under 50 employees) category for the support we have given to Olympic Diver, Chris Mears, made it into the local newspaper this week.
Julian and Matthew Walker (pictured with host Chris Tarrant and Chris Mears) are absolutely delighted with this achievement!
A B Walker and Son Limited are delighted to announce that we have won the Pride of Reading Award for our support of local diver, Chris Mears.
Who wants to be a Millionnaire? Host, Christ Tarrant, one of Reading's proudest sons, made the presentations, He told the audience, which included the all important sponsors of the award categories: "You will come away feeling very proud of the human race" - and he was right!
A B Walker and Son Limited are deilghted to welcome Clare Curtis to our team of Funeral Administrators. Clare comes to us from Reading Crematorium where she has been working as a Bereavement Services Administrator.
A B Walker and Son Limited are proud to be sponsoring the Mayor of Thatcham Charity Calendar 2013.
Thatcham Mayor, John Boyd (pictured), is hoping to have a 1,000 calendars printed, the aim being to raise around £3,000, which would help make up for the loss of funds from this year’s cancelled Thatcham Family Fun Day.
The theme is Thatcham scenes and events, and money raised will go to his charities of the year – The Meningitis Trust and Cole’s Diner ‘Happy Days Autistic Club’.
The calendars are for sale at Council Offices, Thatcham and The Family Bookshop in Thatcham as well as on ebay.
AB Walker were visited at short notice by a film crew making an episode of The Fixer with Alex Polizzi to be aired in January 2013 – members of our team including receptionists, managers and some of the Walker family were interviewed as two brothers from another funeral company were shown how we operate.
This Sunday (18th November) All Saints Church in Wokingham will be holding their annual bereavement service at 3.00pm.
The service is for famiies and friends of those who are no longer with us, an opportunity to remember and celebrate their lives, and the memories we have.
Everyone is welcome to attend.
Duran Duran Star Simon Le Bon lent his support to the Children's Air Ambulance to launch the lifesaving service at the Barclay's London Heliport in Battersea.
The Children's Air Ambuance (TCAA) will transfer critically ill children from general hospitals to Paediatric Intensive Care Units across England and Wales, or help move specialist paediatric teams to enable children to receive lifesaving, specialist treatment and care that they need as soon as posisble, cutting transfer times.
Please join TCAA at a special gala performance of the West End musical, The Bodyguard, on Thursday 6th December 2012, to celebrate the launch of The Children’s Air Ambulance. For reservations and further information visit www.thechildrensairambulancegala.org.uk
Members of the A B Walker team and their partners (pictured below) attended the Duchess of Kent House Gala Ball on Saturday night. The evening was to celebrate the 20th anniversity of Duchess of Kent House, and raised many thousands of pounds for this very highly thought of local hospice.
Revellers partied until the early hours, enjoying a three course meal prepared by a Michelin Star Chef, live entertainment and a DJ together with a silent auction and a raffle.
Julian Walker is attending the National Association of Funeral Directors Annual General Meeting next week where there is sure to be a robust discussion regarding the failures demonstrated in recent television investigations into the funeral industry.
Furthermore, there will be a presentation by the Ministry of Defence on the repatriation of service personnel and some in depth analysis on recent funeral trends regarding employment within the funeral industry.
The Directors and staff of A B Walker and Son Limited are delighted to welcome our newest member of staff, Vawn Koch. Vawn started work on Monday as the Personal Assistant to the Directors and the General Manager.
Although Vawn was born in the UK, she grew up in The United States of America, living in many different parts of that country, however, she has now decided to settle permanently in the UK.
Chris Mears, our very own Olympic diver (pictured above with Julian and Matt Walker and below with two of our Funeral Adminstrators Alison Leach and Elizabeth Browne), popped in to see us all today – he is back in training for competition at the Southampton Diving Academy, and despite a small injury to his ankle, his training is going well. He and the coaching team have already been discussing the Olympic games of 2016!
Chris recently won an award from G-Shock Watches, has been featured in articles in Heat magazine as well as numerous newspaper articles and reviews of his performance – he has also become a pin up for his thousands of fans.
A B Walker and Son Limited will continue to proudly sponsor Chris – he has mentioned that he is looking for a new car to replace his run-around - sorry Chris, I can’t see you turning up to training in a limo!
We are convinced that even greater success is to come - Chris will continue to inspire us all at AB Walker and he is intending to support us by doing a reading at our family memorial service in February. It was great to see Chris in such fine form and still wearing his Olympic kit!!
As All Souls' day approaches, there will be a special service to commemorate the dead at the Parish Church of Waltham St Lawrence at which members of the congregation are offered the opportunity to remember those who were special to them.
A list of names may be handed for the celebrant Rev Colin Bass to read out during the service at which parts of Durufle's Requiem will be performed by the Waltham St Lawrence Singers.
The service takes place on Friday 2nd November at 8.00pm, there is no charge for entry but a collection plate will be passed around to defray expenses.
St Mary's Church in Thatcham are holding their annual Family Bereavement Service on Sunday 28th October.
This service is specifically for those who have lost a family member or close friend in the last year, but anyone who wants to come along will be made very welcome.
A B Walker and Son Limited have been short listed in the Pride of Reading Awards for their community service. We have been anonymously nominated for this award due to our support for local Olympic diver, Chris Mears.
The Award ceremony is being held on Friday 23rd November at the Berkshire Conference Centre – fingers crossed!
In light of the recent television documentaries broadcast in September that were particularly scathing about the practices within the funeral industry, the National Association of Funeral Directors has decided to review its Code of Conduct to ensure that these guidelines are” both robust and effective”.
St Michael's Church in Tilehurst are holding their annual Family Bereavement Service on Sunday 21st October at 6.30pm.
This service is specifically for those who have lost a family member or close friend in the last year, but anyone who wants to come along will be made very welcome.
A B Walker and Son Limited Director Matthew Walker (pictured in the front of the boat) was out on the water again, along with fellow Reading Canoe Club members, competing in a local K4 canoe race on Sunday. The photo shows the crew taking first place in the 7.5KM race.
James Hall (pictured), one of our funeral directors, recently organised a Quiz Night which took place at Palmer Park Bowling Club. Members of A B Walker Staff plus friends and families, fought it out in a close run contest, with two teams coming joint first. In a nail biting decider, the team led by Mrs Hall (James's Mother) finally pipped Sue Little's team to the post! A total of £475.00 was raised which was donated to the Berkshire M S Therapy Centre, A B Walker's charity of the year. A huge thank you to everyone who took part and to James for all his hard work in organising the event.
A B Walker and Sons Limited are delighted to welcome a new member of our team. Catherine Pavier (pictured) joins us as a Funeral Administrator from Monday 8th October, and after training in our Reading Office will move to our Thatcham Office to work alongside Carolyn Tuttle.
A B Walker and Son Limited extend a warm welcome to the newest addition to the Team at St Mary's Church, Station Road, Wargrave, Jon Drake says being a curate in Wargrave is the kind of job he had been praying for. The 31 year old hopes to get involved in local schools as well as visiting residential homes.
The directors and staff at A B Walker and Son Limited extend a warm welcome to our latest Funeral Administrator, Janice Parker, Janice used to work as an Administrator/PA at St James' Church, Woodley, and we feel sure she will be a very valuable asset to the A B Walker Team.
A B Walker and Son Director Matthew Walker and fellow canoe partner Lee Atkins left the ABW canoe in the boat rack and elected to race the Hasler National Finals held yesterday on the Thames in Reading in a faster /more unstable craft. Despite strong winds and choppy conditions the pair competed well amongst the Division 4 K2 finalists and even avoided a swim.
Portaging – No time for refreshments!
Our Memorial Manager Yvonne Parks (pictured) recently attended a Health and Safety Course, and pased both the exam and assessment. Yvonne has now received her Managing Safely Certificate from IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health). All of us at A B Walker and Son Limited offer Yvonne our warmest congratulations on her achievement.
Caroline Cassells (pictured) who runs our Henley Office at A B Walker and Son Limited is one of the "100 Faces of Henley".
Caroline attended the launch of the exhibition last night at the Old Fire Station Gallery in Market Place, Henley where her picture is on display, along with the other "faces" which include several celebrities as well as ordinary residents of the town.
The charity is celebrating it's 10th anniversary and since 2002 has raised over £70,00 for good causes in and around the Henley Area. A book, featuring the selected 100 Faces is on sale at the Exhibition for £20.00 with all proceeds going to the charity.
If anyone wishes to attend the exhibition, and vote for their favourite face, it is open from 10am to 5pm every day from Saturday 29th September until Tuesday 2nd October.
A B Walker and Sons Limited held a staff Meal at Cerise in Reading last Friday night. Members of staff wrote their names on a £5.00 note, whoever's note was picked from the hat won a Fortnum and Mason Wine Box, with proceeds of £300.00 being donated to the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, A B Walker's charity of the year. The winner of the Wine Box was our very own funeral operative Paul Starmer, pictured below with his lovely wife, Giustina.
A. B. Walker & Son were delighed to receive a letter from Olympian Chris Mears (pictured), who has recently returned from a well-deserved break after his excellent diving performances at London 2012. To read the full letter, please visit our sponsorship page.
A FUNERAL photographer will be featured in a TV documentary series this week.
Rachel Wallace, 49, from Frieth, near Henley-on-Thames runs Farewell Photography, which creates albums of photographs called memory books that allow grieving relatives to see who attended the funeral of their loved one.
She also works with bereavement counsellors who are keen to encourage their clients to think about having photographs taken at the funeral to aid the grieving process and leave them with a lasting and positive memory of the day.
The documentary is called A Dead Good Job and focuses on different aspects of the funeral industry. Mrs Wallace was followed by cameras for two days. The programme airs at 9pm on Wednesday evening on BBC2.
A new programme starts tonight on BBC2 at 9.00pm following the work of Funeral Directors.
The first episode (of three) follows a Muslim Funeral Company who attempt to bury the dead as quickly as possible in accordance with Islamic tradition, a terminally ill mother of two who chooses to plan and arrange her own funeral and a high speed send off for a biker who gets his wish of a final ride in a motorcycle hearse.
All of us at A B Walker and Son Limited are sad to learn that a royal corgi that starred in the Olympics opening ceremony with the Queen and James Bond has died.
Buckingham Place confirmed the death of 13-year-old Monty, previously owned by the Queen Mother and the oldest of the Queen's corgis.
Monty and two other corgis greeted secret agent Bond, played by Daniel Craig, as he arrived at the palace to accept a mission from the Queen in a scene filmed for the curtain-raiser to the London 2012 Games.
On Friday A B Walker and Sons Limited said a sad farewell to Jacqui Longhurst (pictured), one of our funeral administrators, who left us for pastures new. However, today (Monday) we say a warm welcome to Caroline Lewis who joins us as an Accounts Assistant.
Father and Son Team, Kevin and Peter Smith, of Binz UK, who supply A B Walker and Son Limited with their removal vehicles popped into our Reading Branch at the beginning of September to dicuss future fleet needs, they are pictured here with Julian and Matthew Walker.
Everyone at A B Walker and Son Limited offers their warmest congratulations to our Funeral Operative, Alan Dudman, and his wife Louise, who had a baby girl yesterday (5th September 2012), Welcome to Evie Lou who weighed in at 6lbs 14oz, both Mother and Baby are doing well!
To coincide with the funeral of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, who died at the weekend, Piers Sellers, the British-born Nasa astronaut now deputy director of the sciences and exploration directorate at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre, pays tribute.
This year's Sue Ryder Halloween Display will take place at the charity's Nettlebed Hospice on Saturday 27th October 2012.
Organised by the Henley Bridge Rotary Club, the event will include a huge bonfire and a professional fireworks display.There will be numerous family food stalls selling sausages, burgers, soup and drinks as well as a bar and a pig roast. Other attractions include tombolas, raffles, novelty stalls and fancy cakes and a steel band will perform. There will also be a children's fancy dress competition, judged by Henley Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin, and the Rotary Club's President, Annie Lathaen.
More than 4000 people attend the event each year and last year more than £18,000 was raised for Sue Ryder. Gates will open at 5pm with the bonfire at 6.30pm, the fancy dress parade at 6.45pm and the fireworks at 7.15pm. Entrance is £15.00 per car including all occupants. For people on foot it costs £5.00 per adult and £2.00 per child aged five to sixteen.
From Monday 3rd September 2012, A B Walker and Son Limited office opening hours will be 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday. These opening hours will apply to our Reading Office (pictured below) as well as our Branch Offices in Bracknell, Henley, Thatcham and Wokingham. We do of course continue to operate our out-of-hours service, offering 24 hour assistance 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The Annual Memorial Service at Easthampstead Park Crematorium takes place this Sunday, 2nd September 2012, at 3.00pm. The service is to remember those who we have lost in the last twelve months and everyone is welcome.
Thousands of people lined the streets of Henley on Saturday to celebrate the home-town heroes of the Olympic rowing team.
Some of Great Britain’s most successful oarsmen and women took to the river in two mixed eights for a row-past before an open-top bus parade around the town.
It was a special day for the mainly Leander athletes and an even bigger occasion for the many children who met the rowers face-to-face.
Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin, dressed in full robes of office, paid tribute to the town’s returning heroes.
“You are going to be taking part in many events like this,” she said. “But this is the home of rowing and we wanted to show our appreciation for your achievements.”
A concert in aid of the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, which is A B Walker & Son's Charity of the Year, is being held at St Mary's Church in Henley next month.
Opera Singer Adriano Graziani and the Port Talbot Cymric Male Choir will be performing on Saturday September 22nd from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15.00 and are available by calling 0118 901 6000 (ask for Jackie or Pippa) or email email@example.com.
We are delighted to announce that John Little, son of Sue Little in our Memorials Department, has recently become engaged to Laura. John proposed while on holiday in Corfu with both his own and Laura's family. John was one of our Stonemasons at A B Walker and Son Limited, leaving in Feb 2011 to move to Liverpool where he and Laura now live. Their wedding will be held in Liverpool – date & venue to be advised!
Congratulations to John and Laura (and to Sue - proud Mother-in-Law To Be) everybody at A B Walker and Son Limited wishes them all the happiness in the world.
Yvonne Parks, pictured fourth from left, who works in our Memorial Department at A B Walker and Son Limited, is taking part in "Walking for MileS" on Sunday 9th Setpember 2012. This is a charity walk in aid of the MS Therapy Centre in Berkshire which is A B Walker's Charity of the Year.
There are three walks to choose from, The Marsh Lock Walk (approx 1.5 miles) the Six Mile Stroll and the Half Marathon Walk and all the walks depart from the River and Rowing Museum in Henley, so whether you are super fit or wanting to make a start on becoming fitter, there is no excuse not to join in, it is all for a good cause!
Congratulations to Carolyn Tuttle(pictured below), who runs our Thatcham Office, as she has passed her Part 1 Exam in Sign Language. Carolyn is is doing this course in her own time at home, and plans to embark on Part 2 in approximately one week's time so we wish her luck with that.
Memory Giving is a new on line donations web site, an easy an effective way of making donations in memory of a loved one. Created by A B Walker and Sons Limited, Memory Giving is now on Twitter and Facebook (see links above). Memory Giving is being launched to other Funeral Directors in September, with a series of trade advertisements to make Funeral Directors aware of this new donations service.
Cynthia Townley and Heidi Nightingale of A B Walker and Sons Limited judged the business catergory of the Wokingham In Bloom Competition yesterday afternoon.
In the Garden category first prize went to Clifton Ingram Solicitors and second prize was awarded to the Hope and Anchor Public House.
In the Containers Category first prize was awarded to The Dukes Head Public House and second prize to The Doll's House Boutique.
The overall winner was The Duke’s Head Public House, run by Julie and Adrian Taylor (pictured) and we send our warmest congratulations to them and to everyone who took part. There will be a Presentation Evening on 19th September at 7.00pm.
Chris Mears, sponsored by A B Walker and Son Limited, put in a remarkable performance in the final of the Individual 3m Springboard last night, finishing 9th in a field of 12, and far exceeding expectations. Chris posted the second highest individual score of the night, also Britain’s best result in a 3m springboard diving final since 1984.
Well done Chris, I am sure we can expect great things from this young man in years to come, and we now look forward to Rio 2016!
Chris Mears, sponsored by A B Walker & Son Limited, is through to the final of the Individual 3m Springboard. Chris put in one of his best performances to qualify for the final in 9th posiiton out a field of 18 - with a fantastic score of 461. The final is tonight at 7pm, and as always we wish Chris the very best of luck along with the rest of the nation!
Well done Chris Mears who last night qualified for the semi-final in the Individual 3m Springboard. In a nail biting finish Chris finished 18th out of a field of 29 in the Preliminary Round, securing a place in today's Semi-Final which is at 10.00am. Good luck Chris from all of us at A B Walker and Son and the rest of the nation!
AB Walker & Son Limited has adopted the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre as this year’s chosen charity. Staff who visited the centre last week (picutred below with staff from the Therapy Centre) saw the gymnasium and hyperbaric oxygen room and were told about the therapies available.
The company has pledged to raise funds for the centre over the next 12 months and will also be taking part in events including the forthcoming Walking for Miles event in Henley on 9th September.
Managing director, Julian Walker, will take part in the Centre Reading Half Marathon running team in 2013.
Congratulations to Chris Mears, who is sponsored by A B Walker & Son Limited, and his Diving Partner Nicholas Robinson-Baker, who finished fifth in the Men's springboard synchro yesterday. Their impressive score of 432.60 was not enough to secure a medal on this occasion but Chris will be competing again on Monday 6th August in the Men's 3m springboard so we wish him lots of luck with that event.
Palmer Park Bowling Club held their Gala Day on Sunday 22nd July which A B Walker & Son Limited was very proud to sponsor for the 11th year.
With 22 teams of 4 competing in glorious sunshine, PPBC President John Hall with Julian Walker was there to present the trophies to:
Winners: Woodley (A)
Runners-up: Three Mile Cross (A)
Semi-Finalist: Goring (C)
Winner of the £100 Raffle: Graham Gould
Second: John Waterfall
Third: Edward Taylor
Winner of the ‘Spider’: Keith Langley
Second: John Waterfall
Third: Edward Taylor
Well done to all those who attended and a special thank you to all the Palmer Park Bowling Club members.
Last Friday was indeed a sad day for A B Walker and Son Limited when we said Goodbye to one of our most experienced Administrators, Debbie Friel, who had worked for A B Walker for more than sixteen years. Debbie is leaving us to work at the new Circle Hospital which has recently opened in Kennet Island, Reading. We wish Debbie all the very best with her new career and future adventures.
Julian Walker was fortunate enough to attend the Olympic opening Ceremony on Friday – and who should he see just behind Chris Hoy but Chris Mears our very own Olympic hopeful. Chris starts his competition on Wednesday at 3pm.
Reading diver Chris Mears, who is being sponsored by A B Walker and Son Limited, is hoping to make a splash on the world stage as he goes for gold on Wednesday 1st August 2012. Chris (picutred below) visiited his old Primary School, Garland, in Burghfield Common where he was warmly welcomed by members of the school council. All of us at A B Walker, along with the whole of Reading, wish him the very best of luck.
Chris Mears, one of Team GB's diving squad, and sponsored by A B Walker and Son Limited (picutred above with the A B Walker team), begins his Olympic Bid on 1st August - all of us at A B Walker and Son Limited wish him the very best of luck
Are you aware of The Bereavement Register? this is is a FREE service which may be of invaluable help to the recently bereaved.
By registering deceased friends and relatives with The Bereavement Register companies are able to remove their names and addresses from mailing lists stopping the majority of direct mail.
Contact Details as follows:
T: 01732 467 940
Our Staff Focus Day took place on Monday 3rd July at The Great House Sonning. The event was attended by all ABW Staff and Directors and focused on the vision and future of A B Walker. We were delighted to be joined by Chris Mears who we are currently sponsoring and supporting, and as you can see from the photos he was a hit with the ladies!
The Focus Day also gave staff the opportunity to vote for the ABW charity of the year for 2012/13 and, after presentations from members of the team, the majority voted for Berkshire MS Therapy Centre and we look forward to raising funds for such a worthy charity.
What an experience to see the torch passing our Reading office on Tuesday evening – the atmosphere was amazing and the entertainment provided by St. Andrews United Reformed Church kept the crowd going through the on and off showers.
Anthony Eastaway must have been overwhelmed by the welcome he received as he jogged along London Road.
This Friday we’ll be saying goodbye to one of our Stone Masons, Steve Mackenzie, who will be leaving us to work for Thames Trains. We wish Steve all the very best with his new career and future adventures.
A family always near to our hearts at this time of year is that of Cyrus Thatcher, a local lad from Reading, who was killed in Afghanistan in June 2009 aged 19.
Helena, Cyrus’s mother has written a book about her loss and journey of coming to terms with his death, we wish her well with this endeavour.
A wonderful time was had by all at Henley Bowls Club Gala Day on Sunday 24th June, Julian Walker was there to present the winner's trophy to Wallingford Bowls Club - well done to all who took part!
Tonight (Monday 25th June 2012) at 8.00pm Channel 4 are showing a programme called "Undercover Undertaker".
Using undercover filming Jackie Long discovers what really happens to our loved ones when they die. Should make for interesting watching.
A B Walker & Son Limited are proud to be sponsoring Henley Bowls Club Gala Day which takes place this Sunday 24th June. Julian Walker (pictured below with some of last year's winners) will attend to present the prize to the winning team - good luck to everyone who is taking part!
Diver Chris Mears, sponsored by A B Walker Funeral Director, and whose selection for the Olympic Diving Team has recently been confirmed, speaks candidly about his near death experience when, aged just 16, he ruptured his spleen during a dive in Sydney. Chris is pictured below with his Father Paul at their Burghfield home.
Our very own Funeral Administrator Debbie Friel (pictured), and her husband, ex-Reading Footballer, George, have been invited to a Garden Party at Henley Business School on Monday 25th June. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh will be in attendance, and will travel from Hambledon Lock on the 130-year old steam boat Alaska to be greeted by Mary Bayliss, The Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire. George was nominated to attend the prestigious event by members of Reading Borough council in recognition of his good work within the Town and his charity work
The Government has just announced that if you are on a low income and in receipt of certain benefits, you may be able to get help with certain important costs, such as funeral expenses, with an interest-free Budgeting Loan from the Social Fund that you pay back.
We are delighted to announce that Chris Mears has had his place confirmed for the London 2012 Olympics for both the 3m individual and 3m synchronized diving. The synchronized will take place on 1st August, with the individual diving preliminary taking place on 6th August. Keep your eyes peeled to the TV!
Congratulations Chris from all of us at A B Walker & Son Limited - we’ll be cheering you on!
The Golden Charter Team, with Julian Walker, retained the honours at the recent Gordon Kee Cup Competition against a team from SAIF Insure - for the second year running!
A B Walker and Son Limited are proud to be the Peppard Revel's dinner at Peppard on Monday 3rd June.
Julian Walker attended the County of Berkshire Jubilee Church Service on Sunday 27th May which was held at St Mary Butts in Reading. The church was completely full, with all faiths represented. Mary Bayliss (Lord Lieutenant) read a lesson and the Bishop of Reading gave the address.
Such sad news about the death of the very talented Robin Gibb, at 62 he was far too young.
Thatcham Town football sponsorship has attracted some attention from the visiting youth teams!
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man ever convicted of the Lockerbie Bombing in 1988 was buried in the Libyan Capital, Tripoli yesterday, he was freed from a Scottish prison three years ago on Humanitarian grounds as he was suffering from Prostrate Cancer and only expected to live for 3 months.
Southampton Diving Club star Chris Mears, who is being sponsored by A B Walker and Son Funeral Directors, hopes to boost his Olympic hopes at the European Diving Championships this week.
With the London 2012 Olympics just weeks away now, we wish Chris the very best of luck!
London 2012’s own Posh and Becks received the Olympic flame yesterday to bring it back to the UK, David Beckham joined the Princess Royal at the official handover ceremony in Athens
The six young victims of a tragic house fire in Allerton, Derbyshire are to have their funeral held in Derby Catherdral with six horse-drawn hearses.
A B Walker and Son Limited are at the Broad Street Mall today (Tuesday 15th May) for advice on prepaid funeral plans. Our friendly conductor James Hall will be there. If you cant make it today, we will be at Newbury Council Chambers 2-4pm on Wednesday (16th May) and on Friday (18th May) at Wokingham Town Council 2-4pm Plan for the future!!
After a decade of campaigning the New Townlands Hospital in Henley has been unveiled, the £8.7 million project is due for completion in 2014.
The Olympic Torch begins it epic journey to London today, and is due to be in and around Reading and Henley in July. @walkerfunerals are proud sponsors of @chrismears93, Team GB diving hopeful.
Reading Football Club (Legends) are playing Luther Blissett’s Celebrities United at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday 3rd June 2012 raising money for the Duchess of Kent House charity.
Graeme Murty • Michael Gilkes • Mick Gooding
Chris Allen• Neville Roach • Martyn Williams
Ady Williams • Jeff Brazier • Jamie Lawrence
Iwan Thomas • Spoony • Ralf Little • Micah Hyde
George Friel, an ex-Royal, and married to our very own Funeral Administrator, Debbie Friel, is managing the team and helping with the organisation of these charity games. Advance tickets are £7.00 for Adults and £3.00 for Under 16s. See link below to buy tickets.
The Wokingham Bikeathon takes place on Sunday 24th June 2012, starting at 9.45am from the Car Park of Wokingham Borough Council, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN, signing in opens at 8.45am and closes at 10.45am.
There are two events, one 35 mile cycle ride and another 15 mile cycle ride.
Over 200 people have signed up so far!
Hundreds of people attended a funeral on Wednesday to pay their respects to Claire Squires, the deceased runner who was described as having "left a legacy" after her supporters raised more than £1 million for charity following her death during the London Marathon. A B Walker send their deepest sympathies to all her family and friends.
All at A B Walker are delighted to hear that Duran Duran are to play at the opening ceremony for the Olympics this summer. We are sponsoring Chris Mears in his bid for an Olympic Gold for Diving. Wishing Chris, and all the athletes in Team GB, the very best of luck.
It is so very sad to see the following article in the Financial Times about army funerals bringing home the reality of war
Super-modern solar panels are reducing the carbon footprint and raising money for St Mary the Virgin Church in Henley-on-Thames.
The 38 panels will deliver up to 9.5kw of electricity for lighting up the church, which is used by about 3,000 people each year. Because the church is close to the bridge in Henley, which is known as a landmark historic feature, the panels have been carefully placed so that they do not spoil the view. The panels will reduce the carbon footprint of the church by some 20%, whilst the revenue from the surplus energy will contribute to the maintenance of the building.
The Rector, Canon Martyn Griffiths said: "This really is a win-win-win situation; the carbon footprint of the church will be reduced and this will contribute to our care for creation. The surplus energy produced will help to fund the continuing maintenance and development of this 800-year-old church and the local historical heritage".
Chris Mears and his partner Nick finished the World Series in Mexico with a silver medal in the 3m syncro event. This is Chris’s first ever World Series medal and it was a Personal Best score for the boys.
On Friday 20th April Julian joined friends, supporters of donors of the Sue Ryder Hospice in Nettlebed for the first planting of the memorial woodland in Henley. The planting was celebrated by a release of balloons after which the Henley mayor, Pamela Phillips read a poem.
A B Walker and Son Limited are sponsoring Chris Mears in his bid for Olympic Gold this summer. Chris recently took a"tour" of the A B Walker Branches in (see below clockwise starting top left) Reading, Bracknell and Wokingham where he was warmly welcomed by our team. We all wish you the very best of luck for London 2012 Chris!
A massive congratulations from all the staff at A B walker to our Funeral Director, Tony Grimshaw, who has now passed his National Association of Funeral Director's Diploma. Well done Tony!
A B Walker & Son Limited celebrate Reading FCs deserved promotion to Premier football next season!
In recognition of The Royals fantastic achievement, one of Reading’s oldest family business hoisted their own RFC flag at the Head Office in Eldon Road Reading to mark the occasion.
All at A B Walker wish The Royals all the very best for next season!
A B Walker and Son Limited offer their warmest congratulations to Reading Football Club who have gained automatic promotion to the Premiership for next season. Well done Mr McDermott and Sir John!
The Lord Lieutenant of Royal Berkshire, The Hon Mrs Mary Bayliss JP formally opened the offices in Thatcham followed by a blessing from The Revd. Mark Bennet.
Mr and Mrs Kent, who lost their son Jonny in January, aged just 18 years old, were in attendance to release some doves in his memory alongside Nicola Walker who released some doves in memory of her Aunt, who died the day before the formal opening.
Over 40 guests attended the occasion and it gave the A B Walker team a chance to meet such people as the cemetery managers, crematorium staff, council and local bank staff as well as several members of the clergy. away from the pressures of funeral bookings
Julian Walker gave a short speech and Cynthia Townley, The A B Walker General Manager,and her team worked hard to make the day a success.
Melissa Walker (pictured) led A B Walker's first prayer group meeting today, which was well attended by a quarter of the staff. The group has been set up to provide a spiritual dimension for employees particularly in light of the nature of our work. This morning's meeting produced some lively discussion on the theme of facing up to life's difficult issues followed by prayers for the A B Walker team, their families and the bereaved.
A B Walker and Son Limited are delighted to welcome two new members to our Team. Our new "afternoon" receptionist is Penny Hajinicolas, and Andrew Weston has joined us as a bearer.
Welcome Penny and Andrew to the AB Walker Team!!
Jack Laugher and Chris Mears impressed for the British Gas GBR Diving Team as they reached the 3m Springboard semi-final on the second day of the FINA Diving World Cup at London Aquatics Centre. Please see link below for more details about our Olympic hopeful.
Wokingham Registrars Office are holding an Open Day this Saturday 3rd March 2012. A B Walker will be hosting a stall there between 10am and 1pm, please feel free to drop by and say hello to us.
Chris Mears, our olympic hopeful for 2012, and his partner Nick had a good day at the office yesterday. They qualified for the final of the 3M Synchro, although they dropped a few points in the early two rounds of required dives, they managed to claw their way back from 12th to 8th with one round to go. This last round was the big tariff dive but last night it didn’t come off so they finished 10th in the end. Still, they will look at this and be comforted by the fact that had they landed it they would have been in the mix for 3rd to 6th spot.
Fees for Church of England Weddings are to increase by 40% and the cost of a funeral service by more than 50%. Church members have voted to raise the cost of a wedding from £296 to £415 and for a funeral service the cost will go up from £102 to £160 from January next year.
For the second year in a row A B Walker & Son Limited have been awarded “Golden Charter Funeral Planner of the Year in the South West and South of England Region.” Our thanks go to the whole of the A B Walker Team for all their hard work
This year we are the proud sponsors of Chris Mears, a young British athlete who is hoping to dive at the London 2012 Olympic Games. We're delighted to hear that Chris is making excellent progress and his training is going well. In a recent letter to us Chris wrote:
"Firstly a quick update on the national cup that took place in January; I placed 2nd qualifying for the world cup. The score I posted was 35 points above my personal best. It would also have placed me 8th at the world championships in shanghai last year, so all is looking good for the world cup!"
To read the full letter and learn more about Chirs Mears and how you can help us to support him, please visit our current sponsorship page.
The formal opening of our Thatcham Branch will take place on Thursday 22nd March 2012, more details to follow so watch this space!
Chris Mears, who A B Walker & Son Limited are currently supporting for 2012, has recently recorded a TV interview with Meridian News which is due to go out on the 16th February during the early evening news programme. The Meridian News website can be found here.
The snowy weather that has prevailed so far in February has failed to disrupt any funeral services. The significant snowfalls fo the past two yars have prompted a review of our business continuity planning. Thankfully this last snowfall was nowhere near as long loasting but our winter vehicle measures and snow clearing equipment has been moved ready for action!
Starting on BBC1 tonight (Tuesday 7th February 2012) is a new three part series called "Death Unexplained". This series explores the work of the coroner and the part played by all those investigating sudden death. Sounds very interesting and definitely worth tuning in to!
We are delighted to announce the opening of our new office in Thatcham at the beginning of December 2011. Full details can be found on the Thatcham page of our website.
Cemetery will close at 15.00hrs on Friday 23rd & 30th December.
Saturday 24th-Tuesday 27th December Closed
Saturday 31st – Monday 2nd January Closed
West Berkshire Crematorium
Saturday 24th-Tuesday 27th December Closed
Wednesday 28th – Friday 30th Dec Open as normal
Saturday 31st – Monday 2nd January Closed
Easthampstead Park Crematorium
Saturday 24th-Tuesday 27th December Closed
Saturday 31st – Monday 2nd January Closed
Our very own Julian Walker was interviewed by Coutts Family Business department. They will be using ABW as a case study and we will be able to provide more details after the 15th December... Watch this space!
We are absolutely delighted to report that our very own Fueral Administrator Debbie Friel has won a pride of Reading Award! Hardworking Debbie was Reading’s Employee of the Year and was nominated for being “caring, sympathetic, diplomatic and professional”.
The eighth Pride of Reading awards were held at the Crowne Plaza on 23rd November. The glittering ceremony was hosted by Reading boy Chris Tarrant with special guests – including chef Antony Worrall Thompson, TV star Debbie McGee, Sir John Madejski and Brian McDermott from the Royals, London Irish’s Shontayne Hape and many more. Performances came from X Factor star Danyl Johnson and Reading’s own Elvis Paul Rouse.
Huge Congratulations to Debbie from the whole team at AB Walker! We are very proud too!
Duchess of Kent House Charity - Light up a Life 2011
We would like to invite you to celebrate with us the life of someone who was very dear to you at 6.30pm on Friday, 2nd December 2011 at our annual Light Up a Life service.
For further details, please visit the Duchess of Kent website.
The festive season will soon be with us, and we would love for you to join us at this year’s Lights of Love service. Many find it a very welcome way to celebrate the life of a loved one at Christmas, and we hope you will too.
We’ll have tea, coffee and mince pies available after the service and we’d love you to stay on for a chat with us, our Hospice Manager and nurses.
Thursday 1st Dec service http://www.sueryder.org/events.php/1086/lights_of_love_nettlebed
Here's Michael celebrating his 65th birthday, on the 18th November. At the same time he shared his birthday with his Grandaughter who was 2 years old!
The whole team would like to wish Michael very many Happy Returns!
Renovation work has started at our new Thatcham branch and is progressing well. More photos to follow.
We are delighted to report that Steve Pope and Chris Finill have completed their run across America, running an astonishing 40 miles a day for 77 days from San Francisco to New York.
Finishing in the unseasonably cold and snowy conditions after rain, wind, desert, altitude – we are all immensely proud of Steve and Chris. They have raised over £3,000 for Help for Heroes. We look forward to welcoming them home in a week or so! Please visit http://www.bmycharity.com/runacrossamerica if you would like to make a donation.
A. B. Walker & Son Limited have been awarded the bronze Investors in People recognition. This is a big achievement for the team at A B Walker!
The aim is to continue to improve on what we currently do and to aim towards silver for the next review.
A.B.Walker & Son held its third annual game shoot at the Wasing Estate near Aldermaston in October. The weather was spectacularly warm to the relief of all! The day was in support of Chris Mears – our Olympic Diving Hopeful. The day was finished with a lunch at Wasing Park and prizes for the best and worst!
A B Walker and Sons Limited are very pleased to announce that our Funeral Operative, Mark Stewart, has successfully passed his BRAMM Exam, please join us in offering him our congratulations
The A B Walker K2 Canoe was dusted off and put in to action on Sunday 2nd October at the 55th National Hasler Final Canoe Marathon Racing Championships held at Bedford. The A B Walker boat which was used in the 2010 Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race to raise money for Help For Heroes was again crewed by Reading Canoe Club paddlers Matthew Walker and Lee Atkins, who made a credible 5th place in their divisional race. Both Matt and Lee opted for the reassuring stability of the A B Walker boat to meet the predicted choppy conditions which proved the right call.
All Saints Church, Witlshire Road, Wokingham are holding a short service to give thanks for the life of someone you remember, Please feel free to join them for a thoughtful prayer and a quiet moment on Sunday 6th November 2011 at 3.00pm. Refreshments to be served after the service.
Members of the A B Walker & Son team will be attending a Memorial Service at Holy Trinity Church, Bracknell on Sunday 30th October 2011 at 3pm. This is an annual service to remember all those who have passed away within the last year. The service is open to family and friends.
AB Walker & Son Limited have been listed as a recommended funeral director by the Natural Death Centre.
The Natural Death Centre is a social entrepreneurial, educational charity that gives advice on all aspects of dying, bereavement and consumer rights in this area. They offer support on family-organised and environmentally-friendly funerals and run the Association Natural Burial Grounds. Although green, they promote choice and education not just environmental issues.
An old University Friend of Julian Walker, Steve Pope, is undertaking a coast to coast run across America, starting in San Francisco and finishing in New York. Steve and running mate Chris Finill will be running 40 miles a day for 77 days to raise money for charity "Help For Heroes".
The pair are hoping to raise £10,000 for the chairty, and with your help we hope to get that figure even higher. Please check out their web site if you wish to sponsor them. http://runacrossamerica.co.uk/index.php.
All the very best of luck to Tony Grimshaw, a Funeral Conductor for A B Walker & Son Limited, who is taking his NAFD Diploma Exam this Week!
James Leedham of Native Woodland Limited and Julian Walker of A B Walker and Son Limited teamed up to run a stall at the Henley Show to promote natural burials, this event took place in Hambledon, near Henley-on-Thames on Saturday 10th September 2011.
Native Woodland Limited have a natural burial ground based in Rotherfield Greys, near Henley and work closely with A B Walker's Henley Office. A natural burial ground is a place where mourners can have more time, more privacy and more space in which to remember their loved one. The area is surrounded by trees, grass, wild flowers and wildlife rather than rows of head stones, which keeps things simple and less traditional.
Although a natural burial site may take some years to become established, the beauty of it is that the meadows will be grazed just as they have always been and will continue to be long after burials cease; new tree planting will develop within 10 years to become new native woodland and the mature woodland burial grounds are managed to regenerate old and fallen trees.
A B Walker and Son Limited are hosting a Reception and Dinner for all their employees and their partners to be held at Cilantro in the Madjeski Stadium Complex on Friday 9th September 2011, this is our way of thanking all our staff for their amazing contribution to the success of our business, and a chance for everyone to let their hair down!
Sadly The Independent Living and Easy Lifestyle Show which was due to be held at Rivermead Leisure Centre on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September 2011 did not go ahead in the end due to unforeseen circumstances, however, A B Walker and Son are hoping to find a similar event to participate in in the not too distant future.
A B Walker and Son Limited will be hosting a stand at The Independent Living and Easy Lifestyle Show which is being held at Rivermead Leisure Centre on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September 2011. The event will comprise approximately 100 exhibitors and admission is free to all visitors. The event will be open to the general public on both days betweeen 10am and 5pm. Car parking is available for both exhibitors and visitors.
Aimed at the over 50s, companies exhibiting at this event will include mobility services, care/nursing agencies, retirement homes, overseas properties, residential homes, hearing aids and pre-paid funeral plans.
Representatives from A B Walker & Son Limited will be attending the Annual Memorial Service at Easthampstead Park Crematorium which takes place on Sunday 4th September at 3.00pm.
This is an open air ceremony, aimed at remembering those who have passed away during the last year. The service will comprise hymns, a humanist section, readings from local Ministers, plus a Choir and the Salvation Army Band will also be performing. Afterwards refreshments will be served to raise money for the Mayor’s Charity.
A B Walker and Son Limited were sad to say goodbye to one of their Funeral Operatives, Phil Young, who left our employment on Friday 12th August. Phil and his partner Lauren are moving to Lincolnshire to start a new life, where Phil has managed to find employment with another Funeral Director - our loss, their gain, but we wish them all the very best for the future.
Cynthia Townley and Heidi Nightingale, of A B Walker & Son Limited, joined the Town Mayor, Peter Lucey for the judging of "Wokingham in Flower Competition" which is sponsored by A. B. Walker & Son every year.
The winner in the Container section was "The Hope & Anchor", followed closely by "Waitrose". Winner in the Garden section was "The Crispin", followed by "The Doll’s House".
Trophies and certificates are to be presented at The Town Hall on Wednesday 14th September 2011, and in the meantime may A B Walker & Son Limited take this opportunity of congratulating everyone who took part, our thanks go out to you for all your effort and hard work - well done!
Filmed on Sunday 24th July 2011 at the Palmer Park Bowling Club. - The 'Spider' was the first event of the PPBC Gala Day, sponsored by A.B.Walker & Son Ltd
Our Charity of the Year for 2010-2011, the very worthwhile Chiltern and Thames Valley Air Ambulance Trust (TVACAA) is now coming to an end. We are currently considering what charity we will support during 2011-2012 and this will be announced in September
A B Walker and Son Limited have donated a second memorial stone for Reading Football Club Memorial Park at the Madejski Stadium in memory of players and management, cementing our affliliation with the club and supporters.
As stalwart Reading fans, we all wish them well in the new season and hope to see Premiership football back in Berkshire in 2012 - come on you R's!!
Palmer Park Bowling Club held their Gala Day yesterday - Sunday 24th July 2011 - which A B Walker & Son Limited were very proud to sponsor.
This is the 10th year ABW have sponsored PPBC’s Gala day, with 20 teams competing in glorious sunshine. PPBC President John Hall with Matthew Walker and Tony Grimshaw were there to present the trophies to;
Winners: Three Mile Cross B (pictured above)
Runners Up: Woodley
Semi-Finalist: Island Bohemians A
Winner of the £100 Raffle: Gordon Gunns (pictured above)
Winner of the ‘Spider’: Theresa Slark
Well done to all those who attended and a special thank you to all the Palmer Park Bowling Club members who made the day relaxed as ever.
All the luck in the world and our very best good wishes go to our Receptionist Sue Stacey whose last day with us is on Friday 22nd July 2011, we will all miss you very much Sue, and our good wishes go with you in your new career
A B Walker & Sons Limited are very proud to be sponsoring Palmer Park Bowls Club Gala Day this Sunday 24th July. We wish all the participants the very best of luck and are keeping everything crossed that the rain holds off - unlike our staff bowling event kindly organised by PPBC last month (Pictured)!
Congratulations to A B Walker and Son Employee David Gavin for passing his BRAMM (British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons) Accreditattion Exam. This is a recognised uniform standard of workmanship and business practice throughout the UK.
Pride of Reading nomination for Debbie Friel
Caring Debbie Friel’s friendly face and sympathetic ear have offered comfort at a time of grief for many families and they have now earned her a nomination for a Pride of Reading award.
The Reading-born 52-year-old has been nominated in the Employee of the Year category in her role of funeral administrator at AB Walker & Son in Eldon Road, Central Reading.
She was nominated by Chris Millard who used the funeral directors following the loss of his parents Derek and Margaret and has nothing but praise for his nominee he calls “a real star”.
Mr Millard, 49, from Hardwick Road, Tilehurst, said: “Debbie is the first point of contact for bereaved families and has a real special way of putting people at ease and making what is a unimaginably difficult time easier.
“She does her job very professionally and compassionately.
“Personally I have lost both parents in the last three years and Debbie has organised both funerals and has done a fantastic job each time.
“She is a real star, a lovely person and I really believe that she deserves to be nominated for this award.”
Mrs Friel, who lives with her husband George, 40, in Amethyst Lane, Tilehurst, has been employed by AB Walker & Son for 15 years.
She said: “I enjoy the job. Some people say they couldn’t do it but there are many jobs out there I couldn’t do. It is predominantly about helping people like any other caring profession.
“When a family come in they are often very apprehensive and have never had to arrange a funeral before and we help them from the start of their grief right through to the service.
“I have suffered bereavement before I joined the company when I lost both my parents at a young age and try to treat people the way I would like to be myself and listen to what they want.
“Each arrangement is different because of the circumstances, which can sometimes be tragic and emotional, but you learn to stay calm and professional.
“I always think that no matter how I am feeling if I can do something to make things a little easier then that gives me the satisfaction I need.”
On her nomination in the Hilton-sponsored category, Mrs Friel added: “I cannot quite believe it really. In lots of ways I do not like being singled out as it’s a really big team effort.“We get lots of thank you letters from people and it is nice that Chris has nominated me, but without everyone here it wouldn’t happen. I just play my part.”
On 1st August 2011 Wokingham Register Office will be moviing to the following address:
Wokingham Register Office
Tel: 0118 974 6554 (New Number)
Fax: 0118 974 6255
Palmer Park Bowls Club opened their doors to A B Walker staff and their families for an evening of bowls followed by a buffet kindly supplied by PPBC, a thank you to A B Walker & Son Limited for sponsoring their Gala Day.
Despite heavy rainfall a good time was had by all, even those who had never played bowls before in their lives! Unfortuantely beacause of the weather, all but the die-hards were forced to retire to the club house a little earlier than planned, but a most delicious buffet and a few drinks ensued which more than made up for the poor weather! A massive thank you to PPBC for their wonderful hospitality!
The launch for Sue Ryder Nettlebed Hospice Women of Achievement Awards 2011 was held at The Leander Club, Henley on 21st June 2011 and attended by Julian Walker.
The Women of Achievement Awards help to recognise and celebrate the successes of women; in business, the community, the creative world and in sport. Sue Ryder Nettlebed Hospice looks forward to welcoming back some previous winners and nominees and introducing this year's WOAA Category Champions.
The Awards Ceremony will be held at the Hilton Hotel, Reading on 13th October 2011. Please feel free to nominate the heroine in your life!
A B Walker & Son Limited held a Staff Workshop on Wednesday 22nd June 2011 at The Great House Sonning. The event was attended by all ABW Staff and Directors and was a most enjoyable and informative afternoon, invoking many lively discussions about the vision and future of A B Walker. This was followed by an absolutely delicious Barbeque on the Terrace of The Great House, and we were most fortunate that the earlier heavy rain dissipated leaving a dry and sunny evening. A most successful event and we extend our grateful thanks to all those who were involved.
A B Walker & Son Limited are proud to be sponsoring Henley Bowls Club Gala Day this Sunday 26th June 2011, Julian Walker will attend to present the prize to the winning team - good luck to everyone who is taking part!
We are holding a staff workshop on Wednesday 22nd June to discuss the vision and future of A.B. Walker. Watch out for future announcements from this day.
The team at A.B. Walker would like to wish a very happy retirement to both Rev. John Coombs from St. Nicholas Church, Hurst & St. Mary’s Church, Winnersh and Rector Bill Meyer from All Saints Church, Binfield. They are both much loved in their respective communities and we wish them every happiness in their retirement.
Julian Walker acted as a "celebrity" auctioneer with some other slightly more famous faces in mid May; the total raised was nearly £25,000 in aid of the tower fund at St Andrews Church, Sonning. The auction was held at Reading Blue Coat School where Julian and Matthew Walker were both pupils.
At A.B. Walker & Son Ltd we are now pleased to offer our customers a number of options for funeral catering. We work in partnership with local businesses to provide a variety of solutions, from catering at your home to a fully staffed service at local venues. Please call us on 0118 957 3650 to discuss how we can meet any requirements you may have. For further details, including sample menus, please visit the links below:
(Catering at home or chosen venue)
The Crown, Playhatch
(Established Country Pub)
The Great House, Sonning
(Riverside, family run hotel)
We are delighted to report that Julian completed this year’s London Marathon in just under 4 hours! He was aiming for 3 hours and 45 minutes and after the first half of the course was on schedule to meet this ambitious target. However at around 22 miles, the heat took over and Julian slowed down his pace (for fear of being the target of an over enthusiastic St John’s Ambulance worker!). He still managed to shave a couple of minutes off his finishing time in 2009 and we are all very impressed with his efforts. Most importantly, Julian hit his target to raise over £3,000 for Sue Ryder Care, a local hospice that helps very sick people with necessary care. Thanks to everybody who supported Julian and well done on a fantastic achievement!
Earlier this year, we were pleased to be told that A.B. Walker & Son had won a regional award for pre-paid funeral planning with Golden Charter, the leading independent pre-paid funeral provider in the UK (see the article below). We promised to share some photos from the national conference of the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, which took place in March. We were regional winners of the "over 500 funerals" category for the South East. James Hall, who was instrumental in driving this success, and Julian Walker were delighted to collect the award on behalf of A.B. Walker. A great result and well done to the team and everybody involved!
New fees are being issued by Easthampstead Park Crematorium which are effective from 1st April 2011. For further information, please visit their website.
We have a new funeral fleet on order; 2 shiny new jaguar hearses and 1 limousine due for delivery early in 2012.
Simon who has worked in the family firm for nearly seven years has decided that his time at AB Walker has come to an end and he hopes to continue to utilise his monumental masonry skills as well as learn some new skills. Simon intends to move in the Basingstoke direction, where he has a large concentration of friends. Many of his colleagues gathered on his last day in February to wish him well and send him off in style.
John, a very popular member of our ABW team, has decided to move to Liverpool to be with his beloved, Laura. We are all extremely excited for him - not least his mother, Sue, our monumental masonry administrator! We sent him on his way northwards with a Reading FC top to remind him of his heritage! Good luck John!
Ian and Pat MacDonald enjoyed a complimentary night at the Forbury Hotel in Reading as a result of winning a staff raffle - They would like to thank the Forbury management for an excellent experience.
We have been informed that AB Walker & Son have won a regional award for pre-paid funeral planning with Golden Charter, the leading independent prepaid funeral provider in the UK - this award is to be announced at the national conference of the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors to be held at Brands Hatch in March. Pictures and details to follow!
A public consultation is underway considering changes to the cemetery regulations at Reading’s main cemetery. For details please click on this link.
2010 has been confirmed as having the lowest death rate in England and Wales for the past 55 years. Despite health concerns surrounding rising levels of obesity and alcohol use, death rates for both men and women fell by about 5% in 2009 from 2008. In 2010, there were under half a million deaths registered - the last time the figure fell this low was in the mid-1950s, when the population was 10m smaller. The life expectancy for adults continues to increase with men closing the gap on women – who still live significantly longer.
We have concluded an in depth review of our memorial operations and will spend 2011 bringing in a more client focused approach to the creation of memorials and hope to bring down the 12 week order time significantly.
Our ‘new girl’ Caroline Cassells officially takes the helm at our Henley branch during January after a three month training programme. Caroline is local to Henley and has a breadth of experience in customer care.
Some of the chaps have been putting themselves forward to loose a few pounds in a drive to make themselves more healthy in 2011. The company tailor has been readied to adjust tails and waistbands…
Fundraiser Allison Bennett, Julian Walker and Sue Ryder Manager Elise Hoadley launching the London Marathon fundraising bid and the new Sue Ryder logo – what a large T shirt for such a small chap!!
Some guests at the second AB Walker & Son charity shooting day in aid of the Air Ambulance, held at Wasing Park near Aldermaston.
Our Henley office has now been formally re-opened by the Mayor of Henley, Councillor Mrs Jennifer Wood and Reverend Duncan Carter following extensive refurbishment.
Julian Walker, Mayor Councillor Jennifer Wood and Rev Duncan Carter unveil a plaque commemorating the refurbishment of the Henley Office.
James from the Rotherfield Greys Woodland Burial site and Matthew Walker.
Julian Walker has been awarded a place to run the London Marathon for Sue Ryder Care, Nettlebed in 2011.
Later next year Julian will be running the New York Marathon in support of a friend running across America in aid of Help for Heroes.
Cynthia Townley has been appointed our first General Manager. Cynthia has worked at AB Walker for the past 9 years and has extensive funeral and memorial experience.
All four of our branches held a coffee morning as part of the national “Biggest Coffee Morning” and were supported by clients, neighbours and several passers by! We collected a total of £142.94 which will be match funded by the Walker Family Charitable Trust.
Thank you all for attending.
Reading Crematorium in Caversham, has held its first public open day supported by AB Walker & Son. Members of the public were offered tours of the facilities and Julian Walker was on hand to answer specific questions.
It is hoped that shortly an annual memorial service will be announced for members of all denominations to gather and remember loved ones who either lay buried or were cremated at Reading Crematorium.
Mary Bliss, a stalwart of our Reading office has retired in September 2010 after 22 years service. Mary and her partner Colin were guests of honour at an open house where some of her family, nursing staff, clients, newspaper contacts, clergy and doctors gathered to raise a toast followed by a dinner held in The Forbury Hotel for all members of staff and their partners. Mary was gifted a watch despite never being late for work – even when it snowed! The Walker family paid tribute to Mary and wish her every happiness in her retirement.
Paul Starmer,an A.B. Walker Operative was thrilled to announce the arrival of his daughter Olivia Daniella on 18 June 2010 weighing in at 6lb 14ozs
Simon looks very confident abseiling down a Reading building in June.
Matt Walker and Lee Atkins came 37th in their class and raised over £9000 for Help for Heroes, A.B. Walker's chosen charity of the year.
Matthew Walker and Lee Atkins training hard for the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Marathon being held on Easter Weekend 4th April 2010 – please sponsor the boys at http://www.justgiving.com/Canoe-Kings in aid of Help For Heroes.
A.B. Walker has chosen Help for Heroes as its Charity of the Year for 2009/10. This event raised £750 – the total stands at over £4,000 and will increase with several staff events in the pipeline.
A.B. Walker conducted it’s first burial at sea for some time this winter about 3 miles south of the Needles in accordance of the family wishes. An emotional if bracing experience for those in attendance.
Thank you all for supporting me I just missed my target of under 4 hours - I managed 4.00hrs and 42 seconds (but at least I beat Gordon Ramsay!).
I have to admit to rather enjoying myself, it was very hot for running (20 degrees plus), especially as all of my training has been early on frosty, snowy or wet mornings - my only injury is a spot of vest shaped sunburn! Nicky managed to spot me en route and together with friends Alex, Seamus and Franny, take me for a celebratory beer or two in the West End within minutes of finishing!
Together with your help, my sponsorship total for Sue Ryder Care is £5,329.34. I am going to see the staff at the Sue Ryder Hospice in Nettlebed on Wednesday for a ceremonial cheque handover.
Thank you everyone for being so generous with your money and your encouragement, especially the training tips and hints. From my personal health view, I have lost about 4 Kilos and reduced my body fat percentage by over 7% from Christmas time to be well within the recommended healthy range!
Thank you all.
Head Office Building renovation is progressing – all of the administrators are now safely ensconced in their new office and the conversion of the chapels, mortuary and entrance reception has started. We are on track for completion in December 2008 and look forward to a service of dedication of the new chapels in the late spring time on 2009.
David Walker is blessed with another grandchild – this time a girl! David’s elder daughter Sian and son-in-law Alan have announced the birth of Molly Naomi.
A. B. Walker & Son held its second forum at the Leander Club in Henley and this year our speaker was Claire Rayner OBE who spoke entertainingly, and openly, about her experiences as a nurse and an agony aunt and her survival against cancer.
Over 70 specially invited guests attended and the evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all. 13 Leander Club athletes won medals at this year’s Olympics for rowing which made the venue even more spectacular.
As a treat for some Latvian students on an exchange with girls from the Abbey School, Reading, they were collected from the airport in three of our new limousine fleet.
We have now taken ownership of our new Jaguar fleet and this, in conjunction with retaining one of our Mercedes hearses and two of our Mercedes limousines, increases our fleet to an impressive 3 hearses and 6 limousines. This enables us to further meet the expectations of our clients throughout the area.
All members of staff were engaged at an afternoon workshop to develop their product and service knowledge as well as consider areas of our service to improve. It was held at the Madejski Stadium in August and the ideas thrown up by staff members are to be incorporated into our strategic planning process
This is a gardening and floral display competition for the Wokingham area. This year we are sponsors, judges and awarding the best floral display by a commercial premises. Entry forms for both sections can be obtained from the following link.
In July A. B. Walker sponsored the running shirts and transport to London of seven runners for the British 10km. Amongst the exhausted runners was Julian, his wife Nicky and local Twyford GP Carol James. Well done to all those who took part!
We have had two causes for celebration recently. In July Paul, one of our Funeral Operatives, married Giustina and spent their honeymoon in Turkey, and in August Pam married Giancarlo and enjoyed their honeymoon cruising around the Mediterranean. Coincidentally Giancarlo is the uncle of Giustina so a double celebration for their family!
We held our annual staff event on the ‘New Orleans’ in August with the vessel taking us on a leisurely trip along the River Thames. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening which was rounded off by a spot of dancing. Our thanks to Hobbs of Henley.
ABW again sponsored two bowls competitions locally and it was good to see that one of the home sides won their final with Henley beating Shiplake during the final end.
To celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, Peppard Revels held a weekend celebration on Peppard Common. Attended by over 400 people, A. B. Walker supported the James Bond themed ball which ended with a magnificent fireworks display and raised nearly £4,000 - the bulk of which went to support the War Memorial Hall and the remainder to the Friends of Peppard School and the British Heart Foundation.
Every few years the Village of Rotherfield Peppard near Henley, holds a weekend celebration on Peppard Common which on the Saturday includes a family day, an evening event and a multi-denominational church service followed by lunch on the Sunday. In the past, themes have been The Millennium, The Queens Golden Jubilee and the Bicentenary of Trafalgar. This year we are supporting the evening extravaganza celebrating the centenary of the birth of local author Ian Fleming (the Fleming family were resident in Joyce Grove, now Sue Ryder Care in Nettlebed). The evening we are sponsoring is a James Bond Ball – tickets and information are available from http://www.peppardrevels.org.uk/
Hoping for better luck than last year we entered a highly trained team into the 2008 football tournament, played at the Madejski Stadium in May. Yet again we were unsuccessful in winning but we all know that it’s the taking part that counts!
We have decided to create a charitable trust. This will become our vehicle for directly helping local charitable causes. We are going to invest in the trust without drawing from it for another four years to allow an appropriate sum to accumulate and in turn earn a significant enough amount for distribution. We hope to include the next generation of the Walker family (the eldest is still only 9!) as well as members of staff and retired members of the family in the management and distribution of the funds.
Our thanks to Mark Evans and his team at Coutts for their advice.
May 2009 will see David Walkers retirement!