Derbyshire funeral director celebrates 25th of working at local business

A Derbyshire funeral director who was one of only a handful of women to work in the industry when she took a job as a receptionist, is celebrating 25 years of service working for the same company.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 3:53 pm

Helen Ellis has notched up a quarter of a century on behalf of Gillotts Funeral Directors in Abbott Street, Heanor, after originally joining the firm in a part-time capacity in 1996.

The mum of three, who qualified to become a funeral director in 2000, first decided she wanted to work in the industry when she was 16, despite her careers teacher advising her that other caring roles, such as that of nursery nurse, were more suitable.

Instead she completed two weeks of work experience at a funeral firm in Nottingham and then a two-year YTA placement at another company.

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Helen Ellis celebrates her 25th year working for Gillotts Funeral Directors in Heanor, along with partners Anthony Topley and Barry Hutsby.
Helen Ellis celebrates her 25th year working for Gillotts Funeral Directors in Heanor, along with partners Anthony Topley and Barry Hutsby.

Helen applied for the role of a receptionist at Gillotts eight years later and the business gave her the role at a time when they say very few women worked in the funeral industry.

The director, who has ensured the smooth running of hundreds of funerals ever since, said: “It took me such a long time to get a job in the industry so I was very grateful to Gillotts for taking me on and, 25 years later, I consider myself very lucky to work with such a great team.

“I come from Heanor and I’ve conducted funerals for so many of its families down the years, and although they are sad occasions, it’s a privilege to work with them and ensure that their relatives have had the send-offs that they deserve.”

Anthony Topley, a partner in Gillotts Funeral Directors added: “It is rare nowadays to find people who have devoted so much of their lives to one company, so we all know how lucky we are to have benefitted from Helen’s hard work and professionalism for the past 25 years.

“It’s incredible to think back now to how she was one of just a few women working in the industry when she started, and ever since she has helped to ensure that caring for the families and their loved ones, while carrying out their wishes, is at the heart of everything we do.”

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