Staff retrain to help bereaved families in Gainsborough during the coronavirus pandemic

Instead of working from home, two West Lindsey District Council officers chose to spend the last year working at Lea Fields Crematorium, supporting bereaved families and have now qualified as Crematorium officers.

As the country was plunged into the first national lockdown, Celia Chapman and Trudi Hayes were redeployed to the crematorium, which is run by West Lindsey District Council

Trudi, a democratic and civic officer, at West Lindsey District Council said: “I initially offered to help to cover holidays and I thought I would only be covering the phones but gradually I have been trained to be able to cover all aspects of the service.

"I never thought that when I started that I would be fully qualified in a year and I do feel proud of what we have achieved.”

West Lindsey chief executive Ian Knowles, Tony Kirkham, Crematorium officer, Karen Smith, Trudi Hayes, Celia Chapman and Deborah Balsdon, Crematorium manager

Celia, a senior elections officer at the council, had no elections to run as they were all postponed, which opened up the opportunity for her to learn the role.

She said: “Originally we thought we would be helping out in the office or in the Chapel but we never thought we would be involved in the whole process.

"Karen Smith, a senior crematorium officer and our mentor could see both Trudi and I had taken to the role and she put us forward for the qualification.”

Ian Knowles, chief executive of West Lindsey District Council, said: “I am incredibly proud of all our colleagues at West Lindsey District Council who have worked incredibly hard throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.”