Boss swoops on Woodville Co-op funeral home in motorcycle sidecar packed with chocolates

It was one of the strangest sights funeral staff had ever seen when their manager swooped unexpectedly on them in a motorcycle sidecar.

Glen and Paul en route to funeral homes.

Glen and Paul en route to the funeral homes.

Glen Speak arrived at the Woodville Co-operative Funeralcare home in Granville Street armed with boxfuls of chocolate and a big smile.

Sporting goggles and a helmet, one funeral director said he looked ‘disturbingly like Olive from the seventies sitcom On the Buses.’

The surprise visit to the branch was the result of a promise made to Glen by Paul Sinclair, owner of Motorcycle Funerals, Britain’s first motorcycle hearse business.

In a casual conversation, Glen told Paul the firm had been shortlisted for a national Good Funeral Award. Paul responded by saying that if it won, he would take Glen around all the branches in his motorcycle to deliver chocolates to the staff.

A few days later TV celebrity Penny Smith presented the local funeral business with the top honour for ‘The Most Significant Contribution to the Understanding of Death’ at the Good Funeral Awards held in London.

Glen pictured with funeral director Lorraine Walker outside Woodville Co-operative Funeralcare premises.

Glen pictured with funeral director Lorraine Walker outside the Woodville Co-operative Funeralcare premises.

Glen, who is deputy manager of the funeral division, wasted little time in reminding Paul about his pledge.

Paul, a previous winner himself in the ‘Best alternative to a hearse’ category, said: “It was a classic case of opening my mouth before my brain was in gear. I promised Glen that if they won, I would drive him round to every branch in the division in my sidecar like a chocolate Santa handing out treats to all the staff.”

Glen said: “I don’t think Paul had fully grasped that this meant taking part in ‘the great chocolate run’ covering eight separate locations and 125 miles.”

The branch is part of the Tamworth Co-operative Society and the pair also surprised staff at funeral homes in Uttoxeter, Tamworth, Coseley, Great Wyrley, Heath Hayes and Pelsall.

“It was obviously a light-hearted day, but it does have a serious side. By the very nature of the work our staff need to be genuinely caring and dedicated people. They do such a lot to support bereaved families in the community. The support and attention they offer to people before, during and long after a funeral has taken place played a big part in us winning this award.  

“We wanted to acknowledge the part they have played and the incredible job they do for people experiencing a most distressing time in their lives. Staff like Angela Bowyer and Lorraine Walker at Woodville do such a lot to help bereaved people in the area.”

Paul, whose motorcycle hearses have been featured in the national press and on TV programmes such as Emmerdale, added: “I’ve seen enough chocolate to last a lifetime, but I’ve met a lot of the staff on various funerals. They truly deserved this surprise.”

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