Bridgnorth funeral director honoured by King Charles for services to business

A fourth-generation Shropshire funeral director who also heads up a national industry body has been recognised by the King at Buckingham Palace.

John Adams meeting the King. Photo: British Ceremonial Arts Ltd.
John Adams meeting the King. Photo: British Ceremonial Arts Ltd.

John Adams, of the family-run Perry & Phillips Funeral Directors in Bridgnorth, met King Charles on November 16 and was "honoured" to meet the new monarch.

The funeral director was invited to the prestigious reception to recognise "the contribution of small businesses to the economy of the United Kingdom."

"It was a dream night really," the 36-year-old said. "Going through the front gates, it was quite surreal. It was full of tourists, and I thought 'that used to be me'. It still is me."

John spoke to the King about Perry & Phillips, as well as the work of the National Association of Funeral Directors, where he is the second youngest president in its history.

The Bridgnorth businessman also spoke about his campaign for bereavement awareness to be taught in schools as part of the national curriculum.

Speaking about the importance of the campaign, John said: "I want to help young people when they suffer a close loss. I lost my mum Maria, at the age of 12, and I felt very isolated.

"People were not sure what to say to me, which is understandable. From this experience and what I have learnt whilst arranging and conducting funerals, I believe there is a need for bereavement awareness to be added into the national curriculum.

"I want to give children tools of support and offer advice, in the same way pupils learn about sex education in school.

"It is about helping them understand emotions and feelings when someone dies, exploring those things associated with loss but in a gentle way. It’s about offering support to a child, compassion to friends and support for teachers on how they can communicate and speak.

"I truly believe by having bereavement awareness discussions at school, we can help in providing future generations with the right tools when suffering a loss whether it be as a child or in their adult life.

"Discussing the emotions and feelings involved when we suffer a loss also highlights the importance of why we have a funeral; with an increase in direct cremation, this education could also be critical in demonstrating the importance of saying goodbye."

He added: "It was an absolute honour to be able to talk to the King about this. Her Majesty The Queen’s recent death was very much at the forefront of my mind when talking to him about bereavement awareness - he's been there.

"Her death has reinforced the purpose of a funeral – that it is not just for the deceased but also for the bereaved to pay their respects and have closure."

On the death of Princess Diana, John said: "The King had to go through that with two young children. I did mention that to him.

"I spoke to him about the petition for bereavement awareness and he was very engaged and supportive about it."

As well as being one of the first to speak to the King that evening, John also chatted to the Earl of Wessex, the Duke of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent.

John said: "It was incredible, a really amazing, fascinating night. It was a huge honour."

To sign John's petition to add bereavement awareness to the national curriculum, go to petition.parliament.uk/petitions/624185/.

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