Making a difference: Community’s the key for Anthony

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Community-minded funeral director Anthony Barton from Greater Manchester has found that small acts of kindness really do make an impact

When Anthony opened his own business in Mossley last November, he started as he meant to go on by taking the opportunity to raise funds for charity.

“I approached Pete Ash, known for his role as Paul in Coronation Street, to kindly officially open the business,” he says.

“Given that his character in the soap opera battles MND, I aimed to fundraise for the charity.

“The event was attended by friends, family and local residents, and we successfully sold raffle tickets for various prizes.”

Since then Anthony has arranged many other events such as installing a white ‘letters to heaven’ postbox outside his premises, a winter coat donation appeal and ‘cuppa ‘n’ cake’ afternoons.

He says he wants to ensure “that nobody feels excluded from entering a funeral home, as some individuals mistakenly believe that talking about their funeral arrangements will make something happen faster”.

Over Easter this year Anthony organised a town-wide, week-long Easter egg hunt, hiding 70 plastic eggs with a note inside each night.

“Upon finding the eggs, children and some adults could exchange them for a chocolate egg,” he explains.

“Additionally, three golden eggs were hidden which could be swapped for an even bigger surprise.

“Seeing a mother and her daughter come in and express gratitude for the Easter egg I gave them was touching. The mother explained that she couldn’t afford to buy her daughter an egg this year, so the one I provided was the only one she would have.

Bringing a smile to just one child’s face truly made my day

“The idea of children waking up on Easter Sunday without an egg was heartbreaking. Bringing a smile to just one child’s face truly made my day.”

His imaginative initiatives have also caught the eye of other funeral professionals and now they have been motivated to replicate them, he adds.

“I strongly recommend that funeral directors participate in community events.

“It is not solely about financial gain, but also about supporting the local community. For instance, sponsoring a local football team can greatly benefit the community.

“Even simple acts like organising a litter pick in the area can make a significant impact.”