New SAIF President pledges independents’ voice will be heard ‘loud and clear’

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SAIF Conference York Sunday 24th March 2024 Pictures Steve Phillips

Declan Maguire, Director of Glasgow-based Anderson Maguire Funeral Directors, has been elected President of SAIF (the Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors.

Declan, whose family business has supported bereaved people across Glasgow since 1982, has developed an unrivalled reputation for bringing innovation to the funeral sector. In 2022, he launched the industry-leading SAIF Digital initiative to help the Society’s members make the most of modern online marketing tools.

Replacing outgoing SAIF President Mark Horton, Declan was elected at SAIF’s recent AGM weekend in York and will serve for one year. West Midlands funeral director Ross Hickton was elected SAIF First Vice President at the event, which attracted hundreds of funeral directors from across the UK, while Gary Staker, from North East England, became Second Vice President.

Declan’s election comes as the UK funeral profession responds to alleged failings in care of the deceased at a funeral home in Hull. The 44-year-old has pledged to play a pivotal role in advocating for a new model of industry-government co-regulation, which will require all funeral businesses to adhere to a code of practice and receive inspections of processes and premises.

He said: “It is an incredible honour to be elected SAIF President at a time of such immense change for funeral directors. During the next year, I will dedicate myself to ensuring the voices of all independent funeral directors with SAIF accreditation are heard loud and clear by those tasked with developing regulation.”

Declan added: “It’s vital that bereaved families continue to have a choice of independently run local firms that provide the highest standards of care and professionalism. These businesses and the people who run them are pillars of their communities and we’re here to help them thrive for many years to come.”

SAIF CEO Terry Tennens welcomed Declan to the role of SAIF President, while paying tribute to Mark Horton.

“Declan is very much the future of the UK funeral profession, with his incredible digital marketing skills and industry knowledge. I know he’ll be a fantastic President and we couldn’t have asked for a better representative of independent funeral directors at this time. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

“I look forward to working with Declan.

“I would also like to thank Immediate Past President Mark Horton for his tireless service during the past year and in particular during recent weeks, which have been very challenging for everyone who cares about funerals. Mark has well and truly risen to the occasion to represent independents, playing a vital role in reassuring the public in Hull and beyond that the UK’s funeral directors work to extremely high standards.”