New SAIF president vows to combat ‘click and collect’ operators impacting mental health

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SAIF President Mark Horton

Mark Horton, of Hull-based Hortons Funeral Directors, has been elected President of SAIF, the UK’s largest trade association dedicated to protecting the interests of independent funeral directors and their customers.

Mark, who launched his company in 2009, has developed a reputation in the East Riding of Yorkshire for running a friendly, family-run and community-centred funeral directors, which brings local families together each year for a popular annual remembrance service.

Replacing outgoing SAIF President Jo Parker, Mark was elected last month at SAIF’s AGM weekend in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent and will serve until March 2024.

The event also saw the election of Scottish member Declan Maguire as SAIF First Vice President and West Midlands funeral director Ross Hickton as SAIF Second Vice President.

During the coming year, Mark has pledged to focus on communicating the invaluable work of independent funeral directors to ensure they continue to be appreciated locally and nationally at a time of great change.

He said: “Independent funeral directors have been at the forefront of innovation and transformation across the profession in recent decades and I’ve no doubt that this trend will continue for many years to come.

“However, our sector is threatened by profit-hungry players who want to dupe the public into thinking that bereavement can be reduced to an online click and collect-type service.

“If this trend continues unabated it will have a terrible impact on mental health, and it’s our job as independent funeral directors to educate communities and governments about the importance of gathering and remembering when a loved one dies.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with the SAIF leadership team on this issue and have no doubt that we can secure a bright future for independent funeral directors and the families we serve.”

SAIF CEO Terry Tennens welcomed Mark to the role of SAIF President.

“Mark has been a committed member of the SAIF Executive Committee for many years and has served independent funeral directors in Yorkshire with an unswerving passion.

“He’s played a leading role in challenging local authorities who have tried to undermine local funeral businesses with cut-price, poor standard services, and I’ve no doubt his formidable approach will benefit SAIF and our wider membership.”

During Mark’s Presidential year, his chosen charity will be The Honeypot Children’s Charity.

Hortons Funeral Directors team is headed up by Mark and wife Becky and operates two branches covering Hull, Beverley, North Cave, Gilberdyke and the surrounding areas.