Andy Holter

Funeral Director, and Health, Safety & Wellbeing Lead, Haine and Son, Battle

My Story

Hi I am Andy. My career began within the funeral profession as a chauffeur bearer working for Dignity PLC in Seaford & Newhaven Funeral Service in the March of 2007. It was shortly after this that my interests grew in the role as a Funeral Director, and in the October of that year, a Trainee Funeral Director position was advertised for Haine & Son in Eastbourne (Part of CPJ Field). With a successful interview my training started in the January of 2008, and I have not looked back since.

It all started when I was fifteen years old and trying to decide on a career, my father said to me, “What about being a carpenter?”. I responded with “Why a carpenter?”. My father replied, “Because you could make coffins and they are always going to be required!” I remember being mortified at his suggestion, replying, “No way”. But now look at me! The journey to where I am now was one of destiny. Having been employed with Sussex Police for several years, in December 2007, I got married. My wife was a senior sister in A&E, and we did not see a lot of each other due to shifts. For this reason, I decided the time for change was needed. My friend was a Funeral Director with Dignity and offered me the opportunity to test the water within the funeral profession… the rest is history as they say.

Having been a Special Constable for ten years, my belief at the time was that I thought I had seen, and dealt with most deaths, natural, sudden, and even traumatic. To a degree this was true. However, what I had not considered was the connection that we, as Funeral Directors, have with the families of those loved ones in our care. That connection is very emotional and at times very tough. Learning a life story, learning the strengths and depths of their relationships, and recognising the journey that the family was experiencing through loss, pain, anger, and despair certainly brings managing funerals, emotions and people into a completely different mindset. I realised that is not just being a Funeral Director who arranges a funeral, it is so much more. It is being counsellor; it is being understanding, compassionate, and most of all, it is being a genuine human being that relates to a person who is grieving, by holding out your hand of support and saying I am here to support you in the days and weeks ahead. That is what surprised me…… I could be that difference in that time of need.

My role is unique within CPJ Field. I am very fortunate and proud to be entrusted on Mondays and Fridays with the management of our Haine & Son funeral home in Battle, as their designated Funeral Director, whilst on Tuesdays and Thursdays my responsibilities include delivering Health, Safety & Well-being related training to colleagues across the business. On Wednesdays, I am responsible for managing the Health & Safety for CPJ Field.

Andy Holter Wellbeing

Caring for the living and the dead is, for us, at CPJ field, the fundamental basis of our foundations in ensuring we provide a service that puts the loved one and the family and friends at the centre of everything we do. Neither the living or the dead are treated differently as they are all individual, and always respected and treated with the upmost dignity. The one big challenge that I find in my daily role is the constant requirement to meet expectations and to deliver on that trust every time. We only get one opportunity to get all the funeral arrangements right.

I often think and ponder over what I have learnt about grief, and for me the immediate answer is that everyone’s grief is unique and individual to them. We all experience different feelings, behaviours and emotions resulting in various responses at different times, as a Funeral Director we were taught about the stages of grief. It is widely accepted that this is now not so much a linear process, but one that changes regularly between anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, and denial. As such, the ability to listen, care, empathise and show understanding at any of these moments, allows for a deeper reverence of the person in grief.

CPJ Field, is without a doubt, an inspiring family business with great morals that are highly ethical, honest, caring, and supportive. CPJ Field values its colleagues enormously. This, therefore explains the importance placed on the well-being of their colleagues in and out of work to ensure they are always looked after, through great leadership and companionship. For my part, to have been entrusted with the role of Wellbeing Lead and to represent the CPJ field family in this way, is an honour and privilege. The pandemic changed the way we work, and we increased our online library of resources to include inspirational wellbeing videos, First Aid for Mental Health, and other mindfulness resources. I continue to provide wellbeing training, develop support programs, and offer care, support and understanding to our colleagues, friends and extended CPJ Field family in the workplace. It is not only very important but vital to the health, well-being, and successful future of everyone at CPJ Field, especially to feel valued and supported in a time of need.