Jackie Buckingham

Funeral Director, Bournemouth and Community Champion for Deric Scott

My Story

Hi I am Jackie. I was born at home in Poole to Charles and Alean Robinson – my father had been a Lancaster pilot during the war and my mother had always worked as a secretary - we moved to Bournemouth when I was 18 months’ old and I have never moved away. I had a happy childhood with a traditional education at a local primary school followed by the local grammar school although I was never very academic, before undertaking secretarial training at Bournemouth College of Technology. My hobbies and interests are my cats, knitting, photography, reading, dancing, classic cars and travel, many of which I share with my husband of 41-years.

Jackie Buckingham Knitting

I have been a funeral director for five years although I have been with CPJ Field for 26-years, initially as a receptionist/administrator for the first 21-years. In previous roles I had worked as a secretary working for a range of companies including Local Government. There has definitely been a rise in the number of women involved in the funeral industry from funeral directors to chauffeur/bearers to embalmers, in fact 52% of the funeral colleagues at C.P.J Field are female. When I started in the industry in the early 1990s, the funeral profession was totally male-dominated and it was hard to persuade people that a woman could do a man's job as well as, or even better than, they could, however, some families find it easier to relate to a woman than to a man.

In 2015, I was offered a permanent position as a trainee Funeral Director after six months, on my birthday. I am now fully qualified with both my DipFAA (Diploma in Funeral Arranging and Administration) and my DipFD (Diploma in Funeral Directing).

Working at CPJ Field, no two days are the same. We have a staff meeting at 8:30am each morning, before I begin funeral arrangements in place for current services, meeting with families either in person or virtually to arrange funerals, visiting the wider local community i.e. food banks, churches etc. in connection with my role as a C.P.J Field Community Champion. I may have several funerals to conduct in a day as well as attending ashes’ interments. Some days are spent totally outdoors at Churches, crematoria and cemeteries where I can leave the office at 9:00am and not return until 4.30 pm. Others are spent working on administration; completing burial and cremation paperwork and monumental masonry documentation, where I can be at the office from 8:30am until gone 5:00pm.

My key responsibilities are first and foremost to look after the deceased people in my care, their families and also my colleagues. Sometimes people forget that we are also human beings with normal feelings and emotions. I am responsible for ensuring that all the arrangements are in place and that the funeral goes smoothly on the day so as to provide the best service possible for my families. I also act as a mentor for new trainee funeral directors.

Jackie Buckingham Speech

Some funerals, especially those of close family and friends, or of a baby or child, take more of an emotional toll on me but I try to leave my work at work, at least publicly, although I always think about my funerals and families 24/7. Working as a funeral director during Covid 19 was a truly awful time. It was tough. But I am lucky to have an understanding and supportive husband who is very patient with me when I 'pop into work' at weekends and during holidays just to check on something!

I never stop being surprised that families thank me for what I have done for them - for, in effect, taking away their loved one, but helping them to celebrate a life well lived and to create a memory of the service which will help with their grieving.