Working with Families Proves Rewarding

Aug 3, 2021

For grieving families arranging the technical side of a funeral service, Adrienne Ramskill and Dave Wood are the friendly and reassuring face of Purewa.


Adrienne and Dave are the Chapel Attendants who work closely with families, funeral directors, ministers and celebrants to ensure all the elements of the service come together perfectly and as the family intended.

Their responsibilities involve overseeing power point presentations families may have compiled including music and photographic slide shows, liaising with family and those leading the funeral service, taking care of the grounds around the chapels, and crematorium duties.


Both agree one of the most rewarding aspects of the role is being able to help families at one of the saddest and most difficult times in their lives.


Dave says,” I get a lot of gratification out of helping people, I really enjoy this role and take pride in what we offer families at Purewa.”


Adrienne says,” I like working with the families and because we both have life experience we are able to identify with each family’s grief and relieve them of the worry of looking after the technical side of the service.”


Both agree the personal contact and interaction with families aensuring their wishes are met, is a particularly important part of their work. Each funeral service is unique and personalised to each family’s requests. Dave and Adrienne say it’s often the little things they can do for families that mean the most.


In terms of life experience, Dave and Adrienne have plenty to bring to their work at Purewa. Dave and his family came to New Zealand from England in 2010, having previously seen active service with the British Royal Marines and was later a professional firefighter.


His first four years in New Zealand saw him work as a Volunteer Support Officer covering 21 volunteer-manned fire stations on the West Coast from Greymouth to Franz Joseph. Seven years ago, by chance he saw an advertisement for staff at Purewa, applied and the rest is history as they say.


Adrienne brings a wealth of knowledge from her film production background, working as a sound technician, editing and as the floor manager at TV3 for 10 years. Many of these skills relate easily to her role at Purewa on the technical side.


Having just returned from a visit to Australia and seeing how technology is used in funerals there, Adrienne says Purewa is well advanced in this critical area. “What I saw in Australia was much more structured and rigid, whereas at Purewa, we are able to offer a much more flexible and personal service to families allowing them to get exactly what they want in the way they want it,” she says.


General Manager, Alastair Crombie, says “I know both Dave and Adrienne take enormous pride in what they do for the families that come to Purewa when they have suffered a bereavement. They take great care in dealing with people and their attention to detail in all areas of the job is always spot on.”

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