Meet... Marcus Funnell
Here at Tester & Jones Funeral Services, we are proud of our dedicated team of bearers, who we are able to call upon to support families on the day of a funeral. Among them is Marcus Funnell, who has worked with us since 2016.
When he was 21, Marcus was a retained firefighter, while also working at Fieldbuss Newsagent, just down the road from our office. Most of our team got to know him when they popped in and, one day, Glen, from our team was chatting to Marcus about what being a bearer involved.
“I told him that it must be a difficult job but he said he thought I’d suit it well,” Marcus explains. “I didn’t think much more about it until no more than 10 minutes later, Stephen appeared at the door, saying he’d heard I was interested in becoming a bearer! Before I knew it, I was being measured for a suit and thought, well I’ll give it a try, I don’t need to carry on if I don’t get on with it. But, seven years later, here I am.”
When he first started out, Marcus carried on with his job at the newsagent and as a retained firefighter, in addition to spending a day a week working alongside Glen. Today, he is a full-time firefighter, based in London, and continues to work as a bearer with Tester & Jones, when his shifts allow.
“I wasn’t fazed by the role, although I noticed that there weren’t many men my age working as bearers, although that seems to be changing generally,” Marcus explains. “Initially, most of the men I worked with were retired. But, they took me under their wings and had so much experience to share with me.”
He continues: “I’ve always felt strongly that this is a job I am capable of doing – I am fit and have the time - so I should do it. It’s not the hardest job in the world, but I appreciate it’s one which not everybody wants to do.”
In addition to bearing on the day of the funeral, Marcus will also help to collect the deceased.
“If we are called upon to collect somebody from their family home, then that’s a really intimate time and you have to be understanding about how families are feeling,” he says.
Being brought up in Crowborough, Marcus says that he does fairly regularly find himself bearing at the funeral of somebody he knows; sometimes a friend’s grandparent.
“You just have to remember that it’s not your moment, you are there at a moment in their lives and you need to respect that and keep it together,” he says.
When Marcus started out, he was the only firefighter working as a bearer at Tester & Jones, but now he’s been joined by four other colleagues.
“Although you could argue that I am biased, I would absolutely say that Tester & Jones is the best funeral business in our local area,” says Marcus. “That’s not just me saying it though, I hear it from others too and, as team, we are often complimented on how professional we are. Tester & Jones as a firm is extremely close-knit. It’s a single office and independent and the service feels more intimate than that you might receive from a larger chain. Every single funeral is important and receives the same level of attention and dedication.”
When he’s not at work, Marcus is enjoying life as a new dad and, when he’s not battling with DIY projects at home, he loves a day out at a theme park.