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Funeral director Helen marks 25 years of caring at Gillotts

Funeral director Helen marks 25 years of caring at Gillotts

A funeral director who was one of only a handful of women to work in the industry when she took a job as a receptionist is celebrating 25 years of service working for the same company.


Helen Ellis has notched up a quarter of a century on behalf of Gillotts Funeral Directors in Abbott Street, Heanor, after originally joining the firm in a part-time capacity in March 1996.

The mum of three, who qualified to become a funeral director in 2000, first decided she wanted to work in the industry when she was 16, despite her careers teacher advising her that other caring roles, such as that of nursery nurse, were more suitable.

She persisted, completing two weeks of work experience at a funeral firm in Nottingham and later a two-year YTA placement at another company.

But it would be eight years later that she saw a job advert looking for a receptionist at Gillotts, by which time she was already bringing up two children and working in care homes.

Gillotts gave her the role at a time when very few women worked in the funeral industry and, Helen has been making up for lost time ever since, having ensured the smooth running of hundreds of funerals ever since.

She said:

“It took me such a long time to get a job in the industry so I was very grateful to Gillotts for taking me on and, 25 years later, I consider myself very lucky to work with such a great team.

“I realised at an early age that this is essentially a caring industry and I decided I wanted to help families who were struggling to deal with bereavement as well as look after their loved ones.

“I couldn’t imagine working at another company or in another town. I come from Heanor and I’ve conducted funerals for so many of its families down the years, and although they are sad occasions, it’s a privilege to work with them and ensure that their relatives have had the send-offs that they deserve.”

Anthony Topley, a partner in Gillotts Funeral Directors, said:

“It is rare nowadays to find people who have devoted so much of their lives to one company, so we all know how lucky we are to have benefitted from Helen’s hard work and professionalism for the past 25 years.

“It’s incredible to think back now to how she was one of just a few women working in the industry when she started, and ever since she has helped to ensure that caring for the families and their loved ones, while carrying out their wishes, is at the heart of everything we do.”

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