Colleagues, former colleagues and friends at both Midcounties and Central England Co-operatives are mourning the death of Brian Hill, who recently passed away in Burton Hospital with pneumonia after being tested positive for Covid aged just 47.
Brian had previously worked at Central England Society but passed away in service with Midcounties where he had worked as the head of operational projects for their Funeral Group since September 2016.
Mark Adams, chief operating officer (funeral) at Midcounties, said: “The contribution that Brian made to the co-operative movement, the funeral sector in general and Midcounties Co-operative Funeralcare, in particular, cannot be underestimated. His warm personality, deep technical knowledge and meticulous attention to detail were incredibly valued, and his work and contribution leave a lasting legacy.
“His involvement and input with our senior leadership team were so valued and his loss has been deeply felt by our colleagues. We are very lucky to have had Brian working with us during a period of significant change for the sector, and privileged to have known him as a friend and colleague.”
Elaine Dean, vice president of Central England Society and a personal friend of Brian and his wife Kerry, said:
“Brian commenced work with us as Midlands Society in October 1995 as a trainee funeral director because his mother Ann was a funeral administrator at Wellings in Burton and introduced him to the business. He progressed to be regional manager north in 2008, regional manager in 2013 and left us as area manager in May 2015, a service of just over 19 and a half years.
“One of his most momentous occasions was when he was tasked in June 2012 with the organisation of the funerals of the six Derby children who tragically died in a house fire. It was a very difficult and emotionally fraught occasion which required great tact and diplomacy when local feelings were running high and the event was being recorded for TV coverage. Brian worked so hard to ensure that everything progressed smoothly and with dignity.
“Brian was an incredibly popular colleague when he was with us and we all shared his happiness in 2009 when he married Kerry who is also one of our funeral directors. He was possessed of a brilliant sense of humour which is often necessary for that field of work and he was great company. Outside of work he enjoyed English rugby, playing golf, heavy metal music and socialising with friends.
“Everyone at Central England is devastated at his passing which has come as such a shock “