PAUL HILTON has swapped his baker's whites for the black three-piece suit of a Co-op funeral director after a TV job swap which changed his life.
Paul (45) from Whitefield, was looking for a fresh challenge after 31 years as a baker when he saw an advert for recruits to BBC2's Apply Immediately programme. The ad appealed for people who felt they were in a rut and looking for a career change.
The recent death of his father proved to be the catalyst for Paul's decision to join the funeral business. Until he stepped into Chorlton's United Co-op Funeral Home in Manchester Road, the only dead body he'd ever seen was his own father.
With the help of mentors Paul Webb, United Co-op Funeral's regional manager, and Neil MacDonald, funeral director, Paul learned all about the work of a funeral director as part of the six-month project.
Paul was so impressive he has been kept on as a trainee funeral director and has already conducted his first funeral.
He said: "I didn't realise how diverse the job is. This is the best thing I have ever done. I only wish I'd done it earlier because it is such a satisfying job. It's the greatest honour someone can give you when they ask you to care for someone they loved."
Paul Webb said: "After our first meeting it was obvious Paul had a natural aptitude for the job, with his outgoing and caring approach.
`We certainly got more than we bargained for with the tv programme because Paul is now one of our latest recruits which shows its never too late to change career and find a new vocation."