Honour for embalmer

Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times
William Barrett and Sons funeral director Errol Barrett has been named as a fellow of the Australian Institute of Embalmers.
Camera IconWilliam Barrett and Sons funeral director Errol Barrett has been named as a fellow of the Australian Institute of Embalmers. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

William Barrett and Sons funeral director Errol Barrett has been named as a fellow of the Australian Institute of Embalmers for his pioneering role in the industry.

Mr Barrett, who was awarded the honour at the institute’s annual conference in Brisbane last week, said he was humbled.

“When you start out doing these things you don’t think about what is going to happen down the track — you don’t go for any accolades or anything like that,” he said.

“It is recognition of the work that I have done over the years.

“I qualified in 1968 so it is 50 years now that I have been a qualified embalmer.” Mr Barrett said he believed embalming was an art.

“It’s not an easy job and it can be both physically and emotionally draining at times, but it is so important,” he said.

“First and foremost, it’s about giving someone a dignified farewell and ensuring that a family’s last memories are as good as they can possibly be.

“In tragic cases, that may not always be possible, but we always do our best because we know how important that final viewing is.”

Mr Barrett said little had changed in the practice of embalming since he qualified.

“The skills were brought out by the English when they came to Australia all those years ago,” he said.

“Now we are passing those same skills to the next generation and there it might change a little bit.”

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