Manager swoops on funeral branches in motorcycle sidecar packed with chocolates

It was one of the strangest sights Tamworth Co-op funeral staff had ever seen when their manager swooped unexpectedly on them in a motorcycle sidecar.

Glen and Paul with some of the funeral staff they surprised in Tamworth.

Glen Speak arrived at the Society’s funeral homes in Tamworth, Coseley, Heath Hayes, Great Wyrley, Pelsall, Uttoxeter and Woodville armed with boxfuls of chocolate and a big smile.

Paul and Glen on the chocolate run.

Sporting goggles and a helmet, one funeral director said he looked ‘disturbingly like Olive from the seventies sitcom On the Buses.’

The surprise visit to the branches was the result of a promise made to Glen by Paul Sinclair, owner of Motorcycle Funerals, Britain’s first motorcycle hearse business.

In a casual conversation, Glen told Paul the Tamworth Co-op had been shortlisted for a national Good Funeral Award. Paul responded by saying that if the firm won, he would take Glen around all the branches in his motorcycle to deliver chocolates to the staff.

A few days later TV celebrity Penny Smith presented the Society’s funeral division with the top honour for ‘The Most Significant Contribution to the Understanding of Death’ at the Good Funeral Awards held in London.

Glen, who is deputy manager of the Tamworth Co-op funeral division, wasted little time in reminding Paul about his pledge.

Glen ready to hand out gifts to the funeral staff.

Paul, a previous winner himself in the ‘Best alternative to a hearse’ category, said: “It was a classic case of opening my mouth before my brain was in gear. I promised Glen that if they won, I would drive him round to every branch in the division in my sidecar like a chocolate Santa handing out treats to all the staff.”

Glen said: “I don’t think Paul had fully grasped that this meant taking part in ‘the great chocolate run’ covering eight separate locations and 125 miles.

“It was obviously a light-hearted day, but it does have a serious side. By the very nature of the work our staff need to be genuinely caring and dedicated people. They do such a lot to support bereaved families in the community. The support and attention they offer to people before, during and long after a funeral has taken place played a big part in us winning this award.

“We wanted to acknowledge the part they have played and the incredible job they do for people experiencing a most distressing time in their lives.”

Paul, whose motorcycle hearses have been featured in the national press and on TV programmes such as Emmerdale, added: “I’ve seen enough chocolate to last a lifetime, but I’ve met a lot of the staff on various funerals. They truly deserved this surprise.”

Glen Speak-

Glen Speak M.B.I.E. General Manager of Tamworth Co-operative Funeral Service

Tamworth Co-operative Funeral Service is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors which was established in 1905. All members abide by the NAFD Funeral Promise.

“By choosing us, you can be assured that the funeral is a fitting farewell to your loved one at a price you are comfortable with, that we will treat you and your loved one with respect at all times, and act with integrity. We will seek to fulfil any special wishes and requests.”

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