A Carlisle man has been named ‘Employee of the Year’ at a prestigious awards ceremony this week.

Peter Watson, who works for Jill Glencross Independent Funeral Directors Ltd, was named the recipient of the Independent Funeral Director Business: North Region award and received his trophy at the Dalston Chapel of Rest this week.

Peter Watson said: “I am absolutely thrilled to win the Employee of the Year award for the North Region. I didn’t even know I’d been nominated so was completely shocked. It has been a very challenging year for everyone, so it feels great to be recognised as I strive to provide a faultless dignified and caring service to families at their most difficult time.”

Independently judged by John Denholm, Executive Chairman at Denholm Associates, who said: “Peter went the extra mile throughout the pandemic, took over when his boss got Covid herself and looked after the finer details of customer service aspects, while finding the time to launch a new memorial service.”

Leading UK funeral pre-paid plan provider Golden Charter hosted the annual awards online, to recognise the outstanding work of independent funeral directors across the UK.

Suzanne Grahame, CEO at Golden Charter, said: “The past year has seen independent funeral directors across the UK face incredible challenges with resilience and dedication. We’re delighted to recognise Peter Watson with the Employee of the Year award for the North region. Planning ahead provides peace of mind to families for a difficult time and we are proud to partner with exemplary independent funeral directors across the UK so we can help make that difficult time a little bit easier.

“Funeral directors face continued challenges, from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic that still lie ahead, which makes it all the more important highlight the key workers who truly go above and beyond.”

Funeral directors were recognised in six categories: Community Engagement, Customer Service, Digital Innovation, Environmental Responsibility, Family Business and Employee of the Year.

The awards were decided by a guest judging panel, including a host of experts across sectors including charity, recruitment and the third sector.