John Gordon admits he was “that weird kid at school who wanted to be a funeral director”.
Now the 36-year-old has been named Scotland’s best undertaker.
John, who works for Gaulds Funeral Directors in Crieff, said he is still coming to terms with the award picked up at the Scottish Funeral Awards.
Gaulds undertaker ‘lives and breathes’ job
The former joiner and carpenter began his “dream job” in 2019.
Knowing it was a difficult industry to enter, he didn’t hesitate in moving from Glasgow to Perthshire.
He was thrown in right at the deep end when Covid-19 hit less than a year after he started.
John said: “It was one of the most mentally straining roles at the time. Even funeral directors who had been in the job for years had told me how difficult they found it.
“I had to isolate from my wife during the period due to the risks and that was tough.
“I think going through all of that proves how much the role means to me.
“It’s everything, I live and breathe my job.”
Why John Gordon is Scotland’s best undertaker
John said the secret to being a good funeral director is making families feel “comfortable, safe and well-looked after”.
He said: “I would like to think I won because I’m good at what I do.
“People find me very personable and I make sure I’m always available.
“A lot of funeral directors will have less involvement than I do. My phone is never off for families.
“If they ever have a question I always let them know they can come to me.”
John’s personal touch has helped in all aspects of his role as he makes sure everything happens the way it should.
He added: “Small places like the towns and villages we’re involved with are built on trust and that’s a key aspect of what I do.
“The process starts right when I first pick up the phone after someone’s loved one has passed away.
“From there, you visit the location where they passed away and get to know the family.
“You have to understand everything they need, what kind of service, what coffin etc.
“You bring them into our care, take it all back to the office and make it happen.
“I can’t count how many families I’m still in touch with. I’ve been through that time with them and they never ever forget that.
“We’re still a small company, so sometimes you may even find me cleaning the office or funeral home.”
Undertaker rewarded for hard work
Work hasn’t slowed down for John since earning his diploma as a funeral director in 2021.
One year later, he was rewarded by being named branch manager for the firm’s branches in Aberfeldy and Pitlochry.
He said: “It’s been an amazing couple of years and now to be named Scotland’s best undertaker shows the hard work is paying off.
“I’m so grateful for how big an opportunity I’ve been given through Gaulds.
“Those who have used our service have put in testimonies and that’s how the business was nominated and won.
“It makes me feel so grateful and it’s good to see us making a difference to people’s lives.”
John said he is looking forward to what the future holds and will continue to deliver his quality.
The business will celebrate its 40th birthday next year and is now run by John Gauld, the son of the founder.
Gaulds was also named Scotland’s best funeral director in the north.