Dagenham funeral director awarded MBE in New Year's honours list
PUBLISHED: 22:30 30 December 2013 | UPDATED: 09:15 31 December 2013
A Dagenham funeral director has received an MBE in the New Year Honours list for his professional and community work.
Jeremy West, 57, manages West & Coe Funeral Directors – the town’s oldest business – where he has worked since leaving school.
The family-run enterprise, which employs Mr West’s son Jamie as the fourth generation, celebrates its 110th anniversary this year and is now one of the UK’s largest independent funeral directors.
In 1989 he founded the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, which now boasts more than 600 members, and is delighted to have his achievements formally recognised
“I’m extremely proud and very honoured,” he said. “It was a massive shock when I found out. I had to re-read the letter twice, I just didn’t believe it.
“Of course the work I do would not exist without my father and grandfather, so I’m accepting it humbly on behalf of the whole family.”
Mr West will receive his award for services to the funeral profession industry, as well as to the community of Barking and Dagenham.
In addition to sponsoring Dagenham and Redbridge Football club, Mr West is a founder of Living the Dream Trust, an independent charity established in 2007 to help support the borough’s young talented athletes.
He is also a patron of local special-needs charity First Step and the chairman of Hornchurch Cricket Club, and insists community work is very close to his heart.
“My family always taught me the importance of giving back to the community, and we’ve made sure to give 10 per cent of profits to local projects,” he said.
“I’ve always been very proud to work in Barking and Dagenham and be involved in local initiatives so it’s extremely humbling to receive something like this.”