On what would’ve normally been election day, we share the story of Helen – …

On what would've normally been election day, we share the story of Helen – who today is massively helping out at Worthing Crematorium opposed to being in the thick of it at Worthing's Assembly Hall!

Read all about our Election Officer's switch below, as our Crematorium reporter Matt returns with another blog on our team of Council volunteers…

Last week I mentioned that people from around your Council are volunteering at The Crem, lending their skills and experience, bringing fresh perspectives and outlooks.

This time I caught up with Helen Blakeborough who usually works in our Elections Team. With the expected May local, Parish and Police and Crime Commissioner elections cancelled due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), Helen wanted to use her time well by helping others. Like all of the volunteers working extra, often unsociable hours behind the scenes, she wanted to give something back to her community, as she really does understand the pressure of getting things 'right first time'.

Prior to working for Adur & Worthing Councils, Helen worked for Imperial War Museums and aboard HMS Belfast on the River Thames, making sure things were ship-shape. She has two museum related Masters Degrees and knows a thing or two about accuracy and events.

“Working on an election to ensure it runs perfectly, especially a snap election, is like putting on a show where there are no dress rehearsals, with no opportunity to mask mistakes, made extra tricky as the general public are watching. The Elections Team are a tight-knit group of officers where everything must be checked and checked again for compliance and accuracy, which is why I thought I would be useful to The Crem during this time”.

Helen went on to say how much of her work is about knowing the legislation inside out (which she enjoys immensely!) and making sure all work is carried out, by the book.

Many procedures at the Crematorium are subject to legal scrutiny. For example, all cremations must be accompanied by double signatures throughout the journey and all accompanying paperwork must be signed and checked by the correct authority, which means that there is no room for error.

“The Crem team take great pride in their work and always put the wishes of the bereaved in the forefront of everything they do.”

Helen said that the team there have made her feel very welcome and have appreciated her help. I asked Helen if she knew what she was expecting before her volunteering started:

“I didn't know really, many people I've spoken to asked me why I wanted to volunteer here. On my first day, I was given the tour and shown the whole process end-to-end. So far, I've found the whole experience reassuring, almost uplifting in a strange way and would be happy to share my thoughts and memories here as a positive experience, with other people”.

Many thanks Helen and keep up the good work.

Until the next time. Stay safe and all the best.

Photo: Helen Blakeborough, who usually works in our Elections Team, at the Crematorium