FUTURE funeral director Jason Worsnip knew his career calling from the age of 13.
His teachers at Royton and Crompton School weren’t convinced and were even less impressed.
Now more than three decades later, including 10 year’s service with Royal undertakers Levertons and Sons of London, Jason has opened his own independent funeral directors in Shaw.
“My mum passed away at 40 and when we buried her I just thought this was the occupation for me,” he told the Correspondent.
“My dad was very concerned at the time but I said the only way to find out is to get into it.
“I remember my career teacher asking me ‘what would you like to do when you leave school?’ My reply was ‘I’d like to go into undertaking!’
“She looked at me as though I had two heads and walked off. I will never forget it.
“It was like ‘why would you want to do that’. But perhaps the subject was more taboo then. People never really spoke about funerals.
“But I have been doing it 31 years now and is the only thing I have ever known.”
Undeterred by his lack of career guidance, Jason, 49, fulfilled his ambition, working locally before heading to the capital for an interview at historic Levertons, founded in 1789.
“I had friends and family in London and knew my job could take me down there,” he explained.
“I went for an interview and spent three hours having questions fired at me.
“Eventually they said I’d impressed, we have nothing for you but we are going to find you something.
“I became a branch manager and lived above the funeral parlour in Golders Green in North London.”
During his time with Levertons, the firm carried out the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997.
“I can see why the Royal Family chose them,” explained Jason. “Because they had the Royal contract, so many celebrities came to them.
“They were great to work for. They treated me like a family member.”
Eventually though opportunity arose to return to the North West.
“So many people asked me ‘why did you come back?” said Jason. “But to me London has a shelf life, especially when you are doing this job.”
He returned to work for Robert Nuttall – then an independent business – who added a business in Rochdale to their Shaw premises.
Robert’s own death several years ago prompted Jason to start his own business.
“It was a massive step to take,” he admitted. “There were a lot of sleepless nights and it cost a lot of money.
“But I am very passionate about Shaw and Shaw people. When Robert passed, the company became corporate and I felt like I had lost my identity.
“When you serve your community it is such a sensitive job. And when you feel you can’t be yourself anymore, it just didn’t work.
“I wanted to make sure I can give people the traditions and values they have been used to.”
Jason’s older brother, Nigel, joined him in the venture. His nephew is considering joining the business while his uncle Clive covers the office in the siblings’ absence.
“I still have that passion for the job,” confirmed Jason. “It’s a passion that has never left me.
“I love doing what I do for a living. I love looking after people and making sure everyone feels special.”