Staff

Directors

James Penney

James Penney

Chairman

James Penney's early career was in academia, including undergraduate and postgraduate research at Trinity College, Cambridge, followed by six years as Principal Lecturer at Westminster College, Oxford. After Oxford, James was a Sloan Fellow at London Business School from which he has an MSc in Management Studies.

Until 2013, he was the owner and Managing Director of Darwin Consulting, a strategy consulting firm he cofounded in 1998. Darwin provided strategic advice to directors and investors in a range of industries, including financial services, private equity and media. From 2007 to 2014, James was also Vice-Chairman of MAXBANK, a retail bank specialising in micro-credit and SME finance in the Philippines.

Since 2016 James has been a Board member of Loudspring Oy, a Finnish company listed on the Helsinki and Stockholm stock exchanges. Loudspring is an investment group focusing on Nordic growth companies that save natural resources.

In 2007 James and Anthony Esse established the Darwin Leisure Property Fund. James is Chairman of Darwin Alternatives which is the investment advisor to the Darwin Leisure Property Fund as well as the Darwin Leisure Development Fund and Darwin Bereavement Services Fund.

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Howard Hodgson

Howard Hodgson MBIFD (Dip) Ass. RSH

Chief Executive Officer

A fourth generation funeral director, Howard trained with James Summers of Cardiff in 1968. He took over the family business in 1975 and launched an expansion programme that culminated in the flotation of Hodgson Holdings plc in 1986. Through subsequent mergers the company formed the largest funeral/crematorium group in the UK. Howard sold his interests in 1991, having taken the company from one branch to 546 and became ‘Entrepreneur of the Year 1987' in the process. He is largely recognised as the individual who transformed the funeral industry in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s.

After a second career in the gift industry as chief executive of Ronson plc and Colibri International he returned to the funeral industry as founder and CEO of Memoria, and has developed it into the third largest and fastest growing crematoria company in the UK today. In 2016 he founded Memoria Low Cost Funeral, the direct cremation arm of Memoria and has taken that company from a standing start to the largest direct cremation company in the UK. He is the author of four books, including a detailgraphy of HM King Charles.

hhodgson@memoria.org.uk

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Jamieson Hodgson

Jamieson Hodgson

Group Deputy CEO, Head of Planning, HR & Operational Performance (Memoria Group).

Jamieson joined Memoria in early 2009. He has helped to grow the business by leading our planning team to securing 13 new planning consents for new crematoria and memorial parks in the last 11 years. This has allowed him to develop knowledge in planning law and policy. He is a demographic expert who has helped to develop GIS technology in order to better understand the way that 'need' and financial viability is measured in crematoria development.

Jamieson is Group Deputy CEO and heads up our Cremation and Burial Division. He also leads on day-to-day HR and Operational Performance. He continues to lead on CMA related matters.

jhodgson@memoria.org.uk

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Cate Gray

Cate Gray

Chief Financial Officer

Cate joined Memoria in May 2021. Having worked within the Darwin Bereavement Services Fund since its first investment in 2018, Cate has been instrumental in leading a key segment of the Fund through to a strong net profit. Cate is strategically focussed, with a commercially pragmatic mindset. Technically strong, Cate delights in ensuring robust financial control and delivering relevant management information, through the adoption of streamlined data systems. The successful results of which have been achieved through her clear ability to lead people through change and complex, multi-faceted projects.

Cate has previously worked in FMCG and manufacturing organisations and enjoys the challenge of improving the lives of the people, through business transformation across sectors.

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Paul Reed

Paul Reed

Group New Business Development Director

Paul joined Memoria in 2013. Initially playing an integral role in supporting the success of Memoria Affordable funerals, he is currently responsible for the development of our Celebration of Life Funerals and Celebration of Life Centres concepts as well as leading business development for the wider Memoria Group.

Paul was appointed to the Board of Directors of Celebration of Life Funerals Ltd and the Board of Celebration of Life Centres Ltd on 17th January 2022.

preed@memoria.org.uk

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Executives

Carl Clamp

Carl Clamp

Director of Operations Memoria Cremation & Burial Division

Carl Clamp is our Director of Operations. He was previously manager of our Amber Valley Memorial Park and Crematorium. He now oversees operational performance in terms of service standards across the Memoria Group. In particular, he is responsible for practical training for cremation, administration and general crematorium management across all staff members in the Memoria Group. He is also the CEO's assistant in all operational matters.

cclamp@memoria.org.uk

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Richard Todd

Richard Todd

Funeral Relations Director, Memoria Cremation & Burial Division

Richard has over 40 years' experience in the Funeral sector having held a number of senior operational & sales roles across market leading independent, Co-operative and private equity supported Funeral & pre-need businesses. Richard is responsible for Memoria's funeral director relations across all sites in England, Wales & Scotland

rtodd@memoria.org.uk

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Jacqui Pearson

Jacqueline Peirson

Human Resources Manager

Jacqueline Peirson is our HR Manager, she has many years' experience of dealing with HR matters from the day to day generalist function to being involved with planning for the future. Jacqui reports into Memoria's HR and Operational Performance Director and is responsible for keeping policies and procedures up to date. She is also responsible for the recruitment process at all Memoria sites.

jpeirson@memoria.org.uk

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Mark Reath

Mark Reath

Director of Standards, Training & Development, Memoria Cremation & Burial Division

Mark joined Memoria in 2018. While beginning his career with the company as National Relief Manager, he has progressed to Director of Standards, Training and Development. Within this role, Mark oversees practical training and development of both existing staff and new recruits. He also monitors site performance by assessing on-site standards and quality control. Mark has over 30 years' experience in global logistics culminating in founding and running his own business before changing career direction after selling the company to focus on the funeral sector. Prior to joining Memoria Ltd, Mark has gained experience in funeral directing and arranging as well as managing the logistics and operations for one of the midlands largest funeral providers.

mreath@memoria.org.uk

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Julie Huggins

Julie Huggins

Group Finance Manager

Julie Huggins joined Memoria in September 2019. After starting her career in Audit, Julie then moved to a variety of Industry roles in small businesses up to global brands, Julie joins Memoria as Finance Manager for Sites.

She oversees the smooth and efficient running of the Finance function for Memoria Group sites, whilst providing support to the Management team.

In February 2020 she was promoted to Group Finance Manager, with responsibility for the financial functions of the crematoria, the operations of Low Cost Funeral Limited, and of the Memoria Group.

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Kirsty Lowther

Kirsty Lowther

Operations Director, Memoria Funerals

Kirsty joined Low-Cost Funerals in August 2021 having previously worked in the funeral sector with a large corporate provider. Initially starting as a funeral arranger and then a funeral Director, more recently Kirsty's career developed attaining more senior roles specialising in managing company standards and then prior to moving to Low-Cost Funerals, as an Operations manager focusing primarily on direct cremations. As a keen advocate of client service, Kirsty will focus on the day-to-day operations of the Low Cost Funerals business. Kirsty and her husband run a registered charity called Neoangels, founded by them following their own personal experience of having premature twins. This charity aims to support families financially who find themselves in a situation where their child is being cared for on a neonatal unit.

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Davinia Hodgson

Davinia Hodgson

Operations Manager, Memoria Funerals

Prior to initially joining Memoria in 2015, Davinia started her career in the luxury retail sector holding positions in Business Development and Operations. During this period, she helped launch and develop UK brands for the US market. In 2022 Davinia was then promoted to the position of Operations Manager for Low-Cost Funerals. Her focus in this role is to oversee the efficient and smooth running of the Funeral arrangement staff and further develop and manage relationships with funeral director partners. She was promoted to the executive board in January 2024.

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Tom Greatorex

Tom Greatorex

Divisional Finance Director, Financial & Legal / Funeral Divisions

Tom Greatorex is Memoria Funerals and Affordable Funerals Finance Director and is a member of the Executive Board. Tom has a breadth of experience in sectors including financial, business and environmental services, as well as energy and automotive which he brings to the funeral sector. Tom is passionate about all matters finance, building employee engagement, enabling development and progression, innovation, and giving something back to society.

TGreatorex@low-cost-funeral.co.uk

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Gordon Bain

Gordon Bain

IT Director - Memoria Funerals / Affordable Funerals Divisions

Gordon joined Memoria in May 2022, bringing with him over two decades of IT expertise across diverse sectors, including travel, finance, funeral and estate planning. Within his role, Gordon oversees the IT systems for both Memoria Funerals and Affordable Funerals and is the Data Protection Officer for Low-Cost Funeral Limited.

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Paul Underwood

Paul Underwood

Compliance Manager - Financial Services Division

Paul has extensive knowledge and experience of regulated financial services having worked in the industry for over 30 years.

An accomplished risk and compliance professional, Paul has previously been approved by the FCA to hold many senior management and control functions. These include Compliance Oversight, Money Laundering Reporting Officer and the Chief Risk Function. Paul's understanding of FCA regulatory principles and framework allows him to ensure that our business processes are safe and that they consistently deliver good outcomes for our customers.

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Marc Winter

Marc Winter

Sales Manager - Financial Services Division

Marc joined Memoria Group late in 2023 and works closely with Compliance to deliver great customer outcomes through positive customer engagement. Marc brings experience from a varied career including Sales and Marketing, Business Development and Direct Sales.

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Senior Staff

Daryl Westwood

Daryl Westwood

Operations Support Manager

Daryl initially joined Memoria in January 2022, as a National Relief Manager. After a successful period within that role Daryl, (who has over 24-years' experience within the bereavement sector) was promoted to the role of Operations Support Manager in November 2023. Focusing on training and development, site visits and some aspects of our community engagement programme, he will provide key support to the Cremation and Burial Division.

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Michael Wright

Michael Wright

National Relief Manager

Michael has over 25 years' experience in logistics management, the highlight being an operations manager for the UK's largest health & beauty retailer. This was followed by 5 years working in education and training helping the unemployed find work and gain life skills. Since then he has gained experience in the funeral sector managing logistics for one of the UK's largest funeral providers before joining Memoria.

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James Farthing

James Farthing

National Relief Manager

James joined Memoria in April 2021 following a successful career in the funeral industry. To that end, he has worked for two of the largest UK funeral operators over the last 16 years. James has a wealth of knowledge and experience having been in multiple roles across the industry. We are delighted to welcome him to our support team.

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Mark Whitten

Mark Whitten

National Relief Manager

Prior to joining Memoria as a National Relief Manager in September 2023, Mark has held a number of roles including working as a measured land and building surveyor for 11 years. After looking at a career change, he first entered the bereavement services sector in 2016 working as a Funeral Service Operative for a large corporate funeral provider where he was then promoted to a Care Logistics Manager in 2019. After being lured back into surveying for a spell, Mark realised that his true vocation was working in the funeral sector at which stage he was successful in his application to join Memoria.

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