‘I got my dream job as a coffin bearer — people think it’s strange but I can’t wait become an embalmer’

Jasmin Thompson  (PA)
Jasmin Thompson (PA)

A part-time coffin bearer receiving “girl power” compliments at funerals after discovering her unlikely dream career said she hopes to become an embalmer despite her father’s initial concern.

Jasmin Thompson, from Darlington, County Durham, had planned to go into forensic work for the police after studying forensic psychology at university, but after picking up part-time work with Co-op Funeralcare, she now plans a career in the funeral sector.

Studying at Teesside University, Jasmin did not expect to land her dream role bearing coffins and preparing hair and make-up for the deceased ahead of their funerals.

Starting her new role in March 2022, Jasmin fell in love with funeral care and says she takes pride in helping people on sad and important days.

She said: “I remember feeling my heart skip a beat when I saw the advert for my job. I had previously considered becoming an embalmer when I was younger, but quickly wrote off the idea, thinking opportunities to join the funeral care sector were limited.

“I get a lot of compliments at the funerals I work at. People will say things like ‘girl power’, which is really nice.

“People are always surprised to see me working there but I love what I do and I feel a real sense of pride in helping people get through these tough days.

“My memorable moments include wearing rainbow ties as it was what the person wanted for their funeral, which I love because it shows their personality.”

Jasmin was working on her dissertation in her final year of university when she spotted the Co-op job listing.

She said: “I wasn’t on campus, my course was completely remote which I was really bummed about, so I was scrolling through a job site looking for something that could get me out of the house.

“I was surprised when I found the job ad, I always thought it would be difficult to get into funeral service, but I saw it and decided to apply.”

Jasmin says she was “over the moon” when she was offered the job and started her new role in March 2022.


Her day-to-day responsibilities include driving and cleaning vehicles, bearing coffins, hair and make-up preparation, and liaising with customers.

Working with families to ensure the services represent their lost loved ones’ personalities and interests, Jasmin particularly enjoys being able to pay attention to the little characteristics that made them unique in life, from the way they used to part their hair to how they liked wearing their clothes.

“I feel like the best way to show my respect is by learning these little details and remembering them consistently,” she said.

“I treat each loved one as though they are my own, and make sure the highest standards of service are met, just like I would want my own family to receive.

“I was so nervous when I first started but everyone’s really nice. I’d only had experience with doing my own hair and make-up but I turned out to be really good at it and it’s part of the job I enjoy.”

Jasmin says there are many misconceptions about working in funeral care which she hopes to set the record straight on.

The big thing for me is that a lot of young people either don’t think of funeral care as a career option or think it’s really difficult to get into

Jasmin Thompson

She said: “I think a lot of people think it’s really gloomy and sad all the time but it’s not at all.

“You’ve got to have a sense of humour because if you were just serious and upset all the time, then it would be the (most) difficult job in the world. But everyone that I work with is so funny and it definitely makes it a lot easier.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from doing the job, which I didn’t expect.

“Being able to look after people and then being able to give family members the send-off that they want, it gives them quite a lot of closure.

“I notice a positive difference in the family from before to after the funeral and it’s really satisfying to know that I’ve helped give them that peace of mind.”

I think a lot of people think it’s really gloomy and sad all the time but it’s not at all

Jasmin Thompson

The 22-year-old originally planned to study a masters course alongside her work for Co-op but is now turning her focus to a career in the funeral sector.

She hopes to become an embalmer and one day, a funeral director, both of which will require further training through Co-op.

Jasmin’s unusual job has also surprised her friends and family, who she says were concerned at first.

“They were all really surprised and shocked – my dad didn’t want me to do it at first because he thought it would be really upsetting,” she said.

“My friends thought it was weird but they’re used to it now.

“If I’m ever at family events where I’m meeting new people or seeing people who don’t know what I do for work, I get a lot of questions about it and it turns into a bit of a Q&A, but I don’t mind because I like talking about my job.”

I get a lot of satisfaction from doing the job, which I didn’t expect

Jasmin Thompson

Now, Jasmin, who is the youngest member of her team, hopes to inspire other young people to get into funeral care.

“The big thing for me is that a lot of young people either don’t think of funeral care as a career option or think it’s really difficult to get into.

“You don’t have be older or be a man to work in funeral care and if I had known more about it earlier, I would have saved myself a lot of time.

“I am so incredibly lucky to work with the most respectful, kind and caring colleagues, who always remind me our job is to advocate for the families in our community and celebrate the life of their lost loved one.

“I definitely see myself furthering my career in funeral care, and I hope to one day be able to pass on my knowledge to new colleagues, just like my team have done for me.

“It is a personal goal of mine to contribute to more young people joining the sector, as I truly believe this is one of the most fulfilling careers available out there.”