Top embalmer Julie Smith from Ipswich wins national accolade at Good Funeral Awards Dinner

Julie Smith has been named 'Embalmer of the Year 2015'.

Julie Smith has been named 'Embalmer of the Year 2015'. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

An Ipswich woman has been recognised as the best in her profession – that of embalming.

Julie Smith, who does work for Southgate and Roberts Funeral Directors in the town, was named Embalmer of the Year at the Good Funeral Awards Dinner, part of the Ideal Death Show at Winchester University, on September 5.

The awards were presented by Ian Lavender, who played Private Pike in Dad’s Army.

Mrs Smith, aged 44, has been embalming for 15 years after initially studying in Colchester on a British Institute of Embalmers course.

She said she first found out about the award when someone mentioned to her on Facebook they had seen her name of the list of nominees.

“It was a complete surprise,” Mrs Smith said. “It was a bit of a shock but exciting.”

When she heard her name read out at the ceremony Mrs Smith had barely had time to settle down – it was the second award presented.

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“I was still quite nervous,” she said. “I’m not one for being centre of attention and I had to walk through the centre of nearly 100 people.”

However she said to receive the award was amazing.

“It’s a humbling experience because I like what I do and someone obviously recognises that.”

Mrs Smith said the presentation of bodies for relatives was the part of her job she felt was most important.