Martin Ross: From Cartoonist to Funeral Director

Martin Ross

As a cartoonist, Martin Ross has seen his work feature in Punch, Private Eye and the Yorkshire Evening Post.
After a long career in the publishing industry, he knew that the next chapter in his life would take him in a very different direction.
He wasn’t sure what that path would be until he saw an advert for a vacancy with Full Circle Funerals.

What prompted you to apply for the job at Full Circle Funerals?

There were a few important steps that led to that moment. When I left the newspaper industry 7 or 8 years ago, I worked from home as a freelance illustrator for a while before taking a job at Outside the Box in Ilkley, a community café that provides opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. I really enjoyed the cooking, the people and doing something practical and useful.

I was furloughed during Covid and that gave me time to think about my next step so when I saw the job advertised it felt right somehow and I wanted to find out more about it.

Did you have any reservations about becoming a funeral director?

I could see the value of the job and I quickly got a sense that this was an employer that shared my values but I didn’t know if I had it in me to do it. I was worried about how I might feel when meeting someone who had died and at 54, I wasn’t sure if I had the mental capacity to pick up a completely new career from scratch. I was also nervous about how I would come across to people who I would be meeting in very challenging circumstances.

What encouraged you to make the move?

Sarah was very reassuring and I felt she could see something in me that encouraged me to give it a go. It was a leap of faith but I knew I had the support of the team to carry me through.

What were the biggest challenges when you started the job?

The first few months were pretty intense as I absorbed all the information and processes that go on behind the scenes. I’m learning all the time as procedures are updated and I face new situations. The first phone call I had to make to follow up an enquiry was nerve-wracking but it didn’t turn out to be as hard as I’d expected and once I’d done it I felt a lot better.

What did you find helped most during those early days

The team at Full Circle have been fantastic. I shadowed Ruth in the beginning but I was encouraged to do things on my own from quite early on, knowing she was always there to support me and answer my questions. The company has a clear purpose and strong values which has really helped me to feel like I’m part of something special and making a difference.

Although this career is very different are there any skills from your time in the publishing industry that have helped?

As a cartoonist, and later as a subeditor and content editor, accuracy was really important. I’m a perfectionist and that comes in handy in this job where every detail matters. The other similarity is the unpredictability. I’ll come into work with a rough idea of how the day will go and then the phone will ring and everything changes. That reminds me of my newspaper days and I enjoy the fact that no two days are the same.

What do you find most rewarding about being a funeral director?

One of the most rewarding parts of the job is the personal care element of looking after someone who has died. It feels like a really nice thing to do and I like giving the person that time and attention. It’s also a real privilege to meet people and hear the story of someone’s whole life. I find it satisfying when all the hard work that goes into organising a funeral pays off and everything falls into place. It’s lovely to get positive feedback after a funeral too.

You can find out more about Martin from this short video

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes in the event of your death.  Your wishes might cover who cares for your children, what happens to your property and how your finances are managed.  No matter your relationship status is, if there is something that you would want to make sure happens if you die, then you should consider making a will.

What prompted you to apply for the job at Full Circle Funerals?

There were a few important steps that led to that moment. When I left the newspaper industry 7 or 8 years ago, I worked from home as a freelance illustrator for a while before taking a job at Outside the Box in Ilkley, a community café that provides opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. I really enjoyed the cooking, the people and doing something practical and useful.

I was furloughed during Covid and that gave me time to think about my next step so when I saw the job advertised it felt right somehow and I wanted to find out more about it.

Did you have any reservations about becoming a funeral director?

I could see the value of the job and I quickly got a sense that this was an employer that shared my values but I didn’t know if I had it in me to do it. I was worried about how I might feel when meeting someone who had died and at 54, I wasn’t sure if I had the mental capacity to pick up a completely new career from scratch. I was also nervous about how I would come across to people who I would be meeting in very challenging circumstances.

What encouraged you to make the move?

Sarah was very reassuring and I felt she could see something in me that encouraged me to give it a go. It was a leap of faith but I knew I had the support of the team to carry me through.

What were the biggest challenges when you started the job?

The first few months were pretty intense as I absorbed all the information and processes that go on behind the scenes. I’m learning all the time as procedures are updated and I face new situations. The first phone call I had to make to follow up an enquiry was nerve-wracking but it didn’t turn out to be as hard as I’d expected and once I’d done it I felt a lot better.

Rucklidge Law is a family-owned law firm, covering the Yorkshire area.  We specialise in helping people to plan for the future.  As well as Lasting Power of Attorney, we also help our clients with Will Writing and Probate services.  

Contact Rucklidge Law for a free 30-minute legal consultation.

Email us at [email protected]

Call us on 01904 806031

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