THE longest-serving funeral director on the Fylde coast has died.
Maurice Rawcliffe, 82, had suffered with illness for several months and following a recent deterioration in health, passed away.
Maurice had owned M Rawcliffe, of Birch Street and Warton Street, Lytham, since 1956, before going into partnership with Mark Rae, the St Annes-based funeral director, last year, forming Rawcliffe & Rae Funeral Directors of Lytham.
Irene Jameson, Maurice’ sister-in-law said: “He always treated people with respect and kindness, and was very sincere. He has always been in and around the town.
“He was born in St Annes, was a choirboy at St Cuthbert’s Church, went to the former St Cuthbert’s Primary School and started work as a joiner at Keenan and Yates, the St Annes-based business, before his National Service in Egypt.
“His involvement as an undertaker came about through Ely Berry, who was formerly the town undertaker. Maurice’s uncle owned horses, which Ely used to pull the carriage for coffins.
“Maurice loved horses, and often went to Ely’s funeral home to see them. It was from here he became interested in being an undertaker and when Ely died, he bought the business and became an undertaker more than 50 years ago.”
Mark Rae added: “I started my career with Maurice, everything I know I have learnt from him. He worked in the town for more than 50 years, and he was always very gentle and very caring towards families who had lost loved ones.
“When I worked with him at the start of my career, he also gave me one bit of advice, something that has stayed with me throughout my career. He said ‘When you join the funeral profession, you have to think that each client you deal with is either your mother or father, and treat them with the same respect you would.’”
“He was a good man who will be sadly missed.”
Maurice’ funeral will be held at St Johns the Divine Church, East Beach, Lytham, on Monday at noon, followed by a smaller service at Lytham Park Crematorium, Regents Avenue, St Annes at 1.30pm.