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 Finish 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.
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 biography of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Jamieson Hodgson joined Memoria in early 2009. He initially led business development but has since progressed into the role of Head of Planning. During that time, he has helped to grow the business by leading our planning team to securing 10 new planning consents for new crematoria and memorial parks in the last 7 years. Jamieson has overseen 6 planning appeals during this time – leading to 5 consents. 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 also heads up HR and Operational Performance which covers recruitment of staff, market-share performance, ongoing demographic assessment and facility service standards.
He spent the previous 3 years working for Accenture where he led business development for their UK Capital Markets strategy group. This role saw him work on a number of projects for UBS, HSBC, RBS and Citi Group. Prior to joining Accenture, Jamieson completed an honours degree in International Business and Finance and also worked for the VW Group and PwC during this time.
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.
Paul is the Managing Director of Memoria Low Cost Funeral Ltd, the direct cremation arm of Memoria Ltd and the largest direct cremation company in the country. Paul joined Memoria in late 2013 after a career working in both the public and private sector. A horticultural specialist with extensive experience in groundworks, facilities management and sales and marketing, he has held multiple roles within Memoria before his current promotion.
Prior to joining Memoria, he graduated from Teesside University after studying Business Management and has enjoyed a successful career in both telecommunications and the utility sales industries where he founded and managed his own direct sales business employing 70 members of staff.
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.
Richard Todd is our Sales & Marketing Director. Richard has over 35 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 local community and funeral director relations across all sites in England and Wales.
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.
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.
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.
Frank Meilack is our Director of Community Engagement. From 1995 Frank worked in the Outdoor Media industry as part of the Clear Channel / Transport for London partnership transforming the Outdoor Media options across the capital and the UK, with involvement in procurement, development, sales and operational delivery as Regional General Manager.
In 2015 Frank came into the funeral Industry at Kemnal Park in South-East London, a 55-acre site with outline approval for a cemetery. Over a 4 year period, Frank transformed the performance of the park with cremation services rising from circa 150 to over 900 per annum. Burial numbers and prestige burial options also rose dramatically with the introduction and marketing of products for specific community groups such as Muslim, Turkish, Catholic and Italian communities.
Haydn Griffiths is our finance manager for the sites. Haydn joined Memoria in March 2020, he has held various finance roles in industry, more recently in aviation. He oversees the day to day running of the finance function for Memoria group sites.
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.
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.
Wendy Smith is our Low-Cost Funeral Ltd Office Manager. Wendy joined us in 2016 and is a highly-experienced customer service manager. She has played a pivotal role in the development of Low Cost Funeral Ltd.
Wendy is the first line interacting with potential clients on both At Need and Pre-paid Funeral Plans to ensure that every detail and wish is catered for as specified by clients.
Karen joined us in September 2020, as our Pre-Arranged Sales Advisor, responsible for Memoria’s pre-need funeral enquires. Karen came into the funeral industry in 2017, after 18 years working for one of the world’s leading international banks. Her role has always been customer focused and understanding the needs of her families and clients.
Leanne is one of our funeral plan sales advisors. She joined us in 2020 after spending over 10 years in the travel industry. Leanne is friendly and empathetic, and she enjoys working with customers to put the rights plans in place for the future.
Verity joined Memoria in April 2020 during the COVID 19 pandemic. She initially started in a more administration based role, liaising with crematoriums booking in direct cremations. Verity now handles enquiries that come in via phone or through the website, talking clients through the various packages we offer and finding the service that best suits them. Previously, Verity has worked in estate agency, and was working in a marketing role before joining the Memoria team.
Amy has a varied background in HR and recruitment, and originally started with Memoria in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic. She started with the company on the CWC side of the business, carrying out administrative duties and booking in direct cremations. She now helps clients with both immediate at need enquiries and plans for the future, helping them to find the package that best meets their needs.
Hazel has 6 years of customer service experience from both retail and office-based positions. She believes that putting the customers’ needs first is key and being organised, efficient and focused are all important traits to have.
We provide the most affordable cremation options in the UK
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