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Council Members and officers

HONORARY President

Photo of Lord Rupert de Mauley-Honorary President of The Cremation Society

Lord de Mauley is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He served as a Director of the Standard Chartered Merchant Bank Asia and Samuel Montagu & Co Limited. After the House of Lords Act in 1999, Lord de Mauley was the first new peer to be elected to a hereditary seat in the House of Lords. 

He was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra and previously a Government Lord-in-Waiting.  In opposition he was a Whip and Shadow Minister for Children, Schools, Families and Energy and Climate Change.

Lord de Mauley is a director of the Society's subsidiary, the London Cremation Company plc (LCC).


Photo of ulf lagerstrom vice president of cremation society

Ulf Lagerström, LLM

Mr Ulf Lagerström was appointed as Vice-President of the Society on 18 February 2010. He holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree (University of Stockholm) and is a Chamberlain of the Royal Court of Sweden. He has been a Director at the Ministry of Finance; Senior Vice-President of Nordbanken; General Counsellor and Head of the Department of Legal and Administrative Affairs of the Church of Sweden and Managing Director of The Swedish Federation of Cemeteries and Crematoria (of which he is now a Trustee) and Ignis Insurance Group.

He is a past President of the International Cremation Federation (1997-2005).


Photo of professor douglas davies vice president of cremation society

Professor Douglas Davies
Ph.D., D.Litt., Hon. Dr. Theol, FAcSS, FLSW, FBA

Professor Douglas Davies, PhD (Nottingham University,) Master of Letters and Doctor of Letters (Oxford University), Honorary Doctor of Theology (University of Uppsala, Sweden), Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences.  Douglas was appointed as Vice-President of the Society on 22 November 2016.  He trained in Anthropology and Theology, teaching at Nottingham University before becoming Professor in the Study of Religion and Director of The Centre for Death and Life Studies at Durham University. He has published many books on traditional and natural burial, on cremation, and on the theology of death. He edited the Encyclopedia of Cremation in 2005. He is also internationally known as an expert on Mormonism.


Photo of Professor Hilary Grainger Chair of The Cremation Society

Professor Hilary J. Grainger OBE (Chair)

Professor Grainger has been a member of the Cremation Society’s Council since 2008. She is Professor (Emeritus) of Architectural History at University of the Arts London and an Honorary Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University. She works as an Institutional Reviewer for Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) England and Scotland and as an International Reviewer worldwide. A specialist in late nineteenth and early twentieth century English domestic architecture, Hilary is the acknowledged authority on the architecture of British crematoria and on the late Victorian architect Sir Ernest George. She has published and lectured widely in Europe and America and her pioneering book, “Death Redesigned: British Crematoria, History, Architecture and Landscape”, received a joint commendation from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals as an outstanding reference book published in 2006. Her monograph “The Architecture of Sir Ernest George” was published by Spire books in 2011 and shortlisted for the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain Alice Davis Medallion. She is co-author (with Honorary Vice-President Douglas Davies, fellow council member Dr Peter Jupp, and former Council member, Stephen White) of “Cremation in Modern Scotland: History, Architecture and the Law” (Birlinn, 2017) which resulted from research funded by the Leverhulme Trust and hosted by the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University. Her latest books: “Designs on Death: The Architecture of Scottish Crematoria” was published in 2020 (Birlinn). Hilary is a Past President of the Association for the Study of Death and Society (ASDS), National Chair of the The Victorian Society and chair of the Fabric Advisory committee of Lichfield Cathedral. She was appointed a Director of CAMEO (Crematoria Abatement of Mercury Emissions Organisation) in July 2019. She is also a non-executive director of the London Cremation Company

Professor Grainger was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours List for Services to Higher Education.


Photo of Colin Rickman-Council Member of The Cremation Society

Colin Rickman
DipFD, BIE       

Colin Rickman studied engineering at Southampton. He changed career in 1973 to train as a funeral director and embalmer with a funeral director in Poole. He joined the Co-operative Funeral Service in 1981 and has held various senior management roles, including managing crematoria, cemeteries, woodland burial grounds, hospital mortuaries and bereavement services. He is a Past President of the Bournemouth and District Association of Funeral Directors and the Co-operative Funeral Service Managers Association, a Past Governor of Lions Club International and a member of the London Association of Funeral Directors. He is Managing Director in Business consultancy for Bereavement services and Director of Selsey Community Solar farm.

He has been a member of the Council since 2015.


Photo of Professor Heather Conway-Council Member of The Cremation Society

Professor Heather Conway

Professor Conway is Professor of Property Law and Death Studies at Queen's University Belfast. Her research focuses on the substantive laws surrounding the treatment of the dead, the fate of corpses and who has decision-making powers over the recently deceased. Her areas of interest include the resolution of family disputes surrounding funerals, exhumation and commemoration, and their underlying reasons; the legal status of funeral instructions; and the legal issues around burial, cremation and other bodily disposal methods. Heather is the author of The Law and the Dead (Routledge, 2016) She has been a member of the Council since 2017 and is the current President of the Association for the Study of Death and Society (‘ASDS’).

She has been a member of the Council since 2017.


Photo of Debbie Kerslake-Council Member of The Cremation Society

Debbie Kerslake

Debbie Kerslake joined Cruse Bereavement Care in 1999, becoming Chief Executive from 2008-2018. Debbie played a key role in working with multiple stakeholders to raise awareness of bereaved people’s needs, improve access to bereavement support and develop bereavement care service standards. Her work included developing the range of services offered, including to children & young people, enhancing training provision and reaching under-represented groups. Debbie represented bereaved people on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Funerals and Bereavement and was a member of groups including the Ministry of Justice Burial and Cremation Advisory Group, the Department of Health Death Certification National Steering Group, the National Cremation Working Group, the National Bereavement Alliance Steering Group, the Dying Matters Steering Group and the Life Matters Task Force. 

She led Cruse’s major incident response team following several incidents including 9/11 in New York. Prior to this, Debbie was a social worker specialising in child protection, disability and terminal illness. The respite, befriending and advocacy service she established won two national awards. Since retiring from Cruse last year, Debbie has spoken at Singapore’s inaugural grief and bereavement conference; been accepted as a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement and become a community researcher with Birmingham University. She is also co-writing two books.



Photo of Richard Clarke -Council Member of The Cremation Society


Richard Clarke 

Richard Clarke trained as a chartered accountant and was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers from 1990 until 2002 when he became a sole practitioner and was able to increase his involvement in charities.  He has served as Honorary Treasurer at five charities including twelve years at Cruse Bereavement Care and is a member of the Honorary Treasurers’ Forum.  He is also joined the Board of ExtraCare Charitable Trust in 2006 where amongst other roles he has been the Chair of the Audit Committee.

He has been a member of Council since 2021.



Photo of Bishop Christopher Foster  -Council Member of The Cremation Society

Bishop Christopher Foster 

Bishop Christopher Foster chairs the Churches Funerals' Group. He was Church of England Bishop of Portsmouth (and previously of Hertford) and a Lord Spiritual until May 2021. With over forty years of ordained ministry, after a short time as an academic economist in two universities, he has wide experience of diverse people and communities. His pastoral understanding of the sensitivities and challenges at and around the time of death and bereavement mean that he is committed to the best provision possible by all those involved in funerals. During his time as a member of the House of Lords he frequently spoke on matters of fairness and respect. 

Christopher is a non-executive director of NHS Somerset, chairing the Renumeration Committee, and a board member and trustee at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, chairing its' ethics committee. 



Photo of Wendy Buchan - Executive Officer & Secretary to The Cremation Society

Wendy Buchan - Executive Officer & Secretary to The Cremation Society

PHoto of Sue Jackson - PA to the Executive Officer & Secretary to The Cremation Society

Sue Jackson - PA to the Executive Officer

Photo of Amy Marsh - Sub-Editor - Pharos International

Amy Marsh - Sub-Editor - Pharos International

Photo of Meredith Seabrook - Administrator

Meredith Seabrook - Administrator

Photo of Fay Leahy - Book-keeper (self-employed)

Fay Leahy - Bookkeeper (self-employed)


The Cremation Society of Great Britain is a Founder Member of the International Cremation Federation which was founded in London in 1937.

The Federation is a world-wide organisation made up of over 40 countries. The aims of the Federation include the promotion and provision of information about the practice of cremation. The Society continues to play an integral role within the Federation. From 1990 to 2003 the Society provided the Federation's Secretariat. The Society's former Secretary served as Secretary-General from 1990 to 2003, when he was elected Senior-Vice President. In 1996 the Federation achieved Non-Governmental Consultative status with the Economic and Social Committee of the United Nations.

For details about the work, constitution and membership of the International Cremation Federation visit its website.

Contact details:

The Secretary-General,
The International Cremation Federation,
P.O. Box 80532,
NL-2508 GN The Hague,
The Netherlands.

Tel: +31 70 351 8836
Fax: +31 70 351 8827
E-mail: [email protected]


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