Cradle To Grave was the recipient of the Coffin Supplier of the Year award at this year's Good Funeral Awards.

The Ideal Death Show and Good Funeral Awards are run by Brian Jenner and Charles Cowling, held at the university of winchester. This year, the “Oscars of the Funeral Industry” were awarded by Ian Lavender, who played Private Pike in Dads Army, and the the only surviving member of the cast.

The awards recognise outstanding service to the bereaved across 16 categories including Gravedigger Of The Year, Funeral Director Of The Year, Best-kept Green Burial Site and, of course, Coffin Supplier Of The Year which we are hugely proud to have won!

The show was hosted by the Good Funeral Guide and winchester-based Natural Death Centre, and included a death cafe held in one of our very own yurts (available for hire for your own events).

The funeral exhibition takes place in the centre of Winchester and, in the same way that a motor-show exhibits all the latest gadgets and car models, the ideal death show offers a stage to those who wish to promote new goods and services in the funeral world.

Charles Cowling, author of the Good Funeral Guide, said “They're not weird, these great funeral people. They're wonderful. Above all, they're amazingly normal, kind, decent, friends in need. The world needs to know this, and they richly deserve to have their praises sung and their stories told. This event is where we get to do that.”

It was a real honour to receive this award. I love what I do, it is a real honour to be making these willow coffins for people they are tailor-made for the person that has died, it is their final resting bed that I am making.

I started weaving baskets back in the late 1990s in Gloucestershire where I was living on a horsedrawn travellers camp in a yurt, in the Forest of Dean. Shortly after, in 2000, I moved to dorset where we settled into a house and I have been slowly building up my business ever since.

I had a lot of people asking me if i made Willow Coffins, which I didn't at the time, so it got me thinking that maybe I ought to learn to make one. So after a year of searching for a willow coffin workshop where I liked to look of the coffin, I came across an advert in the quarterly Basketmakers Association newsletter for courses run by a chap called Terry Bensley, a master basketmaker from Great Yarmouth, who held one-to-one coffin making workshops in his shed at the bottom of the garden.

Since then, I have been making coffins and also completed a Greenfuse Funeral Arrangers course and am always intrested in learning more about the funeral industry. I am passionate about using natural materials and producing my coffins to be used in environmentally-friendly farewells to loved ones, whatever the setting of the funeral, from cremations to an eco-friendly woodland burial.

Cath Pratley, Cradle To Grave
Cath Pratley receiving her Good Funeral Award from Ian Lavender.

Cath Pratley receiving her Good Funeral Award from Ian Lavender.

Cath and Tosh at the Good Funeral Awards, 2015.

Cath and Tosh at the Good Funeral Awards, 2015.