PERSONAL service and the willingness to go the extra mile for bereaved families make a York funeral director a community hero in the eyes of his customers.

Martin Rowley of Rowley and Sons funeral director has been entered for The Press’s Community Pride awards in the Service with a Smile category, for the exemplary care he gives families facing their toughest possible time.

Martin has been nominated by Charlotte Liversidge, who recently lost her mother and turned to Martin’s firm for the funeral arrangements.

His care and attention made the difficult process of arranging the funeral easier for the family, Charlotte said, and helped them grieve by making it possible to reflect mum Jenny Wyrill’s character and passions.

Jenny had been a long-distance lorry driver, who had worked for Nether Poppleton-based Millfield Haulage for 15 years.

She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and was given the all-clear last year. Sadly, in January she found her cancer had returned, and she passed away in February.

Charlotte said: “Martin recently carried out my mum’s funeral and it couldn’t have gone better in the situation.

“Martin bent over backwards to assist me in making my mum’s final stages go as I planned. Martin was on hand any time, day or night, and willing to go that extra mile for anyone to ensure the customer was happy at all times.

“As it is a family-run business, it makes it more personal, and you are not made to feel like just another customer. They are very professional and very caring.”

The funeral director arranged a customised coffin showing lorry driver Jenny’s beloved truck, and made it possible for the coffin to arrive at the church on the truck.

Martin said he was genuinely touched and humbled by Charlotte’s nomination.

“What we did for Charlotte we would do for any of our customers. We are a business, but we are a caring business,” he added.

He said he and his wife, who work together on the business, take pride in looking after grieving families, and in offering a respectful and individual service.

Service with a Smile recognises York businesses in any sector which demonstrate outstanding customer care, and any York charities which operate for the benefit of people in the city.

It is one of the 13 Community Pride categories honouring the inspiring community heroes whose dedication makes York better for everyone.

All nominees must live in, or contribute to life in, the City of York Council area. Nominations can be made online at before Friday, July 18.