Claire Austin’s first marathon run supports Welwyn Garden City charity The Isabel Hospice
On Sunday 13 April, Claire Austin, MD of Hertfordshire’s independent family firm Austin’s Funeral Service, completed the London Marathon, raising over £10,000 for The Isabel Hospice, a Welwyn Garden City charity which supports families and individuals throughout East Hertfordshire.
After clocking a highly creditable time of 4 hours, 59 minutes, Claire said:
“This was my first ever marathon. Training for it has been a real challenge, but the experience on the day was one which I will never forget. I was very pleased to have reached my target fundraising figure, and I am hoping that we will raise even more for this cause, which is very dear to my heart.”
Donations to Claire’s fundraising for Isabel Hospice can still be made through: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ClaireAustinHope
Children with complex social and communication disorders were the latest to benefit from a charitable fund run by family-firm Austin’s. TRACKS Autism is a specialist nursery for children aged between two and six years from all over Hertfordshire.
The independent funeral directors handed over a cheque for £6,319.47 to the Stevenage based nursery. These funds will be put to good use when the nursery relocates to larger premises in September. TRACKS will then be able to provide more extensive facilities for a larger number of children and their families.
Claire Austin, Managing Director of Austin’s said: “We are delighted to have been able to help TRACKS which does such a wonderful job providing a caring and supportive environment for children with autism.”
The Austin’s Charitable Fund raises money in a number of different ways including through the generosity of bereaved families who donate to it in memory of a loved one; from donations made at the annual Christmas carol service at Harwood Park Crematorium and from a percentage of Austin’s annual profits.
A different charity is chosen to benefit each year and since its inception in 2002 the fund has raised over £100,000 for local organisations.
Photo from left to right, Jonathan Aves (Hertfordshire Community Foundation), Jean Austin, Claire Austin, Jane Pitman (President of TRACKS) and Mervyn Terrett (Chairman of TRACKS)
A 1959 Massey Fergusson tractor has been restored to its former glory in memory of John Austin.
John, who ran Austin’s Family Funeral Directors and designed and developed Harwood Park Crematorium, purchased the tractor in 1996. It was used to develop the memorial gardens at Harwood Park which have now become a sanctuary, where bereaved families can remember their loved ones in beautiful surroundings.
The Massey Fergusson 35 was one of John’s ‘toys’. Its registration number is TFO 827, which John always claimed stands for ‘The Funeral Office’.
Sadly, John passed away in April 2012. Several months prior to that Claire, John’s daughter, and the other company directors had arranged for the tractor to be refurbished as a surprise for John. He was, of course, never to see it.
However, last week, after nearly two years of painstaking work the completed tractor was presented to Jean, John’s widow. Jean was stunned and delighted as she had no idea that the work was being carried out.
The project was undertaken by agricultural restoration engineer, Kevin Read, in his workshop in Watton at Stone. It was completely dismantled, refurbished, reassembled and repainted in its original livery by Kevin. The tractor now also bears a brass plate in memory of John.
The reliable workhorse has been returned to Harwood Park, where it will continue to be used within the gardens.