“When dealing with someone as lovely as Josh, I was able to grieve for my daughter knowing she was in good hands.”
Those are the words of Thanet mum Lisa Relf who has nominated a Ramsgate funeral director for a national award which honours survivors of babyloss and celebrates the work of those who support them.
Josh Twyman, who works at family-run Twyman and Holmes, has been shortlisted in the Bereavement Worker category for The Butterfly Awards, run by the Finley’s Footsteps charity.
The annual event raises awareness of babyloss – whether that be through ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, compassionate induction, sudden loss or loss of an infant following illness.
Josh’s nomination follows his handling of baby Gracelynn-rose Relf’s funeral in January this year. In her nomination the mum said: “For handling every part of my daughter’s funeral with the most amount of care and respect. They made such a hard time for me a hundred times easier.”
Dad-of-two Josh, 23, has worked at his grandad Graham’s business for seven years, since leaving Hereson School for Boys.
He said: “The mum nominated me for the care given to her and the family and for how we looked after her baby.
“I have a 10-month-old myself so it makes it harder, when it is a baby you feel like they weren’t given a chance at life.
“It isn’t so much that we give extra care when a family has lost a baby or child but you do feel more emotional and attached, that’s natural for anyone.
“I didn’t know about these award. Being nominated makes me feel appreciated and the best thing about it is it meant enough to the mum for her to take the time to do that.”
Josh, who was one of the youngest funeral directors in the country when he started out, says it can be a hard job but there are rewards.
He said: “The most difficult thing is when it is babies and children or someone you know personally. But when you are helping someone, and especially when they maybe send a thank you card, that is rewarding.”
Lisa said: “I am over the moon that he is being recognised for the kind and caring person he is.
“It was was such a horrible and hard time but having him look after my baby girl Gracelynn-rose Relf made that pain better, he let me feel at ease and have full trust in him looking after my most precious gift.
“Josh helped me with her funeral right through to the end. Even on the day, just seeing his face made me feel at ease. For someone younger than me to do such a hard and emotional job, let alone a baby;s funeral, should make him very proud of himself.
“Nothing was too big or too small for him and from the bottom of my heart I want to thank him.”
The winners of The Butterfly Awards will be announced on October 19 at a reception in Kenilworth.