Theresa Quinn, the chief executive of the National Association of Memorial Masons and its driving force for 11 years, has handed in her resignation. She will leave at Christmas, although she has offered to continue to be a consultant as required.
She says she had been thinking about leaving for a year or so. I\'m very tired, she said after the annual conference in September, during which she tendered her resignation but was asked to reconsider.
As well as managing NAMM she had been looking after her mother, who died in October, and her son Damian.
It\'s not an easy decision, but it\'s one I felt I had to make. I will miss the members and the interest of the work very greatly indeed. However, I have no doubts that other people can pick it up and I have said I will be available for as long as they want me to be to help with the transition. I want NAMM to survive and survive well.
Andrew Hawley, NAMM\'s President, said: We are very sorry to see Theresa leave. They don\'t make them like that any more. Nobody else would devote that amount time to NAMM.
To ease Theresa\'s workload, Jackie Edwards had been appointed office manager before the annual conference. That had allowed Theresa to concentrate on a recruitment campaign that saw membership soar by 10%.
The NAMM executive was meeting on 15 November, after we had gone to press, to decide on the future administration of the organisation. Andrew Hawley said: We are not going to rush out and recruit someone. We are going to stand back and take a view.
When Theresa took over the administration of NAMM it was Â£50,000 in the red and not making much of an impact.
She and Moya Harvey, of Ross Stonecraft, Slough, who was not re-elected to the General Council this year although she was made an Honorary Member, worked together to repair the finances and keep NAMM alive.
At that time, the organisation was called the National Association of Master Masons. It was Moya and Theresa who persuaded the members to change the name to include the word \'memorial\' in the title in order to make it more immediately obvious to the public and other interested parties what it represented.
Since then, NAMM has grown in stature and importance within the death care industry in general, developing a Recommended Code of Working Practice that has been increasingly adopted as the standard required by cemeteries.
NAMM has become the contact point with memorial masons for cemetery authorities, funeral directors and government.