A WOMAN who has dedicated her life to the dead is sharing an inside look into her unusual profession.

Lynda Shawcross-Gent has been caring for people after they have died for almost three decades and has been the mortuary manager at The Royal Bolton Hospital since 1996, becoming a crucial part of the lives of thousands of families throughout her career.

She is now sharing insight into a job about which people know very little.

Ms Shawcross-Gent explained how she first got started.

She said: “At school I either wanted to be a midwife or a funeral director. I did some grave digging as my first Saturday job to get into the ‘undertaking world’ which worked as I met local undertaker who offered me a trainee post.”

After learning the ropes, she became the first female embalmer in the country. Ms Shawcross-Gent said: “I was a trainee embalmer and funeral director, starting in 1979.

“Back then the undertaking world was very much male dominated. I worked at Hardman’s Funeral Service in Bolton where I became a qualified funeral director.”

After a groundbreaking start to her career, she retrained and started her mortuary work.

Ms Shawcross-Gent said: “In 1990 I applied for the position of a trainee anatomical pathology technician and started in my mortuary career at Bolton Royal Infirmary. A very different role, but still caring for the deceased and their families.

“I was appointed mortuary manager in 1996 when the infirmary closed and the newly built mortuary at Bolton General Hospital opened.”

The job has seen her connect with members of the community during their darkest hours — a responsibility she does not take lightly.

Ms Shawcross-Gent said: “I have met and supported literally thousands of families in my career when they have come to the mortuary to view their loved one. I am trusted to look after their loved ones, which is truly humbling. Some of those families still keep in touch years on at poignant times like an anniversary of the death.”