Royal honour for Lewes coffin designer

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A mature businesswoman with an unusual product attended a reception hosted by the Prince of Wales at St James’s Palace, London.

It was held to celebrate the success of the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) entrepreneurs.

Sara Elliot, from Lewes, was invited to the prestigious event by PRIME having set-up La Terra Pura, designing bespoke coffins, after attending a business training course run by the charity in Brighton.

The reception was part of a series of ‘Celebrating Enterprise’ events marking what Prince Charles and his charities have achieved in the area of enterprise. In total, his charities have helped create more than 125,000 entrepreneurs across the world and provided business support to more than 395,000 people of all ages.

On the day, Sara showcased her business to the guests, who included other mature entrepreneurs from around the country, as well as key supporters of the charity. She said: “I had been caring for my mother during her long journey with dementia. When she died, I knew I had to return to the job market but this wasn’t particularly easy, considering I had been away for so long, and I also had commitments to look after my young son.

“When I was preparing for my mum’s funeral, people had commented positively on the coffin I had designed and made, and I even started to receive commissions. I attended PRIME’s business training course to boost my skills and I am now designing bespoke coffins, aspiring to bring beauty, as well as a personal touch, into what has traditionally been a rather stark occasion.”

She added: “It’s not every day you get invited to attend an event at St James’s Palace and it was a massive honour for me to have the opportunity to meet the Prince of Wales.”

PRIME is a leading national charity helping people over the age of 50, who are unemployed or facing the threat of redundancy, with the support to achieve financial, social and personal fulfilment through sustainable self-employment.

The event also highlighted PRIME’s Be a Business Champion campaign, supported by funds from the Social Action Fund, which has seen the charity recruit volunteers to drive and support enterprise by the over 50s across the country.

PRIME’s Chairman, Richard Martin, said: “This was the first time we had brought together a real cross-section of people connected with PRIME and it was a great honour to welcome the Prince of Wales to the event.

“People over the age of 50 have a wealth of skills and experience to benefit their local communities, as well as the wider economy, and people like Sara serve as a positive example that it’s never too late to set-up your own business.”