History in her hands
PUBLISHED: 13:57 14 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 February 2013
Jane Bennett explains how music makes her feel good, why Sir Ranulph Fiennes is an inspiration and what it's like being MD of a 100-year-old family firm
Tell us about your family
I live with my two teenage boys and my partner.
Do you have any pets?
I have always been an animal lover; I currently have horses, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and a goat.
How old are you?
Unfortunately I am over 50, although I like to regard myself as far younger thinking in my outlook to life. My list of things to do gets longer as I get older.
Where do you live?
In Stebbing, near Great Dunmow.
How long have you lived there?
I have lived there for nearly 15 years.
What do you like about where you live?
I like being in our lovely, old cottage in the middle of the country, surrounded by garden and fields.
What do you do for a living?
I am the managing director of Bennetts Funerals with offices in Brentwood and Billericay. Established in 1891 it is still a family-run firm and I am the grand-daughter of the founder of the business, Edward Bennett.
What do you love about your job?
Each day is different; we meet new people who we are privileged to be able to help at a very difficult time.
What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
When we won the Essex Chronicle Customer Service Award and Best Business of the Year.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I see myself as still in the business, although with a little more time off.
What are your hobbies?
Travelling, skiing, scuba-diving, walking, going to the gym, gardening and riding.
How do you relax?
Through my hobbies, going to see bands or enjoying meals
with family and friends.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Over the past few years I have raised money through various challenges for a number of charities. My next adventure is trekking to Everest base camp to raise money for Water Aid. If we raise £3,000 we can specify that this goes to help villages in Nepal.
What is your worst habit?
Procrastination, I always leave everything until the last minute.
Which five guests would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Michael Palin, to listen to his tales of Monty Python and travelling the world; Vanessa Feltz, as she is so articulate; Sir Ranulph Fiennes for pure inspiration; Victoria Wood for her take on life and the late Sir Peter Scott as a conservationist.
What is your favourite song or piece of music and why?
I have an eclectic taste in music, from Nick Drake to Led Zeppelin and from Amy Winehouse to The Verve, so this changes constantly. Currently my favourite is Joe Bonamassa's version of Anthony Newley's co-written song, Feeling Good, because it does make you feel good.
Where are the best views to be had in Essex?
I love the views from my house in Stebbing.
Describe Essex in one sentence
Surely one of the most varied counties, from industrial
areas to chocolate box charm.
What is your favourite town in Essex and why?
I am really a country girl at heart, however, as I work and I am involved with various projects there I will have to say Brentwood.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
Without doubt my family.