Team Biographies

Chris Wickenden

Chris Wickenden

Chris Wickenden, the owner of HAVEN Funeral Services, and his family have been involved in funerals for well over 100 years.

After school Chris spent 15 years working as a Chartered Accountant in the City and in west London before starting up his own funeral business in Hanwell, West London in 1986 where he has worked ever since.
He is a keen member of Haven Green Baptist Church where he plays the organ and spent a year in Bangladesh working for The Leprosy Mission in 2008-9.

Chris still maintains his interest in the work of the Leprosy Mission where he works on various committees and is a Director of their trading company. He is also the Treasurer of “BEREFT” a bereavement counselling charity working throughout the borough of Ealing.

Chris lives in Brentford and is the proud father of four daughters and grandfather to three grandchildren, two girls and a boy.

Karen Petersen

Karen Petersen

Karen has been in the funeral profession since 1983, gaining the Diploma in Funeral Directing in 1985.

She served on the National Association of Funeral Directors’ (NAFD) Executive Committee for 10 years, was President of the NAFD’s London Association in 2000 – 2001 before becoming National President of the NAFD in 2001 – 2002. Karen also spent six years on the NAFD’s Professional Standards Board and was appointed Honorary Treasurer of the NAFD in 2012.
Karen says, “I just love my work, and being able to help someone through a difficult time is important to me.”

Karen has a variety of hobbies outside of work including reading, knitting, cross-stich embroidery, and driving.

A local girl, as a child Karen liked nothing better than walking into Pinner with her father to look at cars in the showrooms. She first learned to drive solo on a tractor on a farm in North Devon during harvest time and progressed to her father’s rather large ‘tank’ of a car which was an Austin Westminster.

Having moved through various sizes of cars and driven large horseboxes as well, and gaining her Certificate of Advanced Driving, Karen got the opportunity a few years ago to realise a dream – to learn to drive a real F1 racing car!

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

Steve was the fifth generation of his family to join the funeral profession straight from school and has now been a funeral director for 33 years.

As well as holding the Diploma in Funeral Directing, Steve is also a qualified embalmer and holds a Certificate in International Repatriation.

Throughout his career, Steve has specialised in Repatriation, spending many years dealing with the management of repatriations following major incidents, including the Air France Concorde accident in Paris, where Steve spent 3 months heading an International team of repatriation specialists.

Steve joined HAVEN Funeral Services in 2000 and now manages HAVEN’s branch in Hillingdon, as well as focusing on the many community groups throughout the UK whose custom it is to have their loved ones repatriated for funerals abroad.

As a result of Steve’s experience, HAVEN is included on a list of specialist International Funeral Directors recommended by The Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK.

Steve is very proud to be a Past President of the London Association of Funeral Directors (1993 – 1994) and maintains an active interest in Association matters.

Outside of work, Steve enjoys cooking (and eating!) and the occasional round of fine-weather golf.