University of Bath sociologist Dr Kate Woodthorpe has been awarded a £10,000 Churchill Fellowship.

Dr Woodthorpe from the Department of Social and Policy Sciences has one of only 140 Fellowships awarded out of a total of over 900 applications across the UK.

The Churchill Fellowship was awarded for her project titled ‘Public Health Funerals and alternative models and methods of support’, which will explore how other countries make publicly funded provision for funerals, cremation and burial for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of their society.

The Fellowship will fund two visits to the United States and several European countries to meet providers, local government officials and researchers in this area.

She said: “This is an amazing opportunity to learn and bring back ideas to the UK, and I am extremely grateful to The Churchill Fellowship for recognising the importance of this area for people who have died, who have no family, money or opportunity to advocate for themselves."

Julia Weston, Chief Executive of The Churchill Fellowship, said: “The standard this year was particularly high. Being awarded a Fellowship is truly a great achievement. As well as being a great personal achievement, the Fellowship also means that you are now part of a UK wide network of extraordinary individuals who, like you, are highly motivated to improve and develop their particular field, profession or community."

Dr Woodthorpe is currently the Director of the Centre for Death and Society, and has previously conducted research on funeral poverty and direct cremation. She has advised the Government on numerous occasions on funeral policy, most recently as part of the Competition and Markets Authority’s funeral sector investigation.

She will become a Churchill Fellow for life.