A former RAF mechanic who specialised in configuring ejection seats in planes has turned his hand to livestreaming funeral services in an unusual career change. 

One of the most emotional days in anyone’s life, during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic loved ones were often unable to attend the funerals of those they held nearest.

Despite the regulations easing and funerals allowed to be attended freely since May, there is constant fear that restrictions could be dropped back on the UK at any point, especially with the latest news on the omicron variant and recent increase to alert level four.

Mr Ben Quine, having spent four years stationed in Norfolk at RAF Marham, had envisioned the armed services being his ‘career for life’. 

However the disbandment of his section proved to be a turning point in the life of the Wargrave resident.

He said: “Since completing training I spent the majority of my career working on ejection seats on the Tornado GR4 aircraft at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

“As you do with the military, you have to change postings from time to time (often 3-4 years) and that will often involve totally changing the type of work you do.

“The GR4 was going out of service, meaning my job would become obsolete and I would get a new posting.

“Working on ejection seats was fantastic, it’s quite technical and often difficult and something not a lot of people in our trade ever get the opportunity to do (weapons technicians), I couldn’t see how my next posting could come close to the work I had been doing for over 4 years.

“Our section had been drawing down for years and it felt like a pivotal point in my career.

“I had aimed for the RAF to be my career for life, but with my beloved section closing and not being able to go on as many operational tours as I had hoped, it felt like a good time to consider what else I could achieve beyond the RAF while I was still young.”

Originally starting out at Vinco, a sports streaming site, coronavirus and the declining health of his grandmother in Cyprus gave Mr Quine a brain wave.

“Post-RAF I started working for my brother's company Vinco as their Operations Manager.

Reading Chronicle:

Above: Stephen Joseph, who has streamed over 200 funerals


“I learnt a huge amount in a short time and was thrust into high octane live broadcasting work and teams of up to 30 people.

“A large portion of our work was in the sporting industry and our work was very quickly affected by COVID-19, even before any lockdowns.

“I started exploring where else our expertise could be needed, as live-streaming came hand in hand with keeping people connected who couldn’t travel or were worried about putting themselves at risk.

“Whilst I was in the RAF and working away in Cyprus my Gran became ill and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it back.

“My brother and I had discussed the prospect of live-streaming the funeral service if I couldn’t make it back and we realised there could be a demand for just that.”

“I couldn’t bear turning anyone down and in the space of a few months we went from just me travelling all over the country to sometimes streaming 6-8 funerals a day.”

“From my very first funeral live-stream the feedback was overwhelming.

“I think people had quite low expectations and were bowled over by the quality.”

As the fear surrounding the omicron variant ramps up in the lead up to Christmas, the pandemic is going nowhere as we edge toward 2022.

It can come as no surprise that the emotional strain it puts on everyone involved includes those such as Ben.

“We talk to our clients as we plan the live-stream and find out a little, but we won’t really know much more about the person until we’re there.

“You can feel quite connected at times to the person’s funeral who it is that you’re streaming as you find out about them and see what they mean to the people in attendance.

“I think it’s a sign of respect to feel emotional at times but ultimately to know that our service is meaningful and valuable to the people who use us, it makes it all worth it.”

Go to www.funeralstreaming.co.uk to find out more about the service Ben provides.