Somerset

Ex-hairdresser uses embalming skills for taxidermy

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Media captionFormer hairdresser Liz Davis was named Britain's embalmer of the year

Most people consider a career change at some point in their lives, but a former hairdresser from Minehead has made one of the more unusual choices - embalming.

At the age of 47, Liz Davis has also developed taxidermy skills - creating a niche market for stuffed mice and rats dressed as well-known characters.

Ms Davis's expertise has led to her winning the Embalmer of the Year at the Good Funeral Awards 2013.

It is an accolade she is proud of, for a job she finds very rewarding.

'Take your time'

Speaking of her embalming work, she said: "You are working one-to-one.

"It's just you and the person you are working with, and it's about putting all your skills into practice and being able to take your time.

"I'm not someone who embalms [at] speed. I take the time that's needed and go right through to do the hair, nails, make up if the family requests - to make [the deceased person] look as peaceful as possible."

Ms Davis spends her time embalming by day and focuses on the taxidermy at night, using frozen mice and rats from a pet shop.

She said: "I've got a lot of everything - if anyone finds any roadkill, they always come round and knock on my door.

"My freezer is now full, and I've now taken over my mother's freezer - I've got rooks, crows, pheasants, I've got people's parrots...

"I've got my mother's canary... budgies, barn owls and buzzards."

The animals she works on cost from £45, based on the time it takes to "style" the animal.

Requests have included a punk rat, a Roman centurion and a version of the movie serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

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