EVERY teen looks forward to their 16th birthday, but for one Newport girl, it marks the next stage in her career.

Rachael Ryan takes on a new role as a director in the family business, Michael G Ryan Son and Daughters Funeral Directors, today and her father believes she could be the world’s youngest independent female family funeral director.

The St Joseph’s School pupil, who will be starting sixth form in September, has been helping out at the Malpas business since she was 13, carrying out clerical duties. But for the past year, Rachael has been taking on a more hands-on role, helping at funerals, witnessing the embalming process and learning how to line a coffin.

Her dad, Mike, said: “She’s taking on the business as of today, but she’ll still be staying on to do sixth form at school.

“She is possibly the youngest female funeral director in the country, if not the world. I’m very proud that she’s going to be joining the business.”

Rachael is following in the footsteps of her older sister Louise, 21, who joined the family business in 2008 and is also a director.

Louise said: “I started full time about five years ago.

Working with the family is great because you get a lot of support. I think she’ll enjoy it.”

Among Rachael’s new duties will be arranging funerals and leading hearses to churches and crematoria in traditional top hat and tails.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Proud day for dad

TEENAGER Rachael Ryan didn’t need to seek out school advice before deciding on her career path For she has had it all worked out.

And like her sister before her, she has joined the family firm of Michael G Ryan Son and Daughters Funeral Directors.

For many, this may seem an unusual choice at the tender age of 16, but for Rachael, there was simply no alternative.

It was what she had always planned to do. When she starts work today, she could well be the youngest female funeral director in the country.

We admire her commitment to the family business and her sense of direction at such a young age.

And we can fully understand why her father is so very proud of both of his daughters.