A funeral business boasting more than 80 years of rich history has become the latest addition to the Funeral Partners family.
The team at Gordon Fletcher and Sons, which operates three funeral homes in County Durham, said that keeping their family name and ensuring job security for their team were among the key reasons for deciding to join Funeral Partners’ growing network, which is now the third largest funeral services company in the country.
The family-run business was originally set up in 1938 by Thomas Atkinson Fletcher, who combined arranging funerals with joinery work.
His son, Gordon Fletcher then took over and renamed the business Gordon Fletcher and Sons, which dealt with construction work as well as funerals.
His children, Peter and Colin, were encouraged to study and despite gaining qualifications in the building trade, remained closely tied to the funeral sector.
Colin has been with the business since 1982, while Peter started officially in 2008 when the construction firm closed but both have been involved for as long as they can remember.
Both Colin and Peter are still managing the day-to-day operations in their role as Business Principals.
Commenting on their decision to join Funeral Partners, Peter, said: “We won’t be here forever, and there’s nobody in the family who can take over, so we have got to look to the future and safeguard the legacy of the business and the future security of our staff. There are people who have been with us for 15 and 20 years.
“Working with Funeral Partners has meant we can keep them on, and to enable us to continue with business as usual supporting our community and bereaved families.
“We’ve been able to keep our identity, our heritage and feel like we have their respect.”
Their original premises in Spennymoor was recently extended to include a new reception area, while their Ferryhill office, which opened in 1997, is named Lazarus House. This is due to the extensive restoration work that was necessary to restore the former church back to its old glory for it then to be used as an office, rest room and chapel.
The third site at Newton Aycliffe opened in 2011.
Speaking about the journey the business has taken, Peter said: “The last three years have been eye opening for us with the Covid pandemic and the fact that last year we had our busiest ever three-month period for funerals.”
Colin added: “We’ve been in the funeral business since we were children, either officially or unofficially.
“It’s a vocation and our father always taught us to conduct every funeral like it was for one of our own family members.
“Funeral Partners haven’t tried to change the way we deal with our families, in fact, they’ve been really supportive and protective of our values, whilst helping us manage issues such as compliance and other important regulations. Plus, there has been investment in new furniture, technology, equipment and marketing support.
“Working with them will allow us to continue to do what we do best.”
Sam Kershaw, Funeral Partners Chief Executive, said: “Gordon Fletcher and Sons is exactly the sort of business we want to work with. They have an exemplary reputation and decades of history and experience.
“It’s fantastic they have chosen us, and I look forward to helping write the next chapter in their story. We welcome Colin, Peter and the team to our family of businesses.”