Fifty-year-old family business joins Funeral Partners

Established family funeral business John Blenkiron & Sons, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, has joined the growing Funeral Partners family.

The business, founded by John Blenkiron in 1967 and now managed by his twin sons James and John, serves the communities of North Yorkshire and County Durham from its offices in Richmond and Barnard Castle. The brothers are supported by a team of ten loyal and dedicated staff.

Brothers Michael and Richard Blenkiron have retired from the funeral business to continue running Blenkirons Joinery, while their sister Sarah Thwaites and Michael’s daughter, Rebecca Blenkiron, will continue to provide administrative support as the business becomes part of the UK’s third largest funeral services provider.

James Blenkiron explained: “We liked the vision of Funeral Partners CEO Sam Kershaw, which is to build on the Blenkiron brand. We feel we are still able to continue serving our communities in the same way as we have for 50 years as an independent family-run business.”

James’ father was the third generation of his family to work in the funeral profession, starting his own business in Richmond. John Snr established himself at the heart of the local community, serving as Mayor of Richmond, a town councillor, local magistrate, school governor and church warden at St Mary’s Church.

Sons John and James entered the funeral profession from school, both joining the family business during the 1980s when it expanded into County Durham with the acquisition of two respected Teesdale family firms, Thomas Lee and Sons and Edwin Wilkinson and Son.

Both John and James are members of the British Institute of Funeral Directors and, locally, are members of The Company of Mercers, Grocers and Haberdashers of Richmond, the senior of the town’s 13 companies of merchants and craftsmen. James is a past Warden of the Company.

Blenkiron’s Richmond funeral home moved to larger premises in the town’s former cottage hospital some 17 years ago, and the Barnard Castle office moved into its current town centre premises as the business expanded. Among the communities Blenkiron’s serves is the British Army’s largest Garrison, Catterick, including providing training for conducting military funerals.

James said: “We are both passionate about continuing to provide the highest levels of care to families and service to our community, maintaining the reputation we have helped to build up over more than 30 years.

“We look forward to Funeral Partners’ support to grow the brand, and hope to open further branches to serve more families in our region.”

Funeral Partners’ Regional Development Director Tara Cameron said: “John Blenkiron & Sons have an outstanding reputation as one of the best funeral directors in North Yorkshire and County Durham. We are delighted to be working with James and John and investing in their successful business, particularly as we are looking to grow our presence in the North East of England.”

Any Funeral Directors considering selling their businesses should contact Funeral Partners Chief Executive Officer Sam Kershaw on 07834 531822, email: