Greater Manchester funeral homes join Funeral Partners to adapt to changing industry

Two allied Greater Manchester funeral businesses have joined the Funeral Partners family as the need to adapt to changes in the funeral profession becomes ever greater.

David Gresty, former owner of Arthur Gresty Funeral Homes and C L Birkett & Son Funeral Directors, with branches in Altrincham, Northenden, Urmston and Stretford, made the decision to allow his family’s business to focus on serving local people with the support of a trustworthy network.

David’s grandfather Arthur worked as a self-employed car mechanic in the 1930s and became familiar with the funeral industry by loaning fleets of vehicles to funeral directors. He began carrying out funerals for the local community with his son Robert joining to help in the 1960s. By the 1970s, Arthur formally founded Arthur Gresty Funeral Homes, with Robert taking over following his father’s death in 1988.

The business helped Cedric Birkett launch C L Birkett & Son Family Funeral Directors in 1985 by lending essential supplies such as hearses, forming the beginning of a positive alliance between the two families that has continued to this day.

Arthur Gresty gained a strong reputation over the decades which grew when Robert’s son, David, joined his father in the family business in 1995. David went on to acquire C L Birkett & Son in 2015 following Cedric’s retirement.

David was joined by Cedric’s son, Paul Birkett, who managed the C L Birkett branches. The pair have continued to build the business and strengthen their community links and presence through regular charity work. They now look forward to spending more time in their local area with families that need their support as Business Principal and Manager under Funeral Partners.

David said: “The Covid-19 outbreak was a wake-up call that made me realise my colleagues and I want to be there for bereaved families without being distracted or our time being taken away by important yet growing administration duties.”

David had kept in touch with key members of the Funeral Partners team over the years, watching the business grow through acquisitions and seeing the benefits it had to offer.

He said: “Funeral Partners was always our first choice if I was going to sell the business, as they will allow us to run business as usual. With the blessing of my late father, Robert, we were delighted to take this next step in our journey.”

Phil Barr, Regional Development Director of Funeral Partners in the North, added: “David and Paul are highly respected individuals around Altrincham, Northenden, Urmston and Stretford, and we are keen to help them fulfil the ambition of focusing on the front line, looking after local families and funeral directing.”

Sam Kershaw, CEO of Funeral Partners, concluded: “These businesses have a long history together and with our support and investment we will help them continue to flourish for many years. We welcome them as part of the Funeral Partners family.”