Our story - Eaves Funeral Service


Eaves Funeral Service was formed by William Eaves – better known as Billy – and his business partner Derek Crosby in November 1961 and has been serving the community in Whitehaven, Cumbria, ever since. 

The firm has always been a family affair with the team now including Billy’s son Philip Eaves, his daughter Julia Jolly and son-in-law Mike Jolly.

Billy himself took a well-deserved retirement at the age of 81 in 2022, at the time of the acquisition of the business by Funeral Partners.

“First and foremost, we’re pleased to know that the future of the business is secured and that the name is still there for the community that we serve.”


With no natural successor in the family, the team at Eaves Funeral Service wanted to safeguard the future of the business which led them to begin discussions with Funeral Partners.

Business Principal Mike Jolly said research had shown them that Funeral Partners had a different feel compared to other large organisations.

He said: “We very much felt as though the DNA of our business would be respected, that our years in the business and expertise would be valued and, most importantly, our name and reputation would be held in high regard.”

The Logistics

Mike said the work to bring Eaves Funeral Service into Funeral Partners started immediately, and although there was lots to do and changes to make, support was there every step of the way, including a member of the Acquisitions Team on site to guide them through the process.

“Things moved very swiftly, aided by our own grasp of any changes and although some days were a little hectic, we feel as though everything was managed well and within a timescale to suit us,” he said.

Mike praised Funeral Partners and in particular the acquisition team for their professional,  caring and understanding approach.

“We felt as though everyone was appreciative of us, our business, and our situation. Moreover, we felt as though we were working with people rather than for them.”

“Some aspects take time to get used to and there are still questions which arise, but we know we have people we can refer to who can answer these swiftly.”

Moving Forward

Funeral Partners recruited two new staff members to support the team at Eaves,  lessening the amount of times team members are on call which they are very appreciative of.

Mike acknowledged the advantages of being part of a bigger network and now having a support system to refer to and call upon for assistance as and when needed.

Refurbishment of their funeral home is on the horizon, and Mike said he and his family felt excited about the future – short, medium, and long term.

“First and foremost, we’re pleased to know that the future of the business is secured and that the name is still there for the community that we serve.

“If the business continues to grow as it has done in recent years, it will be interesting to see where that takes us, whether that be other local businesses joining Funeral Partners or an expansion of our brand.”

The Result

Mike said that the team was still providing the top-class care Eaves had become renowned for and that he had absolutely no regrets in joining Funeral Partners.

Mikes doesn’t feel as if quality of service has been compromised in any way since becoming part of Funeral Partners, in many ways it’s as if nothing has changed.

“The way in which we deal with our clients for arranging and conducting funerals is exactly the same,” he said.

“From day one, this was an area that was as important to us as it was for Funeral Partners – continuity of our service and standards to our clients.”


Partner Stories

John Blenkiron & Sons – Our Story

Read the full story

Ian Chambers & Jeff Brighty’s Story

Read the full story

Lynne Walker’s

Read the full story

Interested in becoming a Funeral Partner?

Call either Sam Kershaw (Chief Executive Officer) on

07834 531 822

or Steve Wilkinson (Mergers & Acquisitions Director) on

07528 970 531