Our story - J & D Lawson Funeral Directors


J & D Lawson Funeral Directors, then based in Glasgow, began as a side-line to a transport company in the 1890s and was one of many Lawson Brothers’ businesses in the 19th century before becoming the family’s priority in the early 1960s. 

John and David Lawson, the grandfather and father of current Business Principal Alastair Lawson, then decided to focus all their energy into the funeral business. David built bespoke premises in Kirkintilloch in the late 70s, laying the foundations for the business’ rapid modernisation. 

Alastair left an engineering career to join the family business in the early 80s and took over as Managing Director in the mid-90s, overseeing some of the funeral home’s biggest changes with new mortuaries, embalming facilities and staff. 

He met his now-wife and the businesses’ Finance Manager Alison in 1990 after conducting her grandfather’s funeral. She left her job as a financial manager for a food production and distribution company in 2003 and used her experience to support the J & D Lawson’s team and the business administration processes.

“They were very positive, so we contacted Funeral Partners from there.”


When Alastair began thinking about his retirement and without any clear succession from within the family, he started contemplating the future of the business.

He and Alison decided selling was the most viable option but were struggling to find the right partner until they saw an advert from Funeral Partners in a funeral trade publication.  They knew that Funeral Partners had a Chief Executive and Senior Team with many years of experience in the industry.

Alison said: “It said that Sim & Son Funeral Directors in Glasgow had joined Funeral Partners, and Alastair called Steve there to discuss his experience of the acquisition and of Funeral Partners.

“They were very positive, so we contacted Funeral Partners from there.”

J & D Lawson Funeral Directors joined Funeral Partners in late 2021.

The Logistics

The first person that Alastair and Alison met from Funeral Partners was Acquisitions and Mergers Director Steve Wilkinson, followed by David McCarthy, Head of Acquisition Integration.

“I felt at ease with Steve and liked what he had to say about Funeral Partners,” Alison said.

“But the icing on the cake for me was when I met David. We instantly clicked, and I knew I could work with him during the integration.

“This turned out to be straightforward, user-friendly and all of my team warmed to David, who gave us confidence about the future of J & D Lawson and we were completely up and running within ten weeks.

“One of my main concerns had been for my staff, who have been loyal to us for many years, and we were assured their circumstances would not be negatively affected. That was pivotal for us.”

Looking back, Alison said that she would advise other potential acquisition partners that the due diligence process was in places time consuming and quite costly which is important to consider when entering into the sale process. She said that you need the time to dedicate to the legal requirements and a solicitor that is experienced in these types of business transactions to support the process.

Moving Forward

Now, nearly two years since they joined Funeral Partners, Alastair has moved into semi-retirement and enjoying his free time, and Alison has just one objective as she continues in her role.

“Quite simply, I want to have a happy team and a legacy of a successful funeral business,” she said.

“Alastair will retire from the business, but I am happy to continue working for Funeral Partners as long as they are happy to have me.

“The business is still as successful as it always was, we are operating as before with the additional support and structure that being part of a network brings, and still looking after and servicing our local community with the same quality of care.”

The Result

Alison said selling to Funeral Partners and the changes that went with it had undoubtedly been worthwhile because herself, Alistair and the team are now enjoying a better quality of work and personal life.

“We are proud of our business we have built and it remains with our name over the door – J & D Lawson. The changes we have incurred are mainly to meet with Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) rules and regulations,” she said.

“We are now part of a bigger organisation which we have adjusted to and benefited from. With access to professional training and development for the team, new marketing activity, a Human Resources department looking after our employment and welfare needs and time to dedicate to serving our families. One of the biggest advantages has been the changes to our on-call rota, which has freed up evenings and weekends for many of the team here because we have partnered with another local branch.  

“The only concerns from the local community prior to us selling related to potential team changes, but Funeral Partners remained true to their word and we were able to retain our original employees who have continued to uphold our well established reputation.

“I can honestly say that our experience of becoming part of the Funeral Partners family has been overwhelmingly positive.”

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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