Our story - Thorne Leggett and Kemp & Stevens


Ronald Thorne joined Kemp & Stevens Funeral Directors in Alton, Hampshire in the 1940s as an apprentice and took over the business in the 1960s from his previous employer. His son Geoffrey Thorne joined the business in the 1970s.

With ambitions to expand, he teamed up with experienced funeral director David Leggett in 1991 to establish another respected name: Thorne Leggett Funeral Directors, and their first office opened soon after in Whitehill with much success.

Geoffrey’s sons Michael and Robin joined in the late 1990s. David retired in 2009, and Geoffrey opened the second office in Farnham in 2012.

In December 2021 Funeral Partners acquired Thorne Leggett and Kemp & Stevens.

“Research had shown them that Funeral Partners had a different feel compared to other large organisations”


Running your own business has a host of positives, but the pressures were beginning to take their toll on Michael and Robin’s family life.

“So many times we had taken calls in the evening or at weekends and at one point my wife said to me I spent more time helping other people than I did my own family,” Masonry Manager and Funeral Director Michael said.

“Something had to give. We had to get rid of some of the pressure – we were juggling so many balls in the air.”

Michael described joining Funeral Partners as a “weight off his shoulders” which has allowed him to spend more time with his children at weekends, focus on his health when he fell ill and know he has support at work.

Funeral Partners was the only potential partner the Thornes considered after spotting a trade press advertisement.

“There was no hard sell, no pushiness,” Michael added.

The Logistics

Funeral Partners provided support to the Thorne Leggett team in the early days of integration.

“It was great to know we had a friendly face we could count on,” Michael said.

“The first couple of weeks were difficult. We were very busy and were arranging and conducting funerals which had been arranged pre-acquisition, so there was lots to do.

“There was someone there to give us a little bit of a nudge and say, ‘Don’t forget you need to look at these forms’ or whatever we needed to do.”

“We were warned the first weeks and months would be difficult, and it wasn’t easy, but we were well supported.”

Michael admitted preparation for the acquisition required more time than anticipated and suggested any other potential vendors allocate time appropriately for their due diligence.

An earn-out was included to reward the former owners for the business’s continued success. This is an additional amount paid to the former owners based on exceeding a modest performance target.

Michael said, “It was a pleasant surprise when we were told we had achieved it.”

Moving Forward

Michael said the branches had received investment, and that the central Funeral Partners systems had allowed his team to focus more on bereaved families and their needs.

“There is more paperwork, understandably, and it is not any more than we should have been doing previously,” he said

Since compliance with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as well as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became law, many former owners have expressed their relief to have guidance from Funeral Partners support teams in compliance.

“There are no grey areas for us now, the team know what they have to be doing and we have adapted to the Funeral Partners way.

The Result

With the backing of Funeral Partners, Michael and his brother have enjoyed a seamless transition in terms of the day-to-day running of the business, there was no obvious differences, things have  carried on as normal.

“The major thing which hasn’t changed is the way we deal with clients.

“We’re doing the same things which made us successful and led people to trust us, just with the Funeral Partners systems running in the background.

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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