The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Call it quits

Friday, 19 October 2012


From the Oxford Times:

The former owner of Oxford’s last independent funeral directors has spoken of the difficult decision she made in selling the business.

S & R Childs, which has four branches in the city, is now part of Dignity, the UK’s biggest provider of funeral services.

Sandra Homewood was one of the founders of the business in 1997 and said: “Selling a business that you have nurtured and developed over many years is not a task to be undertaken lightly.”

She said Dignity had assured her that it would be “business as usual” for the company, which will continue to trade in the same way.

Full story here

News just in from Taunton: Thomas Brothers are in negotiation with Dignity plc.


18 comments on “Call it quits

  1. Thursday 7th February 2013 at 2:02 pm

    So did I!

  2. Thursday 7th February 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I think they’re on to it now, Andrew!

    • andrew plume

      Thursday 7th February 2013 at 2:01 pm

      ………should be, I tipped them off



  3. andrew plume

    Thursday 7th February 2013 at 11:33 am

    I’m pleased to report that a strong Oxon based Indy has just opened in Headington, Oxford as an alternative to the F’care/Dignity combo that are pretty well dominating Oxford:-

    good luck to them


    • Thursday 7th February 2013 at 11:54 am

      Thanks a lot for that, Andrew. Most encouraging. One small caveat: my antivirus software is presently very scared of it and tells me urgently not to go there! I’ll give them a ring.

      • andrew plume

        Thursday 7th February 2013 at 12:35 pm

        thanks Charles

        there is a problem with their IT at the Oxford end, as I’ve found



  4. andrew plume

    Thursday 15th November 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Charles

    Thomas Brothers now appear on the Dignity http://www…………….and I see that you’ve removed them from ‘the recommended list’



  5. Friday 26th October 2012 at 7:51 pm

    The very best of luck to you Lucy. I know I’m a little way away, but if I can be of any help before (or after) you get your premises sorted, please just ask.

  6. Friday 26th October 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Lucy, every good wish for your venture – it sounds like a great, personal and thoughtful service that you are offering. Good Luck!

  7. Friday 26th October 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks Rosie,

    Yes, I will be launching The Individual Funeral Company this weekend at the Kicking the Bucket Festival!
    We are in the process of negotiating a lease on the premises, but our aim is that we are open in the next 4-8 weeks.
    We will be the newest and only family owned funeral director within Oxford City.
    Until the premises is ready to recieve clients, I will still be able to arrange funerals in clients homes or another place the client specifies. I am also avalible to hire per hour or per day to deal with any matters families feel they are unable to do themselves if they are doing a DIY funeral.
    I look forward to seeing some of you in Bonn Square this Saturday!

    • andrew plume

      Friday 26th October 2012 at 9:15 pm

      Lucy, this is terrific

      ……….particularly since I bemoaned the loss of Oxford’s (excepting the northern ‘burbs) only Indy

      Oxford badly needs a ‘corporate’ challenger, Funeralcare are way too strong there, thankfully where I am, they are pretty well non-existent, being consistently caned by a much loved Indy

      my best


    • andrew plume

      Saturday 17th November 2012 at 10:40 am

      Hi Lucy

      an ‘update’ (hate the use of that expression personally…) on your new business is much anticipated, the hold that Funeralcare have on Oxford is, imo, unacceptabe and we now have Dignity at last mounting some kind of a challenge……….albeit corporate



      • Wednesday 5th February 2014 at 1:58 pm

        Andrew…I have only just seen your post, but four months late is better than not at all!

        We opened our doors in September 2013 and we have already received some excellent feedback from our clients on Funeral Advisor.

        It has been a pretty challenging few months, but we are going strong! We have added our first fulltime member of staff…our French Bulldog Joplin!

        I don’t think anything ever fully prepares you for owning a business and the challenges you face every day. It can be a pretty lonely experience, but I have been so lucky with all the help I have and continue to receive from others in the industry.

  8. Thursday 25th October 2012 at 10:52 am

    I have some fantastic news!!

    There is a new undertaker about to open her doors in Oxford.

    ‘The Individual Funeral Company’ Will be launched this Saturday at the ‘Kicking the Bucket Festival’ exhibition in Bonn Square.

    I hope regular bloggers will come and say hello, I’ll be in the NDC or ANBG stand.


  9. Charles

    Tuesday 23rd October 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Precisely! I was waiting for someone to say that!

    • andrew plume

      Wednesday 24th October 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Hi Charles

      as I ‘read it’, Thomas Brothers (who I appreciate have ‘been recommended’ on here) haven’t been doing that many for a little time, there are three other established Indy’s in Taunton (including one in particular) who have the majority of the local trade

      Dignity (with two shops, I belive) and Funeralcare with one, do very little

      thankfully, something different than when compared to Oxford



  10. Tuesday 23rd October 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I wish them well – but why do people selling-up always say ‘nothing will change’ when they know full well that almost everything will change?

    Incredible that no family owned funeral director now trades in Oxford. Surely they have created a gap in the market for someone..

    • andrew plume

      Wednesday 24th October 2012 at 4:51 pm


      exactly, substitute that with “……nearly everything will change…………”

      as I live around 18 miles north of Oxford, I follow ‘the local market’ as closely as I can – I’d known for a few weeks that she had sold out……I believe that previously she worked for Dignity in another role, so I had been anticipating this for sometime

      Funeralcare are very large, in fact too large in the greater Oxford area, whereas prior to this deal, Dignity weren’t great shakes at all in Oxon

      there is one Indy within the Oxford catchment area, Jerrams Bros in Woodstock and Kidlington but Oxford rents are high so that may hinder a new Indy starting up but the area badly needs one. Oh and on top of all of this corporate stranglehold, Dignity own the Crem too



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