Nick Armstrong (30s). Once upon a time an electrician in Newcastle. When work started to dry up, he started to look for something else. “I knew that it had to be a job dealing with people, not stuck in a factory.” At the back of Nick’s mind was the death of his Dad two years before and the lasting memory of what an important job it is that funeral directors do. He found a vacancy as a trainee funeral director with the Co-op and never looked back. Out of death interests include paragliding, paramotoring, kitesurfing and diving. “I know only too well how short life can be,” says Nick, and with hobbies like these that’s just as well. “I have a VW camper that I use quite a lot, especially in the summer. I love to travel and see the world.”
Likes to cut a dash in trad FD attire, all staff in dark green ties. Will happily notch down to light grey suits if you have a ‘no black’ dress code. If you want casual they’ll do casual (it can be amazingly hard to hard to find an FD who will). Mercedes hearse and limousine. “We have used a Volvo estate as a following car/hearse and flower car. I have used my camper van for the funeral of a young person who had one while travelling in Australia.” Will show you all the other options: horse drawn, motorbike, trikes, lorries etc. If he hires one of these for you, he won’t charge you for his own. You’d be horrified how many do.
In Nick’s words, “It is a privilege to be able to really make a difference and help someone through one of the worst times in their life. There is nothing like it. The friends you make and the thank you cards and letters you receive make you realise just how much you have helped.” Loves the way families are becoming more involved in arranging the funeral “like it was before the time of the funeral director when whole communities used to get involved and help out.” Reckons the role of the FD to be more important than ever now that there are so many options available to families. “We can help guide the family so they give their loved one the personal send off they would want.”
Total flexibility and unique ‘little touches’. Says Nick, “We have been told on many occasions that we are human and approachable, quite unlike other FDs in the area. We will move heaven and earth to give a family the personal service they have come to expect from us. It’s a challenge sometimes but its one we all love.” Great believer that only an independent FD can do this: “We need to change. Funeral directors have been stuck in their ways for too long now and times are changing. Those willing to change will seize the opportunities; those that won’t or can’t will disappear thereby changing our profession, which will ultimately have an enormous benefit to the families who, as some funeral directors fail to realise, are the ones that we work for and who really matter.” Highly committed to continuous improvement: “I honestly feel that no-one can touch us or even come close. That may sound big headed but we are constantly looking at how we do things and how we can do it better so our training never stops.”
Your call will be answered by either Nick, Wendy Garnham (manager) or Julianna Stubbs (funeral arranger). Yes to home visits, but suggest you go to them where there’ll be no interruptions and everyone is on hand to help out. No to routine embalming, but they’ll suggest it if they think it a good idea. Nick is a qualified embalmer. Same sex person to lay out the body if you wish: Wendy does females. Happy to serve all ethnic groups. Very happy if you want to come in and wash the body. No problem whatever with working with home funeralists. Outstanding celebrant, Jo Donlevy (jodonlevy.com), on the books if you want a non- or semi-religious funeral. Nick and his men always attend the ceremony (very unusual, this, and much to be applauded.) Celebrated for their hymn singing. Unusually excellent website, full of useful information. a superb assortment of useful info you can download and even a lively blog—the only undertaker’s blog in the UK. Direct cremation price: £1850 all-in.
Warm, welcoming, good humoured. “He’s a lovely man,” says a client. Infinitely adaptable. They all love their work here, and that means looking after you as well as they can. This is a young, forward-looking enterprise, full of vitality and emotional intelligence. Extremely well spoken of by all who have used it.
Tuesday 28th March 2017 at 11:59 am
Many thanks for all your help, kindness and sympathy. The service is just what my husband Bob would have wanted. Particularly AC/DCs Thunderstruck!
Tuesday 21st February 2017 at 5:26 pm
From the moment we met you until the day you took care of our lovely mum
You made our hardest day easier for us
You are are local trusted firm very caring professional and every little detail was completed by yourselfs
We received lots of comments about the service on the day
Thank you from our hearts for all your support
You done our mum proud
Saturday 7th January 2017 at 4:30 pm
We would like to thank Armstrongs for helping us through such a difficult time. Sadly my husband passed away in December. We arranged a funeral through Woodland Burials who use Armstrongs as their funeral director. We visited them at their office in Bury St Edmunds and from the start found them to by sympathetic, sensitive and supportive. We wanted to arrange the funeral quickly and Armstrongs helped to get everything organised quickly and efficiently. We were put in touch with a celebrant, Adrian Graves, who was excellent.
At the ceremony the pall bearers were very unobtrusive and sensitive to the situation and the service was everything we could have wished for in the circumstances.
I would definitely recommend Armstrongs. They are a local, family business and made the whole process as painless as possible, which is what we needed at such a difficult time.
Monday 7th December 2015 at 5:23 pm
My mum died earlier this year. Thanks to Armstrongs, I was able to plan for her a lovely, fitting, very personal goodbye. All staff offered great support and showed themselves to be kind, friendly, empathetic and totally professional. I would not hesitate to recommend this company.
Thursday 17th December 2015 at 5:49 pm
Thank you so much for your kind comments, Nick
Tuesday 19th May 2015 at 10:38 am
In 2014, we lost my partner Andrew’s beloved Mother Valerie and approached Armstrongs Funeral Service to take care of the Funeral for us. From the outset, Nick and the team offered a compassionate and respectful service to us. As it was the first time either of us had arranged a funeral, Nick took the time to explain each step to us and was on call to answer any queries we may have.
We wanted to give Valerie the send send off she so deserved where we could celebrate her life in a way she would have wanted. Nick was able to help us design a coffin that’s was adorned with colourful Elephants, it was beautiful and such a kind gesture that none of us will forget.
Armstrongs offer a bespoke service that is tailored compassionately to suit the individual requirements of each family losing a loved one. You really feel that arrangements are in safe hands at what can be such a vulnerable time.
Thursday 17th December 2015 at 5:51 pm
Thanks for your lovely comments Gemma, Ive passed them on to the team.
The coffin was something else wasn’t it