Recommended Funeral Directors
A & A Doyle Ltd
Address: 10 Bank Street, Galashiels TD1 1EN
Allan and Awdri Doyle, a husband and wife team. Their relatively new business opened its doors in January 2012. The couple are extremely personable: warm, friendly, approachable, passionate about their work. Allan was born and brought up in the town and it is particularly important for him to not let his birthplace down in any way. Awdri’s parents were funeral directors in Gorebridge, who sold off their business when she was in her late teens, when she could not at that time, she recalls, imagine a worse job. Even so, Awdri did help her parents out by taking calls etc and clearly understood the business from a young age. It was only after the business had been sold, and after she had married and started a family, that she felt drawn back to funeral work, and took a part time job working for one of the big enterprises. She then realised it was time to try to set up as an independent funeral director herself. Awdri is also an organist by training – and she had kept her connections with funeral work over the years by playing at services. The premises are in the heart of Gala, open Monday-Friday from 9.30am-4pm and on Saturday from 9am-12noon. The ‘shop window’ is very welcoming: there are no net curtains, no blinds, no hint of wood panelling. “We want people to be able to see in,” Awdri explains. “We hope people will pop in and ask questions.” The interior is bright, well-lit and you can clearly see Awdri at work, just the other side of the glass. Inside, the colour scheme is fresh and muted, there are a couple of easy chairs, plants and a small fish tank, as well as appropriate leaflets on display.
Awdri and Allan will wear the usual, formal funeral director’s uniform and will add colours in the form of a buttonhole flower if the family request bright colours be worn. They also dress relatively formally in the office – a suit for Allan and a dark trouser suit for Awdri, with a red blouse, their corporate colours. If you would like a less formal funeral, they will gladly dress down. Galashiels people, at present, tend to favour the traditional in many ways. Only one of their funerals this year has involved a less usual coffin – a picture coffin –but Awdri and Allan do anticipate some traditions may become less important over the coming years. “Our market in the Scottish borders is very traditional,” they say. “But our ultimate principle is to provide a dignified and respectful service at all times. But we would consider any client request seriously.”
The principles and values which the couple espouse are summed up in their Golden Rule: ‘Do everything for your families as if they were your own’. In fact, Awdri’s father died just a few weeks before we went to see her – and, although other funeral directors wanted to help out, she preferred to do everything for her father herself. “You really have to listen to families, to find out exactly what they want. You have to let them know all the options and you need to give them all the appropriate information.” Anything is possible, she believes, ‘as long as it does not compromise the dignity of and respect for the deceased’. “It is all about empowering each family,” Awdri concludes, “about reassuring them and giving them confidence to go with what they want to do. There should be no rules about funerals.” It is our judgement that Allan and Awdri look after those who have died with the greatest of care and respect.
Allan and Awdri will give you the time you need – as much or as little as you wish. Some people like to get everything done in 20 minutes, some like to take much longer – two-and-a-half hours is at the other end of the scale. Similarly, some families prefer their funeral directors to keep a professional distance at all times, others want to forge a different kind of relationship, and there are those who fall in between. Allan and Awdri understand this. Allan says: “We work in a small community, where we also live. Lots of our clients are already known to us. For those who are not, we take the lead from them.” Awdri says: “Sometimes you are the first person that they have really spoken to about things. Families can – and do – offload to you, if they wish, often some time after the event. We go with the flow, we have no timetable.We are not trained counsellors, but we are always here for a blether.”
Your call will be answered by Allan or Awdry, and they will look after you all the way through. Yes to visiting you at home. Embalming is not a routine procedure here and they will discuss it with you if they think it may be desirable. Very happy for you to come in and lay out and dress the person who’s died. Same-sex person available to do this if you wish. They willingly accommodate the funeral customs of all faiths. If you want to care for the person who has died at home they will offer you whatever support you ask for. Good secular celebrants on their books. If you wish to visit the person who has died, you can come any day, anytime and spend as long as you wish. If you wish to hold the funeral service at the funeral home, there is room for 25-30 people. Funeral costs are clearly displayed in the arranging area and are broken down into categories: professional services; additional services and disbursements. You will receive a full written estimate of costs as soon as possible after the arrangement interview. Details of the basic funeral offered are also displayed on the price list.
The very best sort of local funeral director run by people who live at the heart of their community and understand it very well indeed. Allan and Awdri are lovely people who really understand what they are here to do. As Awdri says, “The family should feel they have done their best by their loved one. At the end of the day, they should have a funeral which reflects their wishes and familial traditions. Our part is to listen, advise and draw together all the strands, to provide a completely satisfying package of services which reflects our clients’ wishes, not ours.” Pop in at any time to record your funeral wishes. “It is not a legal document,” Awdri stresses. “But it is useful to know what someone would like for their funeral.” The service is provided free of charge. You should compare prices with other local funeral directors. You will find that Allan and Awdri offer extremely good value for money.