Recommended Funeral Directors
Liddell Funeral Services
Address: 18, The Swallows, Wallsend NE28 9YQ
Colin Liddell is the principal – warm, funny and utterly capable, he instantly imparts confidence that you are talking to a man who knows his stuff. Colin has had a working lifetime dealing with the bereaved in one way or another, starting as a mortuary assistant when he was 16 and then working as a coroner’s officer and a family liaison officer during his time in the police force. He gained the Diploma In Funeral Directing (DipFD) back in 1998 and is respected locally by his peers, and nationally by the industry, still holding the accolade as the longest-serving editor of The Journal – the magazine of the British Institute of Funeral Directors (although he resigned his membership some time ago). He is a fellow of the Institute of Civil Funerals, and could be described as well ahead of his time – he bought the domain name funeraldirector.com in 1997, the year before Google went live!
Colin’s company can best be described as boutique. He works from his home office, and meets families either at their homes or in his bright and airy kitchen. Colin personally supervises every aspect of every funeral arrangement and clearly relishes the opportunity to give clients what they want and what they need. This style of working is highly specialist and personal, yet offers outstanding value for money. He sub-contracts storage to funeral directors he approves of, and hires in funeral vehicles as required. If families want to spend time with the person who died Colin uses a chapel of rest in nearby Seaton Delaval.
He has a passion for transparency and de-mystifying and normalizing the subject of death, believing that in doing so people can be encouraged to plan in advance what they want for their funeral. (Pre-planning is something he greatly encourages, believing being armed with information well in advance is by far the best way to empower the public).
In 2003, and again, ahead of the times, Colin organized the first public exhibition of coffins and caskets (in Belsay Hall, Northumberland) where the public was invited to examine and inspect coffins in a very neutral venue.
When not funeral directing he can be found under the bonnet of a classic car or cycling - when he has the time.
A conviction that no two people are alike and no funerals should be. Within Colin’s toolbox is a list of contacts from celebrants of all persuasions, a list of alternative transport and as he puts it, the most important part, an open mind.
He is difficult to categorize as he blends the very traditional (top hat, tail coat) with a more contemporary dress if preferred - whatever his clients wish, he delivers. Colin believes that families are best served by giving them as much information as they need to make an informed choice. His stock cars are Mercedes, he does have access to four pre-1960 Rolls Royce and Bentley cars should the family wish. He also has a modern estate car should a family prefer not to use a traditional hearse.
Colin is hugely proud to be seen as independent and differentiates himself with the personal service he is able to afford his clients. He does not spend time in care homes building up ‘useful contacts,’ nor does he take any commission from those he uses to provide outside services (florists, caterers and the like). He is proud of this, believing that being ethical is an obvious important quality in any business, but vital to those who seek to serve the bereaved.
When engaging Colin’s services it will be clear to the client that they are put first every time, all of the time. You will receive a consistently high standard of excellence in service from someone who has comprehensive knowledge and can handle anything from a direct cremation through to international repatriation anywhere in the world.
His documentation states ‘Every funeral is personally supervised by Colin Liddell’ and he is proud to say it is. He provides a written estimate in advance of order and publishes his prices in a clear format. He is happy to provide a cardboard coffin at cost and has no interest in upselling anything. A great number of his clients are repeat customers with whom he has enjoyed a trading relationship with for many years. He is the go-to undertaker for the local Ghanaian community in Newcastle and beyond, repatriating all over the world if required. If ever there was a case of one size won’t fit all, it is Colin’s approach to work. Every service is unique, just like the person.
Your First Call: Will only be answered by Colin. He also answers all emails personally.
Direct cremation £1700 all in - see here.
Home Visits: Keenly encouraged, also it is a given that people who are grieving can change their minds and he is happy to return and re-visit any arrangements should a family decide upon change.
Embalming: When required, and always in conjunction with the wishes of the family. He is keen to stress that it is not possible should one of the local woodland burial venues be selected.
Continuity of Care: Every aspect is personally supervised, from the administration, to the collection of the deceased, even down to sourcing music and taking it to the crematorium in advance of the service.
Family Participation: as little or as much as you wish. Often families wish to dress, groom and get involved, this can always be accommodated.
Same sex person to wash and dress: If you want it, no problem, just ask.
Ethnic Specialism: A good understanding of the observances of all faith groups.
Local Celebrants: He has a very good relationship with celebrants from all major organizations. He has been involved in training celebrants, so he knows what constitutes a good one.
Home Arranged Funerals: Will provide free advice and will work with you in any way to facilitate your wishes.
Website: funeraldirector.com explains his journey and exactly what he offers. It is clear and informative.
Client Support: He does enjoy a very good relationship with his clients and catching up with them is a great opportunity to ensure all is well. He can link in with other services as required.
Money Matters: With pre-planning the client has a great opportunity to shop around. His prices are cheaper than the major players and on par with the many other independents. Colin is highly qualified and has a tremendous canon of support from other professionals. He is keen to advocate payment upon completion of instructions as this means that the funeral you get is the one you are paying for; he does not build the presumption of non-payment into the costs. There are no “cheaper if paid in full, or by cash” incentives. He has very low overheads and this too keeps him keenly competitive.
Parking: He has a home office with a large drive; the chapel of rest he uses has ample free parking.
Highly-qualified, visionary, with huge experience and likeable to boot. There is a confidence, which the client will feel on the first meeting that this man enjoys delivering the best quality available and does so day-in day out. Testaments on his webpage from his satisfied clients also illustrate the care he invests in each, unique funeral he undertakes.