Recommended Funeral Directors
Michael Gamble Funeral Directors Ltd
Address: Station House, Station Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 3AR
Michael Gamble – ably assisted by his wife Clare. A comparative latecomer to funeral directing, Michael was for many years a landscape gardener. He found himself attracted to funerals when helping out a friend in the business. What was the attraction? “I was drawn to the idea of being able to do a job that could make a difference to people’s lives. I had also had my fair share of experiences from the other side of the desk, so to speak, and wanted to use that experience to help others.”
This is a young business run by a couple who are lifelong members of the local community and know it intimately. They are very much ‘one of us’. They are liked and trusted. This is also a small business, so you will not be just another client. You will almost certainly make your funeral arrangements with Michael, and he will be there for you on the day. If not with Michael, you will make the arrangements with Clare or with another funeral director working with them, Nick. What you get here is exactly the sort of careful personal service and attention that most people want.
A great strength of the business is that it is run by people who have not been immersed in the funeral business all their lives. Their approach is fresh, thoughtful and reassuringly normal.
The funeral home is in the old stationmaster’s house, a fine, early Victorian building, well-appointed, in accordance of the status of its former occupant. It is bright and airy and comfortable, not at all gloomy and hushed. What’s more, it has its own parking.
Along with his normality, what sets Michael apart is his calm. He is very much a people person and he’s really pleased to give you all the time you need and let you take things at your own pace. He is a very comfortable person to spend time with, and we really can’t think of a better quality in a funeral director.
He is also very flexible. He likes to find out exactly how you’d like things to be done, and then do it that way. Michael can arrange all sorts of ancillary services for you – order-of-service booklets, audio or video recording, an alternative hearse, flowers, etc. “I make sure that everybody is aware that whatever they may want, however big, small or obscure, we will endeavour to sort it out for them.”
We like Michael and Clare’s staff, too, and this assures us that those who have died are looked after with great care and kindness here.
When not at work Michael likes cycling, spending time with family, looking after his dog and hens, assisting his son with his budding karting career. He is also a retained fire fighter in the village of Painswick where he lives.
Michael has high standards and likes to do things properly and smartly. If it’s a traditional funeral you want he wears the traditional frock coat, a red and burgundy waistcoat, and a top hat – a good look. In an area where traditional values have slipped somewhat among some other local funeral directors, Michael is a firm believer in shouldering a coffin properly, not wheeling it in on a trolley. He’s not a man for short cuts. If you don’t want such a formal affair, Michael is extremely happy to wear whatever you want. For example, in November 2011 he conducted a Glastonbury-themed funeral in his wellington boots. He really is flexible – and never reluctantly so. If you don’t want a hearse, he’s got a Chrysler people carrier. He is looking to acquire vehicles which are kind to the environment.
For Michael it’s very important that you go home feeling that the funeral was a positive experience and that everything was done well. Says Michael, “The important thing is to give people what they want, to talk through their thoughts and their needs and to help them make the right decisions. They only have one chance to carry out a funeral for their loved one so it’s very important that they have all the information that they need and all the time that they need to do it right.” He does a very good job of this.
In a town dominated by a corporate funeral director with extremely high prices, Michael is the real deal: a man who does his best and does all in his power to get it right. He’s a great believer in localism. His coffins come from Gloucester and Somerset, and from just up the road in Cam, where they make the lovely Sunset coffins.
First contact: Your call will be answered either by Michael, his wife Clare or possibly his sister Patsy
Home visits: No problem – around half of Michael and Clare’s clients prefer this.
Embalming: Not unless legally required or pressingly necessary – and only after consulting you, of course.
Continuity of care: Mike, Clare or Nick will be there for you all the way through – no one else.
Family participation: Very happy for you to come in to wash and dress the person who has died.
Same-sex person to wash and dress: Yes, no problem.
Ethnic specialism: Very willing to work with all ethnic and faith groups.
Local celebrants: Really good secular celebrants on their books – Michael’s sister, Patsy, and Karen Imms.
Home-arranged funerals: Happy also to work with those who want to care for their own after death at home.
Visiting: If you want to visit the person who has died you’ll find Michael and Clare very flexible. They’ll stay open for you in the evening and will happily go and fetch anyone who doesn’t drive.
Website: Informative and well presented. Nothing there about prices – but see Money matters below.
Money matters: Prices are very reasonable – and far, far better value than the local corporate undertaker. Michael is happy to help you fill out the forms if you want to make an application to the Social Fund.
Parking: Offstreet parking right outside Station House.
A small husband and wife team which works hard to offer a good, honest service at a reasonable price, and give people exactly what they want. They go the extra mile, and they enjoy doing so. Every client is special. Cotswolders to their fingertips – and a very special quality of calm.