Recommended Funeral Directors
Sussex Funeral Services Ltd
Address: 185 Portland Road, Hove, BN3 5QJ and at 230 Eastern Road, Brighton BN2 5JJ
Sussex Funeral Services is owned and managed by Philip Evans and his wife Sallie. Philip is what you might call one of the new wave of funeral directors who has come to this work motivated by a strong vocation. He does not feel bound by tradition and habit, but has fresh eyes and fresh ways. This doesn’t mean he is in any way a radical. A better way of looking at Philip is as a man who puts principles first, adds a dash of pragmatism and a lot of life experience and brings to his work all the passion of someone who really cares. And he does. Philip is, actually, the son of a funeral director but he didn’t go into the business after leaving school, he went out in the world to get himself some wider life experience, and after a spell in the RAF, he became a policeman. His career encompassed a number of investigative roles with various agencies, including Trading Standards
It was only when Philip's brother died and he spoke about him at his funeral that he thought of becoming a funeral director in his own right. And as he thought, he came to the conclusion that his police work has given him plenty of transferable skills. Now that he is doing the work, he says: “I have never been more at peace with myself.” He has done a foundation course in counselling skills with Cruse Bereavement Care, and he is a qualified funeral celebrant. When not at work Philip and Sallie are members of two local Bowls clubs, enjoy playing Bridge and learning to ballroom dance
Phil met Sallie in 2013, she is an artist who provided some beautiful work for the premises at Hove. The friendship between the two grew into a strong bond that underpinned their relationship and saw them through a difficult period of ill health, and they were married in April 2016. Sallie now looks after the second branch of Sussex Funeral Services in Brighton but provides an overall gentle female approach to caring for clients as well as support for Philip.
For Philip, what you want is paramount. He wants you to have your funeral your way, and he will play the role you want him to – anything from the most traditional role to a much less formal role. As he says, “I am completely in favour of choice for the client.” He means it, too, and will spend all the time it needs to explore those choices with you, sensitively and thoroughly. There’s no hurry! He can offer you any sort of funeral transport you want and, because he is especially concerned to offer environmentally friendly options, he is looking to provide inexpensive horse-drawn transport. As he says, “My business ethos is founded on ensuring that my business has as little impact on the environment as possible.”
In Philip's words, “What’s important to me is that my client is afforded as much choice as is possible in order to be able to make the right decision as to what type of funeral services are appropriate, according to the personality and beliefs of the deceased, the financial implications for the person paying and whether an impact on the environment is a concern to be considered.”
Philip and Sallie are committed to providing their clients with the best possible service at the time of bereavement, and also to supporting them after the day of the funeral. The company will pay for four sessions of one to one bereavement support with a qualified and experienced support practitioner for either their client or any one person designated by them. There is also a community page on their website with details of local events such as Death Cafes and awareness talks.
Philip trained as a celebrant years ago, and is highly experienced in creating meaningful ceremonies for families. For those who do not wish to have a full religious funeral but, rather, one which reflects their own beliefs, he is able to lead your funeral ceremony as well. There are very few funeral directors who can offer this sort of joined-up service.
He has also been trained in bereavement counselling, and is a keen advocate of getting support for those who find themselves needing additional help after a bereavement.
Philip believes in investing in his business, not only his premises but also in the website which brings a lot of clients to them. There is a virtual tour on the Home page where you can see inside their Hove office - a really good way of familiarising yourself before you go there. (If you click the arrow towards the back of the reception area and rotate to the right, you'll see Sallie's beautiful trio of paintings on the wall).
Both of the Sussex Funeral Services premises are lovely - open, airy and contemporary, with comfortable private rooms to discuss funeral arrangements. In the Brighton office, this room can also be used to spend time with the person who has died, although most families are happy to go to the Hove branch to do this where there is more space.
Prices online here. Direct cremation £1500 all in. Or if you want a 'No Fuss' funeral but also want to spend some time with the person who has died beforehand, you can opt for their 'No Fuss with personal hygiene care' option at £1750 which includes washing and dressing the person and visiting them during office hours.
- Your call will be answered by: Philip himself or Sallie.
- You will be seen by either Philip or Sallie and they will be there for you throughout – and for as long after the funeral as you wish.
- Yes to a home visit.
- Yes to you coming in and laying out and dressing the person who has died. Philip is not keen on embalming and will only recommend it if it is absolutely necessary.
- Skilled in the needs of all ethnic groups.
- Will gladly work with those who wish to care for their dead at home: see the Plan Your Own Funeral section of his website.
- Same-sex funeral director to lay out the person who has died if you wish. Sallie often looks after the people in their care.
- Premises light, airy and completely un-gloomy, all freshly refurbished.
- Park outside, or off-road at the pay-and-display car park.
- Really nice website which gives a feeling of the business and their ethos and priorities.
Very good value for money, as you can expect from a business of this size. No packages offered here, but clear transparency. There is the professional fee plus only what you want chosen from a menu of services. Above all, superb personal service from a funeral director who really does live their work. Philip and Sallie are passionate about their work, and about providing a service to their community, with the emphasis on choice.