Charles Cowling



Congratulations to Linda Blakelock and Phil Beach, whose funeral home, Divine Departures, has, after much refurbishment, opened in Gateshead.

Linda is a refreshingly new presence in Funeralworld. She brings all the freshness of an outsider. Phil, on the other hand, is a seasoned professional of 16 years’ standing. 

It was a bad funeral which turned Linda, formerly Culture and Tourism officer with the Regional Development Agency, into an undertaker. She says:

Shortly before she died, Mam was looking at a funeral brochure and she said, ‘I don’t like anything that the funeral directors can offer me. I’ve worked all my life, brought five bairns up and I deserve better that this. I don’t want those four tatty bits of wood, I want something better. 

I didn’t know there was anything else available and we weren’t offered anything different. It actually broke my heart when I found out there were lots of alternatives out there to the standard coffin and she could have had something more fitting. 

What we do is new, bright and different. I want people to realise they have options and lots of choice. If you want a picture, wicker, or cardboard coffin and pallbearers dressed as Elvis Presley or as characters from Star Wars, we can arrange that for you.

We wish them every good fortune. 




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David Holmes
9 years ago

Congratulations. I wish you every success and with your attitude and passion I have no doubt you will be successful in your quest to improve people’s funeral experiences.

9 years ago

thanks for the comments, we are newbies and I know its going to be a hard slog but I love that every day is different and that we can offer so much variety thanks to all the lovely suppliers out there. And yes I do think my mam would be proud!

Jenny Uzzell
9 years ago

Hi, Linda and Phil!
Delighted to hear its all going so well! Hope you have a great Christmas and a very successful New Year!
Jenny and Keith (Saint and Forster)

9 years ago

“…we weren’t offered anything different.” Such a sad and frequently told story.

Linda, I’m sorry to hear it took such a grotesque misrepresentation of the simple truth – as it sadly so often does – to get you involved in the funeral revolution. But I’m glad you are, now, and I feel sure you will balance a disappointing memory for your own family with fulfilling ones for others. Your mam, I’m sure, would be proud of you. Four tatty bits of wood my foot – tell it how it is!