Johanna Loveridge. Here is a comparatively new funeral home (opened in 2009) run by a brilliant, born-again funeral director. Before she opened Albany, Jo ran a care home. Her warmth and capability have ensured rapid growth. Word is getting out; people like what she does and the way that she does it.
Jo is incredibly nice, and we cannot imagine anyone not taking to her at once. No airs and graces here, just kindness and friendliness and good manners. She’s a class act, unusually intelligent and switched on, seeking to enrich her clients’ experience of creating a funeral. There’s nothing rigid in her thinking. She’s very happy to have found what it is that she really wants to do.
The funeral home is bright, well-lit, civilised and unusually tastefully decorated, painted in soft, neutral colours – the sort of place that really puts you at your ease. It’s like walking into someone’s home. The room in which you make arrangements is furnished with sofas and armchairs, and this tells you that you have all the time you need. There’s a lovely chapel of rest, spacious and serene, lit by lots of candles.
When she’s not working, Jo likes to get involved in community activities. Jo is the governor of a local school and she serves on her Parish Council. She likes cycling with her children, walking, cooking and travelling.
Being part of the community of bereaved people is also important to Jo and her team, and they are proud of their growing bereavement support group, which meets every month. They’ve organised outings for their bereavement group and plan more for the future, and their annual balloon release event in memory of those who have died has outgrown its original home as so many people attend, whatever the weather. It’s clear that the care for their clients doesn’t just stop when the funeral is over, Albany is very much there for you for as long as you need them.
Jo will arrange exactly the funeral you want. Albany are unique in the area in being perfectly able to provide either a completely traditional funeral, or a totally bespoke one. If it’s a traditional funeral that you want, you can be reassured that the turnout is as smart as it gets. And if you want a very personal, individual event then Jo will be able to offer you as many suggestions as you feel comfortable with. You’ll never be overwhelmed though, she’s exceptionally good at listening to people and understanding what they need from her.
Whatever type of funeral you want, it will probably be conducted by Paul, although if you wanted the former Albany funeral conductor Pete (whose spit-and-polish is matched only by his kindness) you only have to ask for him. He’s retired now, but still comes in to carry out funerals when he’s asked for. You might have Sam, Jo’s second in command, or another female conductor Donna. Or possibly Tim Holloway or Matthew. You’ll get to know whoever is conducting your funeral well before the day. If you want their bearers to carry the coffin, they only choose ones who look nice (you can choose your own, of course).
If you want a less formal funeral, Jo will talk you through the options and, of course, everyone will dress accordingly.
Jo is very much aware that people’s expectations of a funeral are changing. She recognises that there is a growing demand for funerals which reflect the personality and values of the person who died. She recognises that no two funerals are the same, so she is aware of the vital importance of listening very carefully to you and making sure the funeral you arrange is exactly as you want it. What makes her especially well qualified to do this is her intelligence and her humanity.
Jo had a life outside before coming in to funeral directing, so she looks at everything with fresh eyes. This makes her unusually flexible and open-minded. She is not a radical in any sense of the word, but she is very good at interpreting her clients’ needs and wishes, and she is very well informed. When it comes to discussing the range of choices available to you, you will find her full of suggestions and absolutely up to date. If you want to make financial provision for your own funeral she will guide you through the options.
One special difference comes in the four legged form of Jo’s beautiful little dog, Lily Pickles – known as Pix to everyone. She’s like a living teddy bear, and loves nothing more than being stroked and cuddled. She has a future as a therapy dog for Albany, and if you’re a dog person and need some gentle affection from a pretty little canine while you’re talking about your plans for a funeral, she’ll come and sit with you, giving you the chance for some therapeutic calming stroking. (If you’re not a dog person, no worries, Pix will be upstairs being fussed over by the staff).
Home Visits – Happy to come to your home to arrange the funeral.
Embalming – Mostly, she doesn’t but, if you want it, she’ll explain what’s involved and let you decide.
Continuity of Care – Either Jo or Sam will look after you throughout and you’ll meet Paul, Peter, Donna, Tim or Matthew before the funeral..
Family Participation – If you’d like to come in and wash and dress the person who has died then she’ll be there for you, to help you or leave you to it.
Same sex person to wash and dress – yes: just let her know.
Ethnic Specialism – Jo is experienced in arranging funerals according to a wide range of customs.
Local Celebrants – Good relationships with local clergy. If you want a secular celebrant, she has a number on their books. She is incredibly careful about who she recommends, and she’ll offer you a booklet with all the local celebrants + personal statements to help you make up your mind.
DIY Funerals – If you want to handle some or all parts of the funeral yourself, you can buy in the services you need separately. Jo will be very happy to support you in any way you wish her to.
Website – Comprehensive website showing basic prices and additional costs.
Bereavement support – A support group meets monthly for those who want it. Very popular and a great success.
Parking – There is off-street parking on the forecourt of the funeral home.
Jo does not conform in any way to the gloomy caricature of the funeral director, you’ll not be surprised to hear, and nor does her funeral home. She is bright, normal, businesslike, kind and absolutely genuine. We think she’ll look after you well, in the way you’d like to be looked after. You’ll be able to create a fine and appropriate send-off at a price that will reflect what we reckon to be very good value for money.
Any decisions you take on engaging the services of a funeral director should be based on your views and research. You should not rely solely upon the views and opinions offered by us.
Friday 4th March 2016 at 1:47 pm
I can’t thank Sam and Jo enough for the service they have provided to us for my husbands funeral. I was everything I could have wished for.
Also many thanks to Wayne Alexander who was the celebrant on the day. He was really good indeed.
I personally would recommend Albany any day.
Many, many thanks
Saturday 28th February 2015 at 7:33 am
When my father died in October 2014 I knew we needed a funeral director that was special. We were incredibly lucky to find one!
I used this site to research the best funeral directors in our area and was immediately struck by the reviews above for Albany Funerals. I was further reassured by the feel and professionalism of their website.
Everything I read was true. Jo, Sam and the team were simply wonderful. My mother, sister and I felt incredibly well looked after. Jo was the perfect combination of empathy and practicality, which is exactly what we needed. We never felt rushed or under pressure to do or decide anything. We were gently taken through all our options and the arrangements on the day were beautifully and expertly executed.
It’s hard to express how much this meant to us. We feel very lucky to have found Jo, Sam and their team. I highly and unreservedly recommend them.
Thursday 13th November 2014 at 10:15 pm
After our sad loss of our father, we wanted to select a funeral director that would provide the unique, special and personal service that my father so deserved. Upon reviewing the website and reviews, it became apparent Albany provided the service offering that we desperately desired. Upon meeting Jo, she immediately engaged with my mother, responding to her feelings whilst providing the caring and professional guidance needed in dealing with such a traumatic experience. All our family wishes were attended to through various meetings and forms of communication ensuring we were supported respectfully. On the day of the funeral, the team were extremely professional, the timings were punctual, they assisted members of the family in fulfilling the roles of bearers, the director of ceremonies was top class and Jo paid particular attention to caring for my mother throughout the whole ceremony. They ensured my father was provided with a lovely and perfect funeral. Jo and her team really do provide a top class, quality and personal service and I appreciate the time and care taken guiding us through this tough period. I will not hesitate in making any referral and/or recommendation to anyone seeking a valued service. Thank you Jo so very much!!!
Wednesday 30th April 2014 at 7:17 am
At a time of heightened sadness I had all the support and care that anyone in similar circumstances could have wished for.
On the day of the funeral itself, the Director of Ceremonies, Peter, fulfilled his duties with great dignity, confidence and sincerity. He has left a lasting impression – indeed the true epitomy of “the gentle giant”.
Friday 28th March 2014 at 11:47 pm
We can’t praise Jo, Sam and the staff at Albany enough. Their unique
ability to make you feel that they are part of the family, helping, advising,
providing shoulders to lean on and coffee to sustain you at a very difficult
time yet be so completely professional, is such a rarity in this day and age.
A truly personal service which leaves you with the feeling that the very best was done for your loved one.
We can’t thank them enough.
Thursday 6th February 2014 at 3:10 pm
From the minute my family walked through the door to the big day of my dads funeral, Jo and her team were Kind helpful and reassuring.
Jo listened to what our family needs were and organised to the last detail.
On the day all the team helped and looked after us.
Saturday 26th January 2013 at 4:34 pm
I was extremely happy with the arrangements I made with them for a funeral and the aftercare. They run a very successful group providing continuity of support, meeting monthly. I can highly recommend them and their premises are really tasteful. I was impressed.
Tuesday 15th January 2013 at 6:15 pm
Jo and Simon are so supportive and attentive to the families needs, which is crucial when you are at your most vulnerable. They are also the only funeral directors I know who have put together a booklet of all their Celebrants so families can choose who will conduct the ceremony and even see what we look like before we meet them! They are breaking new ground and this can only mean an improvement for everyone.
Friday 21st December 2012 at 7:42 pm
I have worked with Jo and Simon and they have a lovely outlook on this work. Very kind and supportive to their families and to me as a celebrant working with them. Interested in all new things happening in the industry and very enabling to any families who want to do ‘more’ themselves.