When Mark Shaw was a youngster he used to play the organ for church funerals and, while still at school, managed to get work experience with a good, independent funeral director.
Clearly, from a very young age, he was destined to work in this business. When he left school he went to work for one of the large corporations and, when he had gained plenty of experience and the time was right, he set up on his own – in order to do things exactly as his clients wished.
Mark Shaw Funeral Services opened the doors of their first premises in George Street in January 2004. When Mark last appeared in the Good Funeral Guide he had one part-time assistant funeral director, Anne Marie Freeland. Anne Marie is now full-time (although when we visited in 2017 she was off work preparing for her wedding the following day) and the team has grown to include fellow full time funeral directors Michelle Nicol and Neil Diack, with Gordon, James and Richie supporting them. Mark has built up a good, helpful, confident team, enabling him – ultimately – to be able to take a step back, to allow him to manage the business in all its facets.
All staff have been fully vetted by Grampian Police as Mark provides funeral director services for the police across Aberdeenshire whenever a sudden death occurs. And all staff carry out every aspect of funeral directing, from answering calls to go out overnight or at weekends to collect someone who has died, to washing the cars or tidying up the premises.
When his time is his own, Mark still loves to play the organ — and, when at home, the accordion.
In addition to wearing traditional, formal attire — and presenting himself superbly — Mark is quite happy to be less formal, if that’s what the client wants, and he will wear a dark business suit instead of tailcoat, top hat and stripes.
In addition to his immaculate hearse and limousine, he can also offer alternative modes of transport – for example, many people choose to use Mark’s estate car for the funeral of a child.
Offering you exactly the service you want is the driving principle behind Mark’s work.
Many – indeed, most – people still prefer a fairly traditional service, whether this is held in a crematorium or cemetery, or in Mark’s own ceremony room at Kincorth, and led by a minister, humanist or celebrant.
But he has also organised services in a chapel, where all the people attended sat round in a circle, had a glass of champagne to toast the departed and sang some well-loved hymns. Another – small – service involved a group of 15-20 family members and friends who all contributed a story or anecdote or poem to the service. Anything is possible – Mark is the consummate professional and extraordinarily flexible in his ability to meet the needs of families.
He has even trained as a civil celebrant, as there are so few available in the area, so that he can conduct funerals for families where ministers or humanist celebrants are not appropriate, and if the family wish it. He is also involved in the final year training for medical school students on important end-of-life issues.
A number of families who come to Mark want to be involved in the care of their deceased loved ones and he will facilitate this.
He has worked with families from ethnic minority community groups, including Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Chinese and Hindu, in order to provide culturally appropriate funeral services.
He also has contracts with the City of Aberdeen Council, Aberdeenshire County Council and, as mentioned above, with Grampian Police, the latter requiring an extremely rapid response to sudden death situations.
He is excited by new challenges, but is also keen to consolidate his business by continuing to help people in these recessionary times by offering funerals at extremely competitive cost. This has helped his business to grow year on year, although there is still plenty of opportunity for further expansion, he says.
Mark opened his second branch here in Kincorth in 2009, and it has become very much part of the small community. When Mark heard that there was not enough money available to pay for the Christmas lights one year, he kindly and quietly funded them. Michelle, who looks after Kincorth and is based here, is well known in the area.
Behind the scenes the preparation areas in both premises are clean and tidy, and if you want to help Mark or his staff care for your relative you only have to ask.
Prices online here.
Mark is a very experienced funeral director who is now developing his highly competent staff. He has the highest of standards, and a drive and foresight and a real desire – and commitment – to establish a lasting business offering excellent service from the moment someone steps over the threshold.
He has a quiet demeanour, he is down to earth and he is a very nice, kind person — with a real passion for his work.
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.