Stibbards has deep roots in your community. They’ve been here since 1867 and they’re now into their fifth generation as a family-owned, family-run and proudly independent business. As well as being highly valued by people in the locality — some of whom have used Stibbards for five generations — this is also a notably well-run business. Not all established family businesses can say the same – they can get very complacent. Under the guidance of Martin Stibbards things have not remained stuck in the past. They are very open to fresh ideas and new ways of doing things in response to the wishes and needs of their clients, which are becoming ever more diverse and which impose ever more complex demands on a funeral director. They welcome this, they genuinely do – they say it makes their lives more interesting. We were very impressed by Martin’s commitment to doing things as well as they possibly can, offering choice and, when occasion requires, going the extra mile to offer the best experience they can. He is always on the lookout for ways to improve his service.
A particularly impressive example of commitment to the emotional welfare of all the people of your community is Stibbards’ free, after-care bereavement service, Stepping Stones. They fund three excellent, trained counsellors to help people through their grief, an initiative which speaks very highly of them.
There are five offices, in Hadleigh, Leigh-on-Sea, Canvey Island, Shoeburyness and Hockley. Hadleigh is the HQ and it is here that the person who has died goes to be made ready for their funeral. They then return to the office where you made your arrangements, and you can come and see them there whenever you like by appointment, including evenings, for no extra charge. Do they care for people who have died with the respect and dignity we would expect? The answer to this question is an emphatic and unqualified yes. Everything behind the scenes is immaculate and they operate to very high ethical standards. We spoke to the staff and they wouldn’t have it any other way. As they say, everything they do stems from the way they care for people who have died. You may rest assured that all will be well and as you would wish.
We liked the chapels of rest, which is where you come to visit the person who has died. They have taken especial care to light them so that they look inviting and not gloomy – we’ve never seen it done so well. We also liked the way you can take a time out outside the chapel and sit in a comfy chair and have a hot drink.
We went to see every office and met the people who run them. We liked them all very much indeed. Louise in Hockley, Heather in Shoeburyness, Sarah in Leigh-on-Sea and Sharon, who covers for them, are all warm, well-informed and very nice. We didn’t meet Christine in Canvey Island – she was on holiday – but we have heard only good things about her. Wherever you go you will be well looked after. Each branch is disabled-friendly and has disabled toilets. All the branches are freshly decorated in a light, airy style to a high standard — with a range of hot drinks available.
People hereabouts tend to favour a formal funeral in the traditional style, and this is how the funeral directors dress. Very smart, they look, in their wing collars and burgundy cravats – they really know how to put on a good show. The vehicles are all Daimlers. Alternatives are available if you prefer something less formal or a little bit different. The website offers you lots of options of alternative hearses. If you would like the staff at the funeral to dress down or conform to a dress code, they will do their very best – at the same time as remaining identifiably staff members in case anyone should need them.
Two things matter most to the staff at Stibbards. First, if you decide you’d like to come and visit the chapel of rest, they want your experience to be as good and as beneficial as possible so that you will always have a good memory of it. They will make the person who has died look as peaceful as possible. Second, they want you to enjoy a seamless and professional service with absolutely no glitches. They want everything to run smoothly and superbly for you on the day and they go to great lengths to achieve that. It’s all about you.
What makes Stibbards stand out is they way they will explore choices with you carefully, and without regard to how long it may take, so that you will be able to create the funeral that’s just right for you and for the person who has died.
• Home Visits – Very happy to make arrangements with you either at the funeral home or at your own home. They do this a lot.
• Embalming – Stibbards are in favour of embalming because they feel that people who have died look more themselves when they’ve been embalmed. They will explore this with you. If you do not want it, that’s perfectly okay.
• Continuity of Care – The person with whom you arrange the funeral will not attend the funeral. Instead, a specialist funeral director will conduct everything on the day. We feel that it would be best if there was someone you know there for you, and the firm is working hard to make this possible.
• Family Participation – If you want to carry the coffin, they’ll show you how. If you’d like to come in and wash and dress the person who has died, they’ll be there for you. If you’d just like to come in do their hair, that’s absolutely no problem. They believe in empowering you to do what you want and they help you in any way they can.
• Same sex person to wash and dress? – Yes, if you want. No problem. Just ask.
• Ethnic Specialism – They are experienced in many other funeral customs and work closely with both the Chinese and Muslim communities.
• Local Celebrants – Excellent local celebrants to choose from if you do not want a religious minister — and 70 per cent of people don’t in this area. They take very seriously the importance of finding the right celebrant for you — which most funeral directors don’t.
• Home arranged funerals – Will gladly work with you in any way you want if you who wish to care for the person who has died at home: see the Do It All Yourself section of the Good Funeral Guide website.
• Website – Comprehensive information well set out. No prices displayed, and we hope they will do this. We very much like their hard-copy brochure.
• Client Support – If you want to be put in touch with the bereavement support group, Stepping Stones, they will make that happen for you. After the funeral, call in anytime for a cuppa – they’ll always be pleased to see you.
• Money matters – Prices here are very competitive. Considering the quality of service you will receive, we reckon them very good value.
If money is any sort of a problem, be upfront about it. They will do everything to provide a fitting funeral for what you can afford. Please don’t borrow money from a loan shark. The more open you are about your circumstances, the more they can help you, and this is what they want to do. If you are on benefits they will help you fill in the Social Fund forms and apply for a Funeral Payment. Don’t feel awkward about this, these people are members of your community and they have a genuine commitment to you and yours.
Not all family firms of funeral directors live in the present, but this one certainly does. It is underpinned by traditional values and the people at Stibbards recognise that most people hereabouts favour a traditional funeral. However, they cater enthusiastically to all tastes. As well as operating to high, strict standards, Stibbards is also a place where you will find warmth, kindness, all the time you need and a total commitment to getting it right for you.
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.
Tuesday 21st February 2017 at 1:42 pm
The westcliff branch delt with my mother’s funeral,I can’t praise them highly enough,they were wonderfully caring , friendly,and warm ,making the whole thing easier on us