The business is owned by Paul Sullivan, Dip FD,who started in the funeral industry in 1992 when he was aged 19. He’s assisted by his brother Alex, who looks after the office management and funeral director Julie Fraser-Reid Dip FD, with Colin Meades as senior chauffeur / bearer and Alan Goodall making up the rest of the team.
Paul’s love of funerals began when he was in the sixth form, and through dogged persistence, he managed to get a position as an employment trainee through Kent Skills a year later. His first years in the funeral world were spent working for a large corporate funeral director, and he gained much experience and achieved the diploma in funeral directing during this time.
After moving from the corporate world to work for an independent funeral director at Deal and Woodnesborough, Paul expanded his experience to every aspect of running a business, and in 2006 he made the decision to start his own company. Sullivan and Son opened on March 31st 2007, and for the first few years was entirely run by Paul on his own.
Alex joined Paul on a part time basis in 2009, and Julie came to work with them some years later. The small team now carries out ten times as many funerals as Paul did in his first year, as Sullivan and Son’s reputation has grown in the area. Families who have been clients in the past are now coming back to the company to help them again when another family member dies – a sure sign that the standards of service are as good as you can get from this small company.
When Paul’s not working his two sons keep him busy and he’s a keen member of the Dover Rotary Club and the Dover Society as well as enjoying golf, cycling, watching movies, listening to rock/blues and playing drums.
Paul is not your stereotypical funeral director – if you want him to dress up in Victorian garb then he will, but he’s just as happy to conduct a funeral in something less formal. Paul’s philosophy is “the funeral should not be centred on the funeral director, but in our role as master of ceremonies we need to be identifiable to all mourners.”
He has a nice fleet of vehicles, though “they are not the most important thing. I believe people will remember the behaviour of the drivers far more than the make or model of the car they are driving.” He sees no sense in spending vast amounts of money on updating vehicles just to have the latest model, preferring instead to ensure that the cars he uses are polished and clean, and the prices he charges clients are as fair and reasonable as they can be.
If it’s a budget funeral you want, Paul offers direct cremations from only £995 plus disbursement costs.
Paul’s all about offering choices – he has a big book with pictures of lots of different coffins, vehicles, stationery and keepsakes which he’ll bring out if you want to look through it, and he encourages you to take your time to find the products that are right for you.
The premises of Sullivan and Son are set in a residential neighbourhood – the building in fact was originally a house but over the years was converted for use as a barber’s and then a hairdresser’s before Paul found it. He has done a lot of work to make the premises accessible for people with mobility problems, and made extremely good use of the space available. Light, bright and airy inside, you enter into a small reception area which opens into the office area where there is a round table and a desk.
The decor is a smart and modern – there is no black and gold solemnity with tinted windows here. On the walls, framed certificates display the diplomas held by both Paul and Julie and there are some old photos of the building as it was years ago and of other funeral directors who are now long gone – Paul loves the historical connections that the photographs conjure up.
Through a door at the side of the office you enter a small lobby leading to the chapel of rest – small and simply decorated, this quiet room has a beautiful contemporary stained glass window created by Derek White, former head of conservation at Canterbury Cathedral.
Behind a locked door is access to the mortuary area, where up to twelve people are cared for at a time, each with their own blanket in the chilled room. There is space for preparing people for their coffins, and access to the rear of the premises for easy transferring to vehicles.
Paul was one of the first funeral directors to offer completely transparent pricing. There is a base cost which covers the work that has to be done for every funeral and after that you just choose the products and services that you need.
If you do this on his website, you’ll see an instant estimate of charges – we believe he was the first in the industry to offer this, and this transparency is something that sets his business apart in the area.
No other local funeral director has their prices displayed online, and we thoroughly applaud this open approach to letting potential clients see how much their bill is likely to be – we wish all funeral directors would offer this.
Paul doesn’t believe in slapping a huge markup on everything that he sells. He has a ‘coffin cover’ which can be used to make a simple cardboard coffin look like a wooden casket.
Everything important is under one roof at Beaconsfield Road, (the coffin storage and vehicles are elsewhere) and if you want to visit the person who has died out of hours you can do so, just ask Paul.
He’s very thoughtful – the type that gently liberates flowers he sees sweating in cellophane at the crematorium. And every invoice is accompanied by a touching keepsake.
This is one of the very best kinds of independent firms – small, locally-owned and offering lots of choice. Everything is done with enthusiasm, a kind smile and a lot of care, in premises that are quiet and well-appointed.
Over the years, Paul calculates that he has been involved with over 8,000 funerals – that’s eight thousand families who he has helped have as good an experience as they possibly can. Many of them have written to voice their appreciation, and Paul has kept the letters. The huge folder is probably the most important thing in his possession – a reminder every day that the job he so loves is one that really makes a difference to so many people.
We have every confidence that Paul Sullivan and his team will work hard to deliver the send-off you want, at a price that’s hard to beat.
Last reviewed on 4th April 2017.
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.
Thursday 9th March 2017 at 8:18 am
I cannot praise Sullivan’s highly enough. I chose a Direct Cremation for my father, at his own request, and Julie and Alex both reassured me that it would be as dignified as every other funeral. The personal service offered to us by Julie was both comforting and thorough, making us completely confident that my father was safe in their care. Alex, who I spoke with on the phone, was so easy to speak to and the personal keepsake that arrived in the post was most touching. I was aware throughout that Sullivans was offering the kind of personal service that I so wanted at this time.
Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 1:01 pm
Paul, Alex and Julie were so supportive in helping with the funeral arrangements for my late brother Eamonn. They gave advice when asked and followed our wishes when we expressed our preferences. Given that it was all done via phone and email due to distance,, the end result was exactly what we wanted, and more importantly exactly as my brother would have wished. Their pricing plan is straighforward and well itemised; they did not try to upsell in any way or make us feel that we needed to spend more to make it a special occasion. I thoroughly recommend them.
Saturday 3rd September 2016 at 11:27 pm
I would like to say a big thank you to Alex, Paul and their team who supported us with the arrangements for my husband’s funeral in May of this year.
I found on line calculator very useful, not only to help me have a rough idea of costs but also so that I could think about some of the things that I would need to make decisions about. Everyone that we met impressed us with their professionalism, compassion and care. We felt completely at ease and at no stage did we feel under pressure – nothing was too much trouble.
Paul was with us on the day and we had a lovely service. At what is an extremely difficult time, you can rely on Sullivan and sons to handle the situation thoughtfully, sensitively and with kindness. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Tuesday 10th November 2015 at 4:12 pm
From the moment of walking into the door of the premises, I was reassured that this was a funeral director who was among the best. Paul and Alex are remarkably empathetic with the relatives of the deceased and are extremely efficient. They are prepared to take the time to discuss all of the options available; to advise where they feel it is appropriate and to make sure that this last step on life’s journey is conducted with dignity and love. I have sadly had to arrange the funeral of both my wife and my daughter within four years of each other. The first was conducted by a large chain company and the latter with Sullivan and Son. The first was an extremely stressful event due, in part, to various mishaps during the process, including being one hour late at the crematorium. The latter was as stress-free as I could have hoped and in sharp contrast. What is more, Sullivan and son offered a much more competitive rate, ensuring that all pricing was transparent and I knew exactly what the bill would be from the outset. This company has my strongest recommendation and I thank them for their outstanding service.
Wednesday 26th August 2015 at 6:41 pm
Paul, Alex and Julie went the extra mile in arranging my husband’s funeral which was 100 miles away from Dover. They were empathicand consdierate from the start and nothing was too much trouble. I live in Dymchurch some 20 miles away from Dover, but on making various calls to funeral directors nearer to me, they stood out on all fronts. I would not hesitate to recommend them.
Saturday 14th March 2015 at 11:46 am
Alex and the rest of the team provided an extremely helpful, sympathetic and friendly service. Alex guided us through the planning and kept in touch with us through the traumatic and distressing time. Paul was there to provide help at the crematorium on the day of the funeral. Everything was done extremely professionally but with the friendly and helpful approach that was such a support to us. I recommend Sullivan & Son, they are excellent.
Sunday 1st March 2015 at 6:32 pm
We have just spent some time reading previous glowing reviews which echoed our thoughts exactly. Alex, Paul and Julie were caring, kind, supportive, helpful, empathetic, professional, friendly, respectful, efficient and attentive throughout. They were simply exemplary in every way.
This is the first funeral we have had to arrange and, as we researched different funeral directors, we found it a little daunting trying to understand what options were available to us and what costs were involved. We found the wonderful Sullivan & Son website and were immediately struck with the feeling that we had found something very special: our instincts have been proven to be right every step of the way.
Their website also has an extremely helpful ‘ready reckoner’ which was invaluable in showing us what was available to us and in helping us to plan and budget for the funeral. It allowed us to talk things over and discuss options with other members of the family, and all in our own time.
We live in Surrey and my father-in-law, Ron, passed away in Kent which meant that our communications with Sullivan& Son was via telephone and email. We were a little concerned that this might prove problematic but from our very first call, continuing even after the funeral, we were given their most urgent attention and support at every stage – nothing was too much trouble and we felt all along that Ron was in safe, respectful and caring hands, which meant the world to us.
On a financial note, the services provided were significantly less expensive than other ‘larger’ funeral directors, but the service that Alex, Paul and Julie provided was beyond cost, and we count ourselves as blessed to have found them.
We would have absolutely no reservations in recommending Sullivan and Son to anyone, and have already done so. There simply aren’t words to thank them enough, and we know that Ron would have thanked them too.
Tuesday 10th February 2015 at 6:07 pm
I would like to say a big thank you to Paul and Alex for their excellent service during a very difficult time for me. They were compassionate and made the whole process very easy, and they provided a lovely service on the day of the funeral for my father. They were completely transparent in all their costings and were also quite a bit cheaper than the other quotes I got, saving me around £700. Their website allows you to view the cost of each item you want and gives a grand total at the bottom. Highly recommended.
Saturday 3rd January 2015 at 12:39 pm
My daughter found Sullivan & sons on the Internet when my wife died in Dec 14 I have to say one of the best finds in these circumstances.From the first point of contact with Alex absolutely nothing was a problem.Price-comparison with competitors wasn’t even close,but the service you receive is first class. Paul was there on the day to help or guide us through every step of the way to make sure our day went without a hitch. My thanks to Alex & Paul for the support and handling of this special day. As for recommending them don’t hesitate just contact them, dont waste time shopping about Like I did
Sunday 30th November 2014 at 10:24 pm
Their professionalism, service and care to detail is second to none. I would certainly recommend Sullivans without hesitation.
Thursday 19th June 2014 at 11:11 am
Paul came to the house and took as long as we needed to discus the arrangements for the funerals of my great aunt, a couple of years ago and my grandmother earlier this month. He was professional and courteous and gave a personal service. We would recommend him very highly indeed.
Friday 2nd May 2014 at 8:34 pm
My wife and I were very pleased with the wonderful service we got from Paul, Alex and Julie. They were very kind, courteous and helpful with the arrangements for my mother’s funeral, nothing was too much trouble. We would highly recommend their services.
Wednesday 23rd April 2014 at 11:48 pm
Thank you Paul and Alex for all your help and assistance you have given my family and I after the loss of my husband Brian.
Your professionalism, thoughtfulness, dignity and ‘quiet’ humour was very much appreciated by everyone and I would not hesitate to recommend your services to those who need a compassionate Funeral Director.
Once again, many thanks for a difficult period handled wonderfully.
Wednesday 9th April 2014 at 6:36 pm
Thank you to Julie, Paul and Alex for their care of my family following our recent bereavement. Their attention to detail and caring approach made a very difficult situation a little easier to bear. They were sensitive, caring and helpful from the moment we walked into their office, and we really appreciated their follow-up care. We were able to tailor my sister’s funeral service they way we wanted it and it was extremely refreshing to have their very reasonable costs clearly detailed on their website. (Phoning round funeral directors for quotes at such a difficult time was awful so having detailed costs outlined on the website was much appreciated.) We can’t recommend them highly enough.
Monday 7th April 2014 at 2:15 pm
I would like to praise the service given by Paul and Alex Sullivan when arranging my mum’s funeral. They were so kind and friendly that they made the day a happy rather than sad event.I had chosen a motorbike and sidecar hearse and the arrangements went like clockwork. They were always available to answer questions or give advice while keeping a discreet presence and were so approachable that they felt like family friends rather than funeral directors.I would thoroughly recommend them.
Thursday 3rd April 2014 at 11:24 pm
My brother, John Wheeler, recommended Sullivan & Son, and I was very satisfied with the service. Although our mum’s funeral was in Eltham London SE9 the cost was still competitive, and everything went to plan. I thought the cardboard coffin liner was an excellent idea, and mum would have definitely approved! Many thanks to Paul and Alex.
Tuesday 4th March 2014 at 2:27 pm
I came across this company after doing a search on Google. I am so very glad I did. From the word go I was treated with friendliness, courtesy and respect by all I came into contact with within the company. Paul is a delightful man, and an absolute pleasure to deal with. His charges were extremely competitive, fair and honestly given. I and my family were totally satisfied with everything and would recommend this company to anyone. They take the strain away from what is a very trying time.
Monday 3rd February 2014 at 9:57 pm
We were very impressed with the service we received from Alex in supporting and guiding us with the funeral arrangements right from our initial enquiries, having never had to make these arrangements before and through such an upsetting time, the professional, supportive service we received was much appreciated, as was the openess of the costs involved which were given to us as requested in a honest upfront way. The funeral itself again was made easier by the proffessional way it was handled by Paul. Thank you both very much, we have already reccommended you to others friends and family.
Wednesday 29th January 2014 at 8:08 pm
Both Paul and Alex show compassion,caring and attention to detail above and beyond the call of duty. Their professionalism is unsurpassed and it was a pleasure to deal with them both.Their ability to deal with and organise everything on your behalf in a methodical and efficient manner completely removes any stress involved at a very difficult time.There were many wonderful comments made regarding their professionalism by all who attended the funeral of my late Mother and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. Thank you both so much.
Sunday 21st July 2013 at 8:15 pm
Paul and his team were extremely helpful when my Stepdad Mr. David Back passed away. Nothing was too much trouble and Mum felt comfortable to contact Paul at anytime.
We would not hesitate to recommend you.
Thankyou so much.
Linda and Shirley
Monday 15th July 2013 at 8:24 pm
We have now used Paul and his team on two occasions one for a beloved friend and most recently for a member of our family. We would like to thank Paul for his exceptional caring and yet professional manner that he carried out both funerals. We will definitely recommend him and his team to all our friends and family as we would to anyone else.
Thank you Paul we cannot thank you enough!
Barry & Dave
Friday 5th July 2013 at 10:19 am
all arrangements very profesionally and sensitively handled at what is obviously a difficult time—–will recommend this firm if situatioin arises
Sunday 2nd June 2013 at 6:25 pm
I can’t thank Sullivan and Son’s enough for their exceptional service, which was given with warmth and professionalism. The compassion, sensitivity and caring shown by Paul and his Staff in arranging the funeral of my Mother was a light shining in the darkness. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone and everyone. Kind Regards, John Hardman
Sunday 2nd June 2013 at 11:36 am
They were recommended,found them so helpfull,cannot thank them enough for there simpathy & understanding.They treted my wife as if she was one of there own.Thank you
Thursday 30th May 2013 at 4:27 pm
I would recommend Paul Sullivan and his team. My mother wished her funeral to be a very simple affair that would cause us, her family, the least distress. With Paul’s understanding and guidance we were able to fulfil my mum’s wishes. His kind manner and caring attitude helped us at a very sad time.
Wednesday 22nd May 2013 at 5:00 pm
I first came across Sullivan & son’s website when looking for a funeral director just after my father-in-law died in December 2011. Comparing it with many other websites I looked at I was pleasantly surprised with the comprehensive choice of services, and complete transparency of costs involved.
After the funeral I was so impressed with their professionalism that I have recommended them to many of my friends who have also been very pleased with costs and service from Sullivan & Sons.
Unfortunately my mother-in-law has just passed away last month and although a sad time it was a great help knowing that everything was taken care of by Paul & Alex.
I can’t recommend them enough, an excellent company.
Sunday 5th May 2013 at 9:40 am
Paul and his team gave us first-class service. The day itself was faultless, everything efficient, discreet and respectful. I was particularly impressed at the outset, when time was of the essence, to find itemised pricing displayed on the company’s website. Thoroughly recommended.
Friday 21st December 2012 at 7:47 pm
Paul is dedicated and flexible in his approaches to funerals. He has a gentle sense of humour and an ease in his manner, which the families really respond to. To work with, Paul is great, no edges to him. He trusts you will do a good job and he is supportive throughout.
Thursday 6th December 2012 at 10:35 am
I would like to record my thanks to Sullivan & Son for their services in arranging the funeral of my late mother-in-law. I found their professionalism and courtesy to be first class. I am grateful for the kind and gentle way in which proprietor Paul Sullivan guided me through the formalities and in deaing with all aspects of the arrangements.
Wednesday 7th November 2012 at 9:44 am
The best thing I could of done was to employ Paul to take care of my wifes funeral. Everything he done for me was with care and consideration. His costings are extremely good compared with sevaral others. I did not realise what one goes through when your partner of 35 years passes away, but having the right undertaker is a major help. Thank you Paul.
Thursday 24th May 2012 at 7:13 pm
I had the awful experience of losing my husband and Mother within 6 months of each other. Paul was so understanding and went out of his way to encourage and support myself and my family to have the funerals that said a beautiful farewell to them both. Everyone said how inspired they were by the arrangements, and all made positive comments about Paul and his team. I positively recommend this family business to everyone. An important factor that was managed really sensitively was the cost side of the funerals, and I have to say that it helped a lot to know the costs as we went along.It seemed awful to think about such things at the time, but we really appreciated Paul’s help and the surprisingly reasonable final bill. I cannot praise Sullivan and Son enough for helping me and my family through such a difficult time.
Saturday 25th February 2012 at 5:58 pm
My aunt died very suddenly leaving us very distressed and not knowing where to turn. Paul Sullivan helped us with every detail concerning the funeral and made sure that we got exactly what we wanted. I cannot recommend him more highly. Thank you so much Paul and also to Alex as well.
Saturday 18th February 2012 at 8:38 pm
I used Sullivan & Son 12 Beaconsfield Road Dover Kent CT16 2LL on the 9th February 2012 for my Mother Mrs D Molineux
They were extremely efficient, caring an considerate. Everything went smoothly. They made the whole experience easier, at a very difficult time. I found them on the internet after searching for other Funeral Directors which, compared to many others, they were much cheaper for the same service. Their web page is very easy to understand and you can tailor your needs to what ever you wish and see what you are paying for. Thank you Paul Sullivan. Mrs B Johnson Lympne Kent.
Wednesday 18th January 2012 at 11:28 am
We can’t praise Paul and his colleagues highly enough for the tremendous personal service they provided at a very difficult time for us.
We greatly appreciated their kind and considerate approach, and they accommodated our needs thoroughly. We would recommend Sullivan and Son without reservation.
Monday 21st November 2011 at 7:07 pm
It was a good decision to use Paul Sullivan & Sons. Paul Sullivan was sympathetic, helpful & considerate. We were given plenty of choices & there was no pressure put on us to go for the more expensive options. We were lucky, too, with the minister chosen for us. She was very understanding & between her & Mr Sullivan we had a lovely service. I rate Sullivan & Sons highly & recommend them to anyone looking for quality service, value & consideration to help them through this difficult time.
Friday 4th November 2011 at 1:16 pm
I have used Paul’s services for arranging the funeral of both my grandfather and grandmother most recently October this year.
If you are looking for a competent, sensitive professional service then look no further. I live in London, however, Paul kept me constantly informed of the proceedings and nothing was too much trouble. His services are highly recommended.
Thursday 29th September 2011 at 3:14 pm
I would like to highly recommend Sullivan and Son Funeral Service, 12 Beaconsfield Road, Dover, Kent CT16 2LL.
My mother died in late August and we were lucky enough to choose Sullivans based on a quick internet search. My sister and I both agree that we could not have wished for a more professional, friendly and sensitive person than the proprietor Paul Sullivan to manage the funeral process for us. In particular he made us feel at ease, explained our options very clearly and in a neutral style without pressure, and his team handled the day of the funeral extremely well. His company also clearly went to a lot of effort in the beautiful presentation of my mother in his chapel for us to see her for the last time before the funeral.
Friday 19th August 2011 at 11:11 am
I cannot praise mr paul sullivan enough.He made me feel at ease and explained everything step by step after losing my dear mum .He helped out in everything which meant less stress for me and also kept me informed of the progress of all the arrangements .Both he and his staff acted so caring and professional and again this put my whole family at ease.My mum would have approved and because of paul and his staff the service was lovely .i would highly recommend paul and his staff to anyone who has got to go through a most traumatic time because like i said he put you at ease and was very caring,considerate polite and professional many many thanks Paul
Tuesday 24th May 2011 at 8:52 pm
From Cathy Bowman
A thank you to Paul for helping to arrange mums funeral although mum was 90 and been unwell for a while its still devastating to lose someone you love dearly . Paul made it some much easier organising everything he has lovely way with him and you feel comfortable with him .
Sunday 22nd May 2011 at 3:58 pm
We were lucky that my Mum had planned most of her funeral and told us that she wanted Sullivan and Son to arrange it all. She chose extremly well because we couldn’t have met a nicer, kinder, more friendly funeral director than Paul. He made a very distressing time as easy as he possibly could for us, and nothing was too much trouble for him.
My husband is disabled, so we found the wheeelchair accessable premises were a great help.
We were devastated to loose my mum, but felt as if we’d found a friend in Paul. I would happily reccomend him to anyone.
Wednesday 16th February 2011 at 6:34 am
I found paul to be very caring considerate person. explained all details to me step by step. offering advise when needed. everything was done with presicion so i had no worries at a most distressing time. i would highly recommend his services.