Ben Simpson and Dan Wilde were inspired to open their own funeral service in Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent recently and for all the right reasons. Ben shares his thoughts with us.
In February 2012, I was about to embark on a career as a Police Officer with the British Transport Police. Three days before starting training in London, I received a letter pulling the plug on everything. I had left my course at university and resigned as a Special Constable, so I thought, what do I do now?
The Birth of Simpson and Wilde – Celebrating life, one family at a time
My partner at the time had recently lost their grandad, and having visited the chapel of rest, I instantly took a keen interest and wondered what was going on ‘behind the scenes.’ I made some enquiries with the local funeral directors. Eventually, I received three replies; one was from a local family firm inviting me to give them a call. After just shy of 9 years of working my way to office manager/funeral director with them, I left and eventually set up Simpson and Wilde Independent Funeral Directors. A considerable leap of faith but one I was sure would work. After a few months of finding suitable premises and carrying out the necessary renovations, we finally opened our doors on February 22nd, 2021.
Unfortunately, with COVID still circulating, restrictions prevented us from opening our doors allowing people to look around our brand new modern funeral home. Fast forward nearly six months; restrictions lifted, we decided to hold an official open day where people could come and have a look around and have a cup of tea and a slice of cake with us. The day was a great success, and we finally got to showcase our light, modern and comfortable funeral home.
People often ask why I decided to set up in the first place, and the answer is a simple one: Affordability without compromising on quality.
We often hear how expensive funerals are nowadays and how funeral poverty is increasing year on year. We want to offer the same excellent service, facilities, compassion, and professionalism without families feeling like they would have to pay a fortune for it. We think that is why we have been so successful in the first few months of our opening.
Fair Funerals Pledge 2021
Families are often at one of the lowest points in their lives when losing someone and will pretty much agree and go along with what the funeral director is telling them. Often upselling coffins to increase their profits. Something we do not want to do.
A better service and trading as a Funeral Director for hundreds of years are not necessarily synonymous. I encourage everyone to call the Funeral Director and ask them what experience they have and what it is about them that sets them apart. After all, you’ll be placing a great deal of trust in them.
We want families to feel comfortable and at ease. Everyone is treated the same and charged the same price whether they are struggling to pay for the funeral or not. This way, people will realise that we are fair, and honest, and more importantly, open—we have been proud to shout about this from the start.
I’m glad to see regulation coming in too. Meaning that Funeral Directors must now clearly show their pricing online; this will help families compare more efficiently and make better-informed choices. Over the next few years, I want to continue building on that ethos.
We are also proud to be able to charge up to £1500 less than others? It’s because we don’t want to be greedy; we want to be reasonable. Consequently, we recently have signed the Fair Funerals Pledge 2021, – the only Funeral Director in Newcastle Under Lyme and Stoke on Trent to date to have done so. We are pledging our commitment to price transparency and funeral poverty without question.
We want to strengthen our connection with the local community; our door is always open, and your visit doesn’t have to be about organising a funeral. A chat and a cup of tea, and someone to talk to is just as important to us. Once upon a time, Funeral Directors were the hub of the community, and we want to regain that level of association with local people.
Simpson and Wilde Independent Funeral Directors work alongside Steve and his Celebrancy service to provide the highest quality care and service to their families. Steve says, “Ben and Dan offer an authentic approach to modern funeral care. Their ethos sits very comfortably with me, and I can only see them growing from strength to strength because of it. I wish them the very best for the future.”