‘I live and breathe looking after people’ - Mum-of-two fulfils dream of owning funeral business
PUBLISHED: 08:44 13 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:55 13 August 2020
A mum-of-two has made her dreams of owning a business a reality after taking over a funeral directors in a Norfolk village.
Debbie Stewart has become the new owner of R H Bond Funeral Directors in Stoke Ferry, taking over the fifth generation business from the Bond family.
The independent funeral directors, which has been operating in the area since 1872, had been owned by Colin Bond who decided to step back from the day-to-day running of the business and was unable to pass it on to a sixth generation of the family.
But after hearing the high regard to which Mrs Stewart was held by families, funeral directors and pall bearers from her previous work in the industry, he felt confident handing it over to her.
The mum-of-two, who has been in the funeral business for around nine years and before that worked in banking, officially opened her office on Monday, August 3.
She said she worked hard to achieve her dream after being inspired by an interaction with a family in 2015, who gifted her a heart shaped plaque with the words ‘if you can dream it you can do it’ after they were touched by her care.
Mrs Stewart added: “I’ve had that plaque hanging in my bedroom for five years and have looked at it every day.
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“I can’t believe I’ve achieved it.
“I would have gone anywhere to be able to fulfil this dream.”
The undertaker said opening during coronavirus is uncertain but she plans to be adaptable for her clients and is offering home visits.
She said the reaction since opening has been ‘amazing’, with some people visiting the premises reduced to tears over her cloud mural in the ‘heavenly’ chapel room which she designed and created with the help of her sister Samantha Smith.
“It’s not just a business for me, it’s a vocation,” she said.
“I just live and breathe looking after people.
“I don’t want families to feel scared, sadly death is part of life and I want people to come here and feel tranquil so they feel their family members can fly away.
“I’ve achieved it with the help and support of an amazing family and extraordinary friends.”
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