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‘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

Debbie Stewart has achieved her dream of owning her own funeral business after opening up in Stoke Ferry. Picture: Sarah Hussain

Debbie Stewart has achieved her dream of owning her own funeral business after opening up in Stoke Ferry. Picture: Sarah Hussain

Archant

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 achieved her dream of owning her own funeral business after opening up in Stoke Ferry. Picture: Sarah HussainDebbie Stewart has achieved her dream of owning her own funeral business after opening up in Stoke Ferry. Picture: Sarah Hussain

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.

A plaque given to Debbie Stewart in 2015 which has inspired her every day to open her own business. Picture: Debbie StewartA plaque given to Debbie Stewart in 2015 which has inspired her every day to open her own business. Picture: Debbie Stewart

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.

Debbie Stewart has achieved her dream of owning her own funeral business after opening up in Stoke Ferry. Picture: Sarah HussainDebbie Stewart has achieved her dream of owning her own funeral business after opening up in Stoke Ferry. Picture: Sarah Hussain

“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.

A mural in the chapel room 'Heaven' designed by Debbie Stewart and created by her sister Samantha Smith. Picture: Sarah HussainA mural in the chapel room 'Heaven' designed by Debbie Stewart and created by her sister Samantha Smith. Picture: Sarah Hussain

“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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