Funeral directors officially a family affair after sister joins business

Debbie Stewart of R H Bond Funeral Directors in Stoke Ferry has been joined in the business by her sister Samantha Smith.

Debbie Stewart of R H Bond Funeral Directors in Stoke Ferry has been joined in the business by her sister Samantha Smith. - Credit: Chris Kot

A west Norfolk funeral directors is now officially a family affair after the owner's sister joined her in the business.

Debbie Stewart of R H Bond Funeral Directors in Stoke Ferry, achieved her dream of setting up her own business in August last year, and has since been joined by her sister Samantha Smith following its success.

Mrs Smith, who has spent 15 years working in the care industry, had been helping out behind the scenes to support her sister in her new venture, but this week took her position a step further by officially joining the funeral directors, wearing the top hat on her first funeral on Monday.

Debbie Stewart of R H Bond Funeral Directors in Stoke Ferry.

Debbie Stewart of R H Bond Funeral Directors in Stoke Ferry. - Credit: Chris Kot

She said she enjoyed working in the care sector but could not refuse the chance to work alongside her big sister, which she said is an "absolute privilege".

The pair aim to further expand the business over the next couple of years after Mrs Stewart, who previously worked for A J Coggles, took over the fifth generation funeral directors from the Bond family.

The independent funeral directors has been operating in the area since 1872.

Mrs Stewart praised her sister for her care and support shown to the family at her first funeral, which the family said was "something they will never forget."

The mum-of-two said: "She is a natural and that shone through on Monday while Sam was with the bereaved family at their home prior to leaving on the funeral. 

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"Townies Carriage Masters were hired to transport the deceased to Mintlyn Crematorium and Bill and Ben the beautiful horses made the day even more special for the family and for Sam as she got to ride on the carriage."

The undertaker adapted her service during the pandemic for her clients and is offering to visit families in their own homes to arrange funeral plans.

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.

She added: "Although our offices are based on the outskirts of King's Lynn and Downham Market, the care we offer is huge."

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