A proud moment – Funeral Director of the Year Finalist

Written by Director, Gareth Coles:

This morning I’m travelling to Bournemouth with my wife and Head of Communications Francesca, fellow Funeral Director James Rogers, and Trainee Funeral Director Steven Long. And whatever happens at the Good Funeral Awards ceremony later – I can honestly say I’m really proud of our team and our accomplishments…Being nominated for Funeral Director of the Year by my employees, and peers in this industry, is up there with my proudest moments – along with the birth of our two beautiful daughters. Last year, my family business was accredited by the Good Funeral Guide (the only Funeral Director in Wales to have achieved this top accolade); one of my team, James Rogers, was a Good Funeral Awards Finalist; and our whole team won Business of the Year 2018: Cardiff, voted for by our customers. We have also recently won Golden Charter’s Funeral Planner of the Year, two years running. Now, to be recognised by the people I work with on a daily basis, in the most prestigious way, is the icing on the proverbial cake.

When I started in the funeral industry as a chauffer/bearer for a small carriage master’s business (a part time job while I studied at University) – I saw many funeral homes in the Cardiff area – and had a vision for how things could be.  I quickly realised that there was potential to offer families a much better, bespoke and caring service, and at the age of 25 I took the risky decision to buy Rumney Funeral Home, with very limited funds. In the thirteen years since, I have worked tirelessly to transform the business, which I’m humbled to say the Good Funeral Guide claims to be: “one of the finest, most innovative and professional funeral directors we’ve seen”.

Coles Funeral Directors is one of the last remaining family-run funeral directors in Cardiff, as all but one other are now owned by the large conglomerates. My brother Alex and wife Francesca are both very much part of the business too, and there is a strong family feeling amongst our tight-knit team here. Our independence is really important, as we can provide a transparency and flexibility in our service that other companies simply cannot offer. It also means that we can be truly community-focussed. As you know, we actively fundraise to support many local charities and youth groups, sponsor local sports teams, and work closely with the best local tradespeople, businesses and suppliers to set our service apart from the rest.

Quite apart from providing a market-leading service, for me, my role as a Funeral Director is to change the perception of the Funeral Industry, dispel the many myths, and encourage people to think about their end of life and death care – and to provision for it by planning ahead (either by pre-arranging, or pre-paying). Many people don’t know the choices available to them so I make it my mission to explain them by ensuring our marketing collateral and website provides a hub of useful, up to date information (where transparency is key and a whole section is dedicated to pricing). As I write in my weekly blog: we all talk about leading a ‘good life’, with ‘good health’, and having a ‘good innings’.  I am actively encouraging people in our community to have a ‘good death’ too.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for tuning in every week, and for your kind nominations… wish us luck at the Good Funeral Awards!