Denmead community welcomes family run funeral parlour as Forever Together opens new establishment in Hambledon Road with event
THE RIBBON was cut on a funeral parlour as it opened in Denmead today.
Tens of people turned up to enjoy a buffet and meet staff at the new Forever Together in Hambledon Road.
The new Denmead establishment is the fourth Forever Together Funeral Care parlour, which is a family run, ‘family-first’ business.
Denise Chapman, who owns the company, said that although she was ‘nervous’ about opening the new parlour - ‘I don’t know the clientele over here’ - she is ‘really excited’ to be opening her fourth branch.
She said: ‘My staff are amazing.
‘Without the staff, I wouldn’t have the business I’ve got. They go above and beyond.’
Celebrating the opening alongside the funeral parlour team was Darren Somerville, a stone mason from Somerville Stone Memorials.
Darren said: ‘We were with her from the first store she opened.
‘She’s doing really well - Denmead will definitely benefit from Denise and her team.’
Denise and Darren have worked together since the opening of her first parlour six years ago today.
Darren said: ‘We work for the people, not corporately.’
Denise added: ‘I wouldn’t use another stonemason.
‘He’s like us - he does it for the families.’
Children were delighted to see the funeral carriage from Madgwick Carriage Masters, which was pulled by two horses - named Ant and Dec - who were wearing black feather plumes.
The coachman, Kevin Madgwick, has run the business for 45 years, and has also worked with Denise since her first parlour opened.
The mayor of Winchester, Cllr Vivian Achwal, was also there.
She said: ‘It’s great, a family-run business, somewhere for local people to go to. The church is nearby.’
Guest Sharon Roberts first met Denise about four years ago, when she came to the funeral care to support her daughter, who had lost her partner through cancer.
Sharon said: ‘It was such a calming environment, and when I lost my dad, I had no hesitation in coming to Denise.
‘I can’t impress how they make me feel.
‘It’s so relaxing, to know that my dad was really for.’
Denise has four children - Nicki, Lee, Martin, and Michael - as well as 11 grandchildren, all of whom came along to celebrate the opening.
She added: ‘I would like to thank Michael, my husband, and his business partner Will, and my four kids and their partners for all the support.
‘My family are everything to me. I’m doing this for them.’
Forever Together Funeral Care will hold a Christmas memorial on December 17 from 7.30pm at St Mary’s Church. Names of those lost this year will be read out.
Denise added: ‘All our chapels are named after families we looked after, and this is called Rosie Bird.
‘I’d like to thank Rosie Bird’s family for allowing us to use the name.’