A FUNERAL parlour has undergone a £75,000 refurbishment following its sale by the previous owner of 25 years.
Mayfields Funeral Parlour, in Elm Grove, Southsea, welcomed its new owners, South Downs Funeral Service, and celebrated the completion of the work at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday.
The sale ensures the Southsea business did not become ‘another corporate funeral parlour franchise,’ according to Paul Lee-Bapty, the managing director of South Downs Funeral Service.
He said: ‘Our biggest challenge are the big corporate funeral providers – they can afford more promotion, but we find they lack a personal connection with families.’
‘People are coming back to supporting independent companies.
‘They want that personal service.’
The new owners have carried out more than £75,000 worth of refurbishment work to the premises since May, in part to become ready for ‘possible’ legislation to clamp down on impersonal services, according to Paul.
He said: ‘There has been talk within the industry for a number of years about new licensing being proposed.
'The laws around funeral services have already been changed in Scotland.
'There is talk of legislation requiring an arrangement lounge where you can take the family in private to talk about the service, and that a member of staff must hold a diploma in funeral directing.
The Burial and Cremation Act 2016 has been introduced in Scotland, which aims to clamp down on substandard funeral service providers.
The premises in Southsea includes several rooms suitable for private arrangement meetings, as well as a reception area and a mortuary.
Previous owner David Colborne, who ran the business for 28 years, will remain as a consultant – but the 75-year-old plans to enjoy having more spare time.
He said: ‘Over the years, I have built up relationships with many families in the area, and I want to still be here for them.
‘I am also looking forward to going on a cruise around the Caribbean, and spending more time with my three-year-old granddaughter.'
Bereaved families will be supported by four members of staff with more than 30 years of experience.
South Downs Funeral Service runs premises in Clanfield, Wickham, and Denmead.