Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services Blog

Kingfisher Funerals of St Neots and Huntingdon Celebrate Fifth Anniversary

Kingfisher Staff 3Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services of St Neots and Huntingdon are celebrating the end of their fifth successful year in business.

When Andrew Hickson opened the doors at Gate Lodge in Cemetery Road, St Neots on 1st October 2010, he admits he had little idea whether the business would become viable or not, but that if he didn’t try, he would never know. “I had worked for other funeral directors for nearly 20 years, so I knew I could cope with the practical side of the business, but running your own company brings with it responsibilities and challenges that I had never encountered before” says Andrew.

“When the buck stops firmly with you, there is nowhere to hide, and there’s no-one to pass any problems up to.”

“The funeral profession relies heavily on word-of-mouth and personal recommendation, and until I had tried and tested the niche which I thought we could fill, it really was impossible to predict how we would be received by the public.”

In November 2011, Kingfisher Funerals won the Hunts Post Local Business Accelerator award, and that boosted their local exposure considerably. “This was without doubt a turning point in the success of the company” says Andrew. “I had received a lot of positive feedback from clients, but having other professionals tell me that the business was fantastic gave me a real boost.”

“I knew Kingfisher Funerals was unique, and that being the only independent funeral director in St Neots meant I could focus entirely on my clients, but I hadn’t quite realised how dissatisfied the general public were with funerals. Kingfisher has brought an open and honest approach to what is traditionally a very closed-door profession.”

As Kingfisher Funerals has grown during the last three years, the company has had to take on more staff, and it now employs four full-time, qualified funeral directors. They are chosen for their ability to ensure the ‘can-do’ ethos of the company is always conveyed to everyone.

Last year, Kingfisher Funerals opened their second office, in Huntingdon, where they are also proudly unique in being the only independent funeral directors in the town.

“Many funeral directors look like small family firms, but are in fact owned by huge corporations,” says Andrew. “We encourage people to shop around and visit several funeral directors before making their choice. Compare the service and the price – there are often big differences between companies.”

“We are frequently told that our bright premises and our friendly, relaxed, personal service are the reasons clients have chosen us. We don’t tell you what you need, we listen to what you want.”

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in Huntingdon and St Neots. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

St Neots Refugee Support – Local Collection Point

Refugee SupportWe are offering our premises – Gate Lodge in Cemetery Road, St Neots and 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon – as local collection points for Refugee Support.

Particularly needed are: SHOES – trainers or hiking shoes size 41-46; TENTS, COVERS, TARPAULIN JACKETS – size SMALL and MEDIUM only; TRAVELLING BAGS, SOCKS, CANDLES or other lighting implements; BELTS.

What we ALWAYS need: Tracksuit trousers, Jeans size 28-32, Blankets, Sleeping bags, Soap, Shampoo, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Plastic bags, Woolly hats, Pants, Pots, Pans.

What we DO NOT need: WOMEN and CHILDREN’S CLOTHES or SHOES, Sheets, Pillows, Suits, Town Shoes, Jumpers, Wellingtons.

Please feel free to donate any items you are able to. We are open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, but the nature of our business is that we are sometimes called out, so please don’t expect us to be there all the time. If the gates are open in St Neots, you may leave bagged items by the entrance door, but for security and so as not to encourage animals, please do not leave anything outside our Huntingdon office, or outside the gates at St Neots.

You are welcome to call us on St Neots (01480) 471001 or Huntingdon (01480) 412938 if you’d like to make sure we’ll be in before you come down.

Please respect the nature of our work, and remember that there may be bereaved people with us, and that we may be preparing to leave for a funeral.

Thank you so much for supporting this most worthwhile of causes. Let’s see what we can do as a community to help those in desperate need at this time.

Please Support our Easter Egg Appeal

Easter EggsKingfisher Funerals of St Neots and Huntingdon are collecting Easter Eggs to give to sick children this Easter. We will present all the eggs we collect to children on Holly Ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in the hope that we can bring smiles to some small faces at this celebratory time of year.

The Hunts Post carries a picture of Scott, Nicola and Philip clutching as many eggs as possible, on page 2 this week.

We have already been astounded by the generosity of people dropping Easter Eggs in to our offices, and we assure you that every gift, no matter how small, really will be gratefully received.

If you would like to donate an Easter Egg, please feel free to drop it in to either of our offices during normal opening hours.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in Huntingdon and St Neots. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

Kingfisher Funerals win Best in Category 2015

2015---Winner-in-Category2015 is the fourth consecutive year we’ve been in the top five best-loved funeral directors in the UK. In 2012 we came fifth, in 2013 we moved up one place, last year we came third, and this year we are very proud to announce that we have become the winners of the category in the annual Local and Loved awards.

The awards are run by The Best Of – a UK-wide business with franchises in many towns and cities in the country. Winners are chosen based on the number of positive testimonials they receive from clients during the year. The testimonials are verified before being accepted.

We strive to be the best funeral directors in our local area, and in particular in Huntingdon and St Neots. Our independence allows us to stand out amongst local competitors because we are able to encourage our clients to do whatever is right for them when it comes to arranging a funeral. We are not under any pressure to sell expensive or unnecessary items, and we genuinely make sure that each and every one of our clients to be treated as an individual.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services continues to grow as a business. As more and more local funeral directors are bought by large, faceless, corporate companies, we thrive on being open and honest about our ownership, our services and our costs. We believe that we are the only funeral directors in Cambridgeshire to openly display all of our prices on our website.

We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

Philip Reynolds joins the staff at Kingfisher Funerals, St Neots & Huntingdon

Kingfisher Staff 3Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services continues to grow as a local, independent company in St Neots and Huntingdon.

We are very pleased to welcome Philip Reynolds as our fourth full-time member of staff. Philip lives in St Neots with his young family, and joins us as a fully-qualified funeral director, having worked in Cambridge for the last 11 years. He is looking forward to the slightly shorter commute to work!

Philip is based at Gate Lodge, and joins Scott to become the second funeral director in our St Neots office. Nicola continues to make a huge impression on everyone she meets in Huntingdon, but the office is already becoming too busy for one person to manage alone, so Andrew is (slowly) moving to Princes Street to provide support there.

It is only thanks to the wonderful support and feedback we receive from our community that we have succeeded as a business. We are proud to remain the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in St Neots and Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Our relaxed, open and non-commercial approach to our profession continues to be our strength.

We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

Christmas and New Year 2014/15

During the Christmas holiday period this year, our St Neots and Huntingdon offices will close in the early afternoon of Wednesday 24th December and re-open on Monday 29th December. On Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th December, there will be times when only one office is open (see below). Over New Year we will only be closed from lunchtime on Wednesday 31st December 2014 and on Thursday 1st January 2015. Both offices will be open for reduced hours on Friday 2nd January 2015. Normal hours will resume on Monday 5th January 2015.

We will be providing a 24-hour telephone service as always, and should you require our assistance, please just call us on (01480) 471001 or (01480) 412938. One of us will be available to meet you in the office or at your home at a mutually convenient time on any day when the office is officially closed.

Wednesday 24th December 2014 – both offices open 9.00am – 2.00pm

Thursday 25th December 2014 – both offices closed

Friday 26th December 2014 – both offices closed

Monday 29th December 2014 – both offices open 10.00am – 2.00pm then by appointment

Tuesday 30th December 2014 – both offices open 9.00am – 2.00pm then by appointment

Wednesday 31st December 2014Huntingdon office only open 10.00am – 1.00pm

Thursday 1st January 2015 – both offices closed

Friday 2nd January 2015 – both offices open 10.00am – 3.00pm

Nicola, Scott and Andrew would like to wish everyone a very peaceful Christmas, and a prosperous and happy 2015.

Dignity Acquires T L Cobbold Funeral Directors in St Neots

Under New Ownership2T L Cobbold Funeral Directors of St Neots, together with Woodman & Sons of Biggleswade and Cecil Newling of Royston, have been sold to Dignity plc. Dignity is a huge company, which, according to Wikipedia is the largest provider of funeral services in the UK. Their own website states that they own more than 690 ‘funeral locations’ and operate 39 crematoria.

Speculation that Lodge Bros would sell the businesses was aroused in March 2014 when the freeholds to the three premises were sold by auction, with provisos that they were leased back to the business with 15 year contracts.

Dignity already owns William Peacock Funeral Directors in Huntingdon, Swearers of Ramsey, Clarabut & Plumbe in Bedford, Harry Williams & Sons and Weyman Funeral Services in Cambridge. The acquisition of three more funeral directors in our locality leads us to call for much clearer declarations of ownership. The vast majority of people who deal with funeral directors under the ownership of large, corporate companies, believe they are dealing with small, local individuals.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are rightly and justly proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in St Neots and Huntingdon. We take huge pride in providing a personal and individual service to each and every client. We are open and honest about our independence. We hide absolutely nothing. We display our prices on our website, and we believe we offer the very best value available in the local area. Small, independent funeral directors’ charges are almost always lower than those of large, corporate funeral directors.

We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

A Long-Distance Funeral

Skype Funeral 1We felt hugely privileged to be asked to host the funeral of Jorge Resende yesterday. A lot of Jorge’s family live in Portugal, as does a close family friend who is also a priest.

Our challenge was to bring everyone close together using technology, which we achieved with the help of Skype and a large television screen.

Friends in Huntingdon gathered at our premises in Princes Street at 8pm, at the same time as the priest and members of the family met at the family home in Portugal. A Skype link was then set up so that both parties could see each other.

The service was conducted in Portuguese with participation from both countries during the live link.

The atmosphere at Princes Street ensured that everyone felt welcome and able to relax, and lots of emotion was experienced when people who had not met for a long time saw each other on the big screen. The premises were ideal for an occasion such as this.

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in St Neots and Huntingdon. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

National Customer Service Week

Customer ServiceThis week is National Customer Service Week, run by the Institute of Customer Service, and we are taking the opportunity to join a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of customer service and the vital role it plays in successful business practice.

Customer service is at the forefront of our business model, and it is proving to be the main reason clients come to us, and recommend us to others.

We frequently receive feedback that nothing is too much trouble, and that our approach of putting the customer before our own business needs is much appreciated.

We are unique amongst funeral directors in St Neots and Huntingdon, because we are totally independent of any other business. That means that we are not under any pressure from distant shareholders to increase profits and meet targets, so we can focus entirely on the way we treat our clients.

National Customer Service Week encourages businesses to look at various aspects of the way they operate, including understanding the customer, dealing with problems and being easy to do business with.

We pride ourselves on being completely open and honest about every aspect of our business. We are unique in publishing our prices online so that clients can do their research before appointing us, and we guarantee not to push any service or product. Our customer service starts the moment anyone makes contact with us, and increasingly, that includes our website.

We already stand out from other funeral directors, through our colourful and relaxed approach to funerals, but we recognise that there is always room for improvement. We believe we already offer the best value and the best all-round customer experience. We now need to work on becoming better than the best!

Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in St Neots and Huntingdon. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

Opening Celebrations at Huntingdon Office

Mayor RibbonOn Wednesday 17th September we hosted an evening of celebrations at our new Huntingdon office in Princes Street. Over 30 guests attended, and it was wonderful to see people from so many different walks of life mixing and enjoying each other’s company.

The Mayor of Huntingdon formally opened the premises by cutting a kingfisher-coloured ribbon, before food and drink were made available for everyone.

We deliberately steered clear of the usual ‘chapel dedication’ that funeral directors hold when they open premises, opting instead for a welcoming barbeque and open event, during which guests were free to walk around the building and socialise with each other. At times it was difficult to hear yourself think above the noise!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The overwhelming reaction to the event was the beauty of the old listed building, the colourful, welcoming interior, and the sense of warmth that exudes from everyone involved.

We feel hugely privileged to be serving the people of Huntingdon and the surrounding area from Princes Street, whilst maintaining the ever-increasing popularity of our service from Gate Lodge in St Neots.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in St Neots and Huntingdon. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).

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