A. R. Adams Ltd.

  • A.R.Adams

Funeral Directors Category: South East England

  • A.R. Adams has been going since 1900 and now has the fifth generation of the family involved with Ethen Adams recently joining as an apprentice. It’s steeped in the history of your area. People researching their family tree pop in wanting to know where an ancestor is buried. Chances are the people at A.R. Adams can pull out a ledger with all the details of the funeral right down to what it cost.

    So this is a heritage business but, you want to know, is it any good today? We asked ourselves this, too, because we tend to be wary of old family businesses. They can be a bit smug and stuck in their ways. The answer to your question is that, proud as it undoubtedly is that it has been serving the people of your locality for so many years, it is remarkably sensitive to the needs and wishes of bereaved people now. It is run and staffed by people who care deeply about their work and think about it a lot. These are decent, ethical, likeable people who are also unusually intelligent. This makes a big difference at the human level.

    There are five family members who jointly run the business. Bradley, Samantha, Luke and Donna are siblings. They all worked in other jobs before coming back to the family business. They chose to work here, they didn’t just fall into it. The fifth family member is their Mum, June.

    Bradley is the person who we have grown to know and like over the years, a quiet, thoughtful and immensely likeable man, Bradley embodies the values of the company that he runs, and sets the tone for the staff that are employed. He is based at the premises in Rayleigh

    At Rayleigh you might arrange the funeral with Bradley, Samantha or Donna, or Natasha who is their funeral arranger. At Thorpe Bay you will arrange the funeral with Michelle or Luke.

    On the day of the funeral you will be looked after by one of the team of funeral conductors, Bradley, Scott, Donna or Paul. Former funeral conductor Mike is well known locally for his splendid whiskers – you can see his photo on the website, but he is now a casual member of the team and only conducts funerals occasionally. If the funeral is from Thorpe Bay, the funeral will is likely to be led by Luke.

    We were deeply impressed by the professionalism of every member of the team. They do things properly in every conceivable respect. We watched Mike lead the hearse away from the funeral home and up High road. It was a magnificent and very moving sight.

    The premises are spacious and well appointed. In the shop window in Raleigh stands a Victorian bier. The furniture is modern, there’s lots of light and definitely no gloom. Disabled access and disabled toilets. Good range of refreshments. If going into a funeral directors can be a pleasant experience, this is a good example.

    Specific Gravity

    If it is a formal funeral you want, no one does it better – they really are superb. But this is a culturally diverse area and they are accustomed to arranging funerals for people of all faiths. Their priority is to create the funeral that best fits with your wishes and values and, of course, the wishes and values of the person who has died. They are acutely aware that times are changing and that all funerals must be unique. They will spend all the time it takes to explore your views and get it right for you. They say: “Our ethos is that there is no right or wrong way.  If there is something a family mentions or desires that has not been heard of then we will do what we can to create it or help them achieve it.” They are very open-minded. So if it’s a very simple funeral you want, or something a bit different, they’ll get right alongside you.

    What\’s Important?

    A.R. Adams prides itself on customer service and, as were able to see, this is all about high standards of professionalism combined with a high degree of co-operation between everyone who works here. There’s no chain of command because everyone gets involved in what needs to be done. The staff have all worked here for years and years. No one reckons they’re too important to do something, and they all respect each other. It’s all about putting the client first and creating the best possible experience for them. This is an amazingly democratic and ‘together’ business.

    And they really do care. They say: “Every client is different. Listening to the client is the first thing that needs to be done, what are they really asking, what do they need to know?” On the day of the funeral it really is all about you and the person who has died.

    We spent time in the mortuaries at A.R. Adams which are in Thundersley, and were extremely impressed by the care and respect they show to people who have died.

    What\’s Different?

    They pride themselves on being open and transparent, and, do you know, they really are. They are open about their prices and you won’t be surprised by hidden charges that only appear on the final bill. They also, most unusually, do not charge markups on any services or merchandise they buy in for you, whether it be flowers, a bagpiper, white doves or a notice in the newspaper. They check out all their service providers in person. If, for example, they recommend a venue for your after-funeral tea, they’ll have been to see it and they won’t be getting a kickback if you choose it. They believe in “transparency with fair and ethical service – providing a personal service, not pushy sales or long winded terms and conditions. Good old-fashioned morals, a trusted name and a high level of service.” Well, good old-fashioned morals are a rare and prized commodity these days, aren’t they?


    • Your first call will be answered during office hours at Rayleigh by a family or staff member and at Thorpe Bay, by Luke or Michelle. If you ring at night, you will talk to Donna, Scott, Luke, Bradley or Trevor and on the majority of occasions the person taking the call will be one of the two people who comes out to your home.
    • Direct cremation £1,999. Simplest funeral £2,299 for a ten-minute, 9.30 am funeral at Southend Crematorium that family can attend. Details of what is offered for each can be found here.
    • Home Visits– Very happy to make arrangements with you either at the funeral home or at your own home.
    • Embalming– The people at AR Adams are in favour of embalming, which they do expertly, because they feel that people who have died look more themselves when they’ve been embalmed, and that this will give you a much better experience when you come to visit them. They will explore this with you. If you do not want it, that’s perfectly okay.
    • Continuity of Care– You will have direct contact with the family and staff who are looking after you or your relative at all times, there’s no ‘reception’ at either branch. At Rayleigh the person with whom you arrange the funeral will not be there on the day – unless you ask for them to be. At Thorpe Bay the funeral will be led by the person with whom you arranged the funeral.
    • Family Participation– If you want to carry the coffin, they’ll show you how – they will invite you to come in before the funeral and practise with a weighted coffin so that you can feel confident and capable on the day. If you’d like to come in and wash and dress the person who has died, they’ll be there for you. If you’d just like to come in do their hair, that’s absolutely no problem. They believe in empowering you to do what you want and they will help you in any way they can.
    • Same sex person to wash and dress?– Yes, if you want. No problem. Just ask.
    • Ethnic Specialism– They are experienced in many other funeral customs. Each branch has a fully equipped mortuary and washing facilities.
    • Local Celebrants– Good, carefully selected local celebrants to choose from if you do not want a religious minister. They will be able to advise you and make a recommendation.
    • Home arranged funerals– Will gladly work with you in any way you want if you who wish to care for the person who has died at home: see the Do It All Yourself section of the Good Funeral Guide website.
    • Website– Comprehensive information, well set out.
    • Client Support– If you want to be put in touch with a bereavement support group they will make that happen for you. “Our main aftercare is an open door, a welcoming smile, a cup of tea and the reassurance that the person is welcome to sit with us in a place of peace and quiet and that they will be listened to.”
    • Money matters– This is a high-value funeral director’s whose service culture is as good as we’ve seen. Prices are not therefore bargain basement, but neither are they the most expensive in the area. We think they offer excellent value for money. If money is any sort of a problem, please be upfront about it. They will do everything to provide a fitting funeral for what you can afford. If you are on benefits they will help you access any grants for which you are elgible and they’ll help you fill in the Social Fund forms so that you can apply for a Funeral Payment. Don’t feel awkward about this, these people are members of your community and they like to look after their own.
    • Parking – Park free round the back at Rayleigh and at Thorpe Bay.


    Highly rated, well run and soundly ethical, A. R. Adams are a fine example of a proper undertakers. We thoroughly recommend them.


    Any decisions you take on engaging the services of a funeral director should be based on your views and research. You should not rely solely upon the views and opinions offered by us.

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    Reviews from the old GFG site
    6 years ago

    Pam Anderson

    I chose A R Adams to take care of my husband when he died recently as my family had used them 11 years ago for my father’s funeral. And I was so pleased to have chosen them again.

    Their service was excellent and they showed compassion at a very difficult time for me.

    From the initial telephone call to them right through to the funeral and beyond I felt cared for and nothing was too much trouble. Their suggested Celebrant was perfect for the occasion and many people asked if he had known my husband as he seems to catch the ‘essence’ of him so well.

    I would recommend A R Adams in a heartbeat – Trevor, thank you again from the whole of the Anderson family.


    Trevor at Thorpe Bay provided us with the most exceptional care and kindness when my Mum left us.
    I am more than grateful and have already recommended the services of this excellent company.

    Gillian Purdon

    I whole-heartedly agree with your review and have without hesitation recommended AR Adams to others. They are exceptional.

    From our very first visit we knew we were in good hands. Luke at Thorpe bay guided us gently through the arrangements to be made; found us a local Celebrant who was perfect and provided the best of funerals for my Husband.
    Many people commented that they had never ‘enjoyed’ a funeral so much and would remember it for a long time.

    AR Adams are shining example of a company that knows how things should be done and many thanks to them for that.

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