Albany Funerals (Maidstone)

  • Albany-Funerals-Portraits-October-2018-48

Funeral Directors Category: South East England

  • Johanna Williamson. Albany Funerals is a modern, progressive funeral directors, run by a brilliant, born-again funeral director. Before she opened Albany, Jo ran a care home. Her warmth and capability have ensured that her company has become well established in the area – a recent client told her that they had been recommended to use Albany by three different people. Word is getting out; people like what she does and the way that she does it.

    Jo is incredibly nice, and we cannot imagine anyone not taking to her at once. No airs and graces here, just kindness and friendliness and good manners. She’s a class act, unusually intelligent and switched on, seeking to enrich her clients’ experience of creating a funeral. There’s nothing rigid in her thinking. She’s very happy to have found what it is that she really wants to do.

    Jo opened her first funeral home in Maidstone almost a decade ago, and she hasn’t looked back. In 2018, after spending a long time looking for somewhere suitable, she opened a second home just outside Ashford, in a beautifully converted barn

    Both Albany Funerals funeral homes are bright, well-lit, civilised and unusually tastefully decorated, painted in soft, neutral colours – the kind of places that really put you at your ease. It’s like walking into someone’s home. In both Maidstone and Ashford, the room in which you talk about funeral arrangements is furnished with sofas and armchairs, and this tells you that you have all the time you need. Both have lovely chapels of rest, spacious and serene, lit by lots of candles, and both have, of course, completely immaculate mortuaries.

    When she’s not working, Jo likes to get involved in community activities. Jo is the governor of a local school and she serves on her Parish Council. She likes cycling with her children, walking, cooking and travelling.

    Being part of the community of bereaved people is also important to Jo and her team, and they are proud of their growing bereavement support group, which meets every month. They’ve organised outings for their bereavement group and plan more for the future, and their annual remembrance event in memory of those who have died has outgrown its original home as so many people attend, whatever the weather. It’s clear that the care for their clients doesn’t just stop when the funeral is over, Albany is very much there for you for as long as you need them.

    Specific Gravity

    Jo will arrange exactly the funeral that you want. Albany are unique in the area in being perfectly able to provide either a completely traditional funeral, or a totally bespoke one. If it’s a traditional funeral that you want, you can be reassured that the turnout is as smart as it gets. And if you want a very personal, individual event then Jo will be able to offer you as many suggestions as you feel comfortable with. You’ll never be overwhelmed though, she’s exceptionally good at listening to people and understanding what they need from her.

    Whatever type of funeral you want, it will probably be conducted by Matthew, or possibly Tim Holloway. Jo herself tends only to conduct the more modern funerals. Angela and Jim also conduct funerals.  You’ll get to know whoever is conducting your funeral well before the day. If you want Albany’s bearers to carry the coffin, they only choose ones who look nice (you can choose your own, of course).

    If you want a less formal funeral, Jo will talk you through the options and, of course, everyone will dress accordingly.

    What’s Important?

    Jo is very much aware that people’s expectations of a funeral are changing. She recognises that there is a growing demand for funerals which reflect the personality and values of the person who died. She recognises that no two funerals are the same, so she is aware of the vital importance of listening very carefully to you and making sure the funeral you arrange is exactly as you want it. What makes her especially well qualified to do this is her intelligence and her humanity.

    What’s Different?

    Jo had a life outside before coming in to funeral directing, so she looks at everything with fresh eyes. This makes her unusually flexible and open-minded. She is not a radical in any sense of the word, but she is very good at interpreting her clients’ needs and wishes, and she is very well informed. When it comes to discussing the range of choices available to you, you will find her full of suggestions and absolutely up to date. If you want to make financial provision for your own funeral, she will guide you through the options.

    One special difference comes in the four legged form of Jo’s beautiful little dog, Lily Pickles – known as Pix to everyone. She’s like a living teddy bear, and loves nothing more than being stroked and cuddled. She has a future as a therapy dog for Albany, and if you’re a dog person and need some gentle affection from a pretty little canine while you’re talking about your plans for a funeral, she’ll come and sit with you, giving you the chance for some therapeutic calming stroking. (If you’re not a dog person, no worries, Pix will take herself elsewhere).


    When you phone, your call will be answered by Jo, Angela, Matthew, Jim or Anisa.

    Prices online here.

    Direct cremation – Includes collection and care of the person who has died, all paperwork etc, cardboard coffin, doctors fees – from £1,500.

    Simple early morning cremation – “Includes all our normal services, doctors and minister/celebrant fees and an ecological cardboard coffin, the difference is an earlier time at the crematorium and the coffin is waiting in the chapel before the start of the funeral. £2,795.”

    Home Visits – Happy to come to your home to arrange the funeral.
    Embalming – Mostly, she doesn’t but, if you want it, she’ll explain what’s involved and let you decide.
    Continuity of Care – Either Jo, Anisa, Jim or Angela will look after you throughout and you’ll meet whoever is conducting the funeral before the day.
    Family Participation – If you’d like to come in and wash and dress the person who has died then your Albany person will be there for you, to help you or leave you to it.
    Same sex person to wash and dress – yes: just let them know.
    Ethnic Specialism – Jo and her team are experienced in arranging funerals according to a wide range of customs.
    Local Celebrants – Good relationships with local clergy. If you want a secular celebrant, there are a number on their books. Jo is incredibly careful about who she recommends, and you’ll be offered a booklet with all the local celebrants and personal statements to help you make up your mind.
    DIY Funerals – If you want to handle some or all parts of the funeral yourself, you can buy in the services you need separately. Jo will be very happy to support you in any way you wish her to.
    Website – Lovely, comprehensive website with a downloadable full price list.
    Bereavement support – A support group meets monthly for those who want it. Very popular and a great success.
    Parking – There is off-street parking on the forecourt of the funeral home in Maidstone, and plenty of parking at the barn in Ashford.


    Jo does not conform in any way to the gloomy caricature of the funeral director, you’ll not be surprised to hear, and nor does her funeral home. She and her staff are bright, normal, businesslike, kind and absolutely genuine. We think the team at Albany will look after you well, in the way you’d like to be looked after. You’ll be able to create a fine and appropriate send-off at a price that will reflect what we reckon to be very good value for money.

    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

    Sue Newman

    I can’t thank Sam and Jo enough for the service they have provided to us for my husbands funeral. I was everything I could have wished for.
    Also many thanks to Wayne Alexander who was the celebrant on the day. He was really good indeed.
    I personally would recommend Albany any day.
    Many, many thanks

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    Tim France

    When my father died in October 2014 I knew we needed a funeral director that was special. We were incredibly lucky to find one!
    I used this site to research the best funeral directors in our area and was immediately struck by the reviews above for Albany Funerals. I was further reassured by the feel and professionalism of their website.
    Everything I read was true. Jo, Sam and the team were simply wonderful. My mother, sister and I felt incredibly well looked after. Jo was the perfect combination of empathy and practicality, which is exactly what we needed. We never felt rushed or under pressure to do or decide anything. We were gently taken through all our options and the arrangements on the day were beautifully and expertly executed.
    It’s hard to express how much this meant to us. We feel very lucky to have found Jo, Sam and their team. I highly and unreservedly recommend them.

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    Wayne Brazier

    After our sad loss of our father, we wanted to select a funeral director that would provide the unique, special and personal service that my father so deserved. Upon reviewing the website and reviews, it became apparent Albany provided the service offering that we desperately desired. Upon meeting Jo, she immediately engaged with my mother, responding to her feelings whilst providing the caring and professional guidance needed in dealing with such a traumatic experience. All our family wishes were attended to through various meetings and forms of communication ensuring we were supported respectfully. On the day of the funeral, the team were extremely professional, the timings were punctual, they assisted members of the family in fulfilling the roles of bearers, the director of ceremonies was top class and Jo paid particular attention to caring for my mother throughout the whole ceremony. They ensured my father was provided with a lovely and perfect funeral. Jo and her team really do provide a top class, quality and personal service and I appreciate the time and care taken guiding us through this tough period. I will not hesitate in making any referral and/or recommendation to anyone seeking a valued service. Thank you Jo so very much!!!

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    Rosemary Kingdon

    At a time of heightened sadness I had all the support and care that anyone in similar circumstances could have wished for.

    On the day of the funeral itself, the Director of Ceremonies, Peter, fulfilled his duties with great dignity, confidence and sincerity. He has left a lasting impression – indeed the true epitomy of “the gentle giant”.

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    Carol Gill

    We can’t praise Jo, Sam and the staff at Albany enough. Their unique
    ability to make you feel that they are part of the family, helping, advising,
    providing shoulders to lean on and coffee to sustain you at a very difficult
    time yet be so completely professional, is such a rarity in this day and age.
    A truly personal service which leaves you with the feeling that the very best was done for your loved one.
    We can’t thank them enough.

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    steve Kitchenham

    From the minute my family walked through the door to the big day of my dads funeral, Jo and her team were Kind helpful and reassuring.
    Jo listened to what our family needs were and organised to the last detail.
    On the day all the team helped and looked after us.
    Thank you

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    Ann Crayford

    I was extremely happy with the arrangements I made with them for a funeral and the aftercare. They run a very successful group providing continuity of support, meeting monthly. I can highly recommend them and their premises are really tasteful. I was impressed.

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    Caroline Ede

    Jo and Simon are so supportive and attentive to the families needs, which is crucial when you are at your most vulnerable. They are also the only funeral directors I know who have put together a booklet of all their Celebrants so families can choose who will conduct the ceremony and even see what we look like before we meet them! They are breaking new ground and this can only mean an improvement for everyone.

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    Sue Goodrum

    I have worked with Jo and Simon and they have a lovely outlook on this work. Very kind and supportive to their families and to me as a celebrant working with them. Interested in all new things happening in the industry and very enabling to any families who want to do ‘more’ themselves.

    Vivien Davis
    4 years ago

    I have assisted with arranging two funerals using Albany. I have found Jo and her team to be everything you say in your overview of their services.

    The first funeral was an early morning cremation, with use of cardboard coffin. This was covered over with a black velvet cloth, and with flowers on top looked lovely. It was also good not to have to follow the pall bearers into the Crematorium. Finances were a problem on this occasion, as payment was needed at the time. Jo kindly gave a suggestion that we would never have thought of, and within hours this difficulty was overcome!

    I have just assisted with arrangements for a Direct Cremation, which were all handled smoothly in a genuinely kind manner. The Memorial Service, in this case will be well attended, but the deceased didn’t want people to have to attend a service at the Crematorium.

    I can truly recommend these people, they will not let you down. They make an emotionally hard job much easier!

    4 years ago

    I have, sadly, had to call on the services of Albany Funerals twice this year, as both my parents passed away within a few months of each other. Everyone there has been so helpful and kind, first with organising my mother’s funeral, then recently my father’s, with all the problems the current restrictions have caused. Everything has been done with the greatest consideration and respect. I particularly want to thank Angela for guiding me very gently and with great sympathy through a difficult time, and for her seemingly limitless patience.

    1 year ago

    Dear Albany Funerals
    Thank you so much for arranging my husband’s funeral. From start to finish your service has been kind, friendly, helpful and professional. I had complete trust on the day that the whole thing would run smoothly and it did, taking so much stress and pressure away from me. I spoke to many members of staff during the planning and every single one dealt with my queries and requests faultlessly. The celebrant, Debbie, recommended by Albany, was also extremely helpful and professional. Debbie grasped my husband’s vibrant personality perfectly and presented a wonderful and apt eulogy, and went above and beyond to help me create an audio visual tribute. Many thanks to everyone concerned.
    Lyn Dive

    Mark Wooding
    1 year ago

    Having sadly lost two close family members within close succession, we have become well acquainted with Albany Funerals over recent weeks.

    Angela, Matthew and the team constantly went the extra mile to deliver an amazing personal service that made a very difficult and challenging experience much more bearable. Throughout all of the calls, face-to-face meetings and the in-depth planning that was involved, the care, compassion, understanding and thoughtfulness shown was second to none.

    Working closely with Angela from day one, her unwavering professionalism and shared determination to get every aspect of the service right, along with her ability to display such great empathy, not only enabled us to deliver our final farewells with perfection, but also helped navigate us through the immense sense of loss and grief that we were experiencing. Whether it be her recommendations around service style and content, floral tributes, or a celebrant – she got everything 100% right. They were as perfect as the day itself, which Matthew and his team delivered with impeccable style and grace.

    A final special thank you also to John, who from the very outset demonstrated a level of care, respect and dignity to us, which was delivered in equal measure to our loved ones under his care.

    What you all did for us will never be forgotten.

    Vivien Davis
    11 months ago

    This is the third time I have used Albany Funerals Maidstone. On each occasion I have been impressed with their friendly dignity and how stress free they made the whole process of arranging a funeral. Their attention to detail is amazing! For example: I was asked what my wishes were regarding my Mum’s ashes and I said that my Dad’s ashes had been scattered at the Crematorium. Angela then asked when that was and I said it was 39 years ago! She asked for more details saying that it would have been logged at the Crematorium exactly where they had been scattered and my Mum’s could be put in the same place! This took me completely by surprise as I hadn’t even realised that could be an option! What a lovely solution! Cannot thank them enough!

    Victoria Foord
    4 months ago

    I would like to thank everyone at Albany Funerals Maidstone especially Angela and Matthew for all the compassion and understanding arranging my dads funeral. The service they provided was outstanding.

    Many thanks

    Victoria Foord

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