David Barrington. Dav Read more [...]
Funeral Directors Category: North West England
David Barrington. David’s story is best told in his own words: “I was brought up around the funeral business, our family home was where the cars were parked so when growing up I spent most of my time playing in limousines and hearses and for a young boy these cars were quite exciting. However when I was 11 years old my mum became ill, she had a fast growing brain tumour. Three months later she died, there was nothing that the doctors could do to help. I was devastated, my world had fallen apart and I felt very alone. Unfortunately, although my dad was in the funeral business, he didn’t have any idea how to deal with a grieving child. I left home to go to college when I was 18 and at that stage had no intention of ever going into the family business. Six years later though, I had been made redundant and my dad wanted to retire. He offered me the business and I came home to take it over.
But I wanted to do more. We were primarily a carriagemaster (a company that hires vehicles and staff to other funeral businesses.) that did the odd funeral. I wanted to be more involved with families and give them the service that they deserved. My experience of the other funeral directors in the area was that some of them were excellent (generally the independents) and some of them were not so good, but a lot of them were very set in their ways. I believed that the clients should have more choice and flexibility, which is what I set out to do. I also have a particular interest in child bereavement, for obvious reasons, and aim to make visiting my funeral home a good experience and make each funeral I conduct a good memory for all the families that I serve.”
David’s prime out-of-work interests are, together with his wife Claire, his little daughters Nell and Annie. David loves a good movie and a good rock gig. He’s a keen sailor (and keen to do more). He’s a gadget nut. He loves his hols with his in-laws in France. But his work seeps into his leisure time, he is an approved tutor for the NAFD, teaching students to think about their work and how they look after bereaved families to the best of their abilities, and in 2016 year he was elected to the Executive Committee of the NAFD, where his pragmatic and thoughtful approach to funeral directing can only be an asset. He has also been a member of the Committee for Professional Standards of the NAFD for two years.
David has built an exceptionally good business. His experience as a driver for his father’s carriage masters company gave him the perfect opportunity to see other funeral directors and work out what he thought worked and what didn’t. He has brought all the best bits together and added his own personality and his experience to create that rare thing, a modern, forward thinking undertaking business.
Willing to adjust his attire to whatever you want. Usually wears a bowler hat when conducting funerals.Can do the full monty with flair. The Barrington’s men wear striped trousers, long grey jackets and a black and pink tie. If Claire is conducting your funeral she normally wears a low top hat, striped skirt and black jacket, but as with everything, if you prefer something less formal they will be happy to adjust. Claire has worn a floral dress at a family’s request.
Cars Mercedes. “I’m not as bothered about having a brand new shiny fleet as some other people do. however if I could have my choice of vehicles I would like a Rolls Royce Hearse and Limousine. I wouldn’t want a new one and I know it isn’t very environmentally friendly but I actually think for somebody’s last journey they are lovely.”For those who don’t want a hearse a Ford S-Max estate car is available.
The two Barrington’s premises are light, airy and welcoming. Says David: “In my experience funeral directors have a penchant for dark and depressing spaces. I wanted anyone coming into my office to feel relaxed and homely, with this in mind it is neutral tones.
The premises at Waterloo are the main branch – the former Victorian house is easily identifiable with its pale blue exterior. The outside is appealing, with flowers and shrubs, and there is a removable ramp allowing wheelchair access. Inside, there is the main arrangement room upstairs, with a second one downstairs for clients with limited mobility. Both arrangement rooms are laid out like a sitting room, with comfortable sofas and contemporary decor. The main office is also upstairs, where all the paperwork and phone calls are taken care of. The viewing rooms are cream with large contemporary art pieces, and natural light filters in through the frosted glass in the doors. This also allows you to glimpse the coffin before going into the room, something that can be immensely helpful for those who are anxious. The downstairs reception room can be used by families visiting a relative, giving them space to prepare themselves before approaching the coffin, or to come and go from the intimacy of the viewing room. David understands how difficult it can be to come and see someone who has died, and has laid out his premises to make this as easy as possible.
The smaller, newer branch at Formby is looked after by David’s wife Claire, who joined him in the business a few years ago after a previous career in the art world. The Formby branch is modern and inviting, with much thought having been given to the layout to make the best use of space. There are two elegant chapels, and the decor is light and bright. Before Formby had even opened, a local family selected Barrington’s to carry out a funeral for them, and within three days of opening the door the first funeral from the branch was completed.
A really nice touch, this: “I have toys for children in case a family bring a child to entertain them and I like to encourage people to bring children with them and involve them in the whole experience.”
David prides himself on his flexibility and willingness to do whatever is asked of him: “I have helped a client in the past who had already bought his mum’s coffin and had it in a cupboard at home for when the time came. I have also helped a family who wanted no input from a funeral director apart from needing a coffin and a hearse.” He adds: “It is not for a funeral director to be judgmental.” This is an attitude which is rarer than you might think!
Unlike a lot of funeral directors, David has experience of real life – the life of the living. He looks at things differently from them, he finds. And, as one who was bereaved young, he has especial empathy for bereaved children. A great believer in open-mindedness and transparency. Very much in touch, and enthusiastically so, with the way funerals are going and abreast of what people now want.
With Claire looking after the Formby branch and a good team supporting him at Waterloo, David has been able to expand the business to meet the needs of the communities around him. Barrington’s are now well known and highly respected locally, a great achievement for a company that began with just David in a tiny office with one arrangement room and a chapel.
- Your call will be answered by David, his wife Claire or their colleagues Neil Irons or Jordan Ottley.
- The first funeral director you deal with will almost certainly look after you throughout and be there on the day of the funeral.
- Yes to home visit: “I meet the clients wherever they want to meet, this can be at home in my office or somewhere else, I have met in pubs, and registry office waiting rooms to make funeral arrangements.”
- Yes to you coming in and laying out and dressing the body.
- Embalming recommended if you want to visit, but he will discuss this with you carefully.
- Full choice of coffins, but he does not offer foil veneered coffins: “They are cheap and of poor quality.”
- Will happily work with home funeralists: “I have helped some families who have met with resistance locally in doing DIY funerals. It is not for funeral directors to dictate to families how they celebrate the life of their loved ones.”
- Yes to providing just some of their services if you want to do part of the funeral yourselves. If you just want consultancy they will be happy to help and charge by the hour.
- Minority ethnic groups very welcome: “I am the nominated funeral director for the reformed Jewish community in Liverpool, I also have some experience of Muslim funerals and Chinese funerals.”
- Same sex funeral director to lay out the body if you wish.
- Good website, with prices online.
- Parking available on the road outside both branches.
Direct cremation £1950 inclusive of all costs.
Simplest funeral £1,470 plus third party costs (cremation or cemetery fees, minister and doctors if applicable.)
Traditional funeral service (details on website) £1,935 plus third party costs.
Good informative website.
David is a lovely, genuine man who operates well beyond the call of duty. Forward looking and respectful of what people want, you’ll find here none of the stuffiness and self-importance that blight other funeral directors. Let’s finish with David’s own words again;
‘I felt that there was room for somebody who went the extra mile. My experience of working with other businesses was that in some cases they would do just enough to provide a funeral but any of the extra services were too much hassle they would make the family do the work that the FD should do. In some cases I felt that the family were seen as an inconvenience and this was not the way that families should be treated.
I decided that we would provide a full one stop funeral service. Whatever the family wanted we would provide, nothing would be too much trouble and we WOULD go the extra mile.’
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