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, the big curves of the Austin Princesses or Daimler DS420’s were my space ships.” 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 carriage master (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.”
The business evolved from the family home in Waterloo, taking on a small number of assisted funerals to a large Victorian building on the main road nearby. Claire – David’s wife joined him in the main business early 2011.
David and Claire have built an exceptionally good business. David’s 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. They brought all the best bits together and added personality, experience and creativity to create a rare thing, a modern, forward thinking undertaking business.
David and Claire’s prime out-of-work interests are their daughters Nell and Anna. David loves a good movie, and a good rock gig and Claire enjoys dancing and anything artistic especially the theatre. The whole family love being on the water, messing about in boats or on a barge. David a keen sailor and keen to do more. Along with being a gadget nut. They enjoy travelling. Being a family business work of course seeps into their leisure time and can often be a whole family project.
As an approved tutor for the NAFD, with a base at the main office – David teaches 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 seven years. In 2019 David became the President of the NAFD and served a two-year term due to Covid 19 and during a period of significant change.
Willing to adjust their funeral attire to anything you want. The team has grown now to include 4 more ladies. David Usually wears a top hat and tails when conducting funerals. All Barringtons men wear striped trousers, black jackets and a black and white striped tie. When Claire conducts, she normally wears a low top hat, striped skirt and black jacket or a tailored suit, 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 Ford. In December 2019 Barringtons bought a brand new self-charging hybrid hearse and limousine. “The environment is more and more important and we were aware that it was time to move our vehicles over to a more eco conscious approach. We also have a Galaxy Hearsette for families that would prefer something less formal or a plug in hybrid Volvo XC90 which for short journeys is totally zero carbon.”
Barringtons’ 3 premises are light, modern and welcoming. Both Claire and David have designed and planned each space with care and deliberate use of colour and light. Even the images on each wall also play a role – the relaxed and friendly atmosphere people need to have is so important.
Waterloo is 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 calm and 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. Claire and David understand how difficult it can be to come and see someone who have died, the premises attempt to make this as easy as possible.
The second branch at Formby was a natural extension into this area – as more and more families were coming along from Formby and Hightown.
The Formby branch again is modern and inviting, with much thought having been given to the layout to make the best use of space. There are two elegant viewing rooms, 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.
Netherton – the newest branch has recently opened during June 2021, this is the largest branch with a renewed push on their ‘eco’ focused ethos. A traditional shopfront on the end of a row of shops in a shopping precinct. Tasteful modern design with scandinavian influence. Natural elements are of importance. Wooden wall features with oak floors and bookcases, beautiful viewing rooms with feature walls to allow a families and friends to have a reflective and gentle experience when coming to visit their loved ones. A lovely modern feel to this branch in Claire’s own words: ‘It makes me smile when I walk in here’.
A really nice touch is the conscious involvement of children in funeral arranging: “We have toys for children in case a family bring a child to entertain them and we like to encourage people to bring children with them and involve them in the whole experience. It’s important for children to feel involved and understand they are important to the person who has died.”
Barringtons pride themselves on their flexibility and willingness to do whatever is asked: “We 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. We have also helped a family who wanted no input from a funeral director apart from needing a coffin and a hearse.” David adds: “It is not for the funeral director to be judgmental.” This is an attitude which is rarer than you might think!
Unlike a lot of funeral directors, David and Claire have experience of real life – the life of the living. Both have customer service experience along with business sense. And, as one who was bereaved young, David has special 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 a good growing team supporting them at Waterloo, David & Claire have been able to expand the business to meet the needs of the communities around them. Barringtons 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 telephone call will be answered by David, Claire or their colleagues Neil, Julie, Clare or Beth. At the newest branch in Netherton, you may also speak to Debbie or Angie.
- 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 visits: “We 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 is offered if you want to visit, but they will discuss this with you carefully and it will be your choice
- A fuller choice of coffins, Netherton also has a purpose-built coffin showroom – we hold stock of the most chosen veneered coffins, and any others can be delivered in around 72 hours.
- Will happily work with home funeralists: “Some families 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: “We are the nominated funeral director for the reformed Jewish community in Liverpool, we also have some experience of Muslim funerals and Chinese funerals.”
- Same sex funeral directors & help to lay out the body if you wish.
- Good website, with prices online.
- Parking available on the road outside all branches.
- Direct (unattended) cremation £1282 inclusive of all costs.
- Simplest funeral (CMA – Standard funeral)
- £1770 plus third-party costs (cremation or cemetery fees, minister and doctor’s certificate if applicable. Traditional funeral service (details on website) £2500 plus third party costs.
David and Claire are a lovely, genuine couple who operate 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. Claire adds, ‘Continuity of care runs from the very start to the very finish – all aspects of a funeral service are of equal importance’.
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.