Funeral Directors Category: East of England
David Button is the owner of this small family business and he leads the small team who are based here – Joanna West and Susan Penn are the other people you are likely to meet if you call in.
When he first opened the company, David managed on his own with the support of friends and family, but he was soon joined by Joanna West, who came to work with David in 2019. A former bank manager in Felixstowe, Joanna took a career break to spend more time with her children before returning to work as a business manager at a primary school in Suffolk and brings a whole wealth of experience with her to her role. Joanna now acts as David’s right hand person and, together with Susan, who also comes from a former position in the banking sector, has streamlined many of the processes and procedures that make this business run smoothly.
Still only in his forties, David’s path to owning his own funeral company has been a long one. After leaving the military, he began working in the funeral world as a casual, part time bearer, gradually progressing to learn how to arrange funerals and then becoming a funeral director. David worked initially for one of the large corporate companies, but after moving on to work for an independently owned business he realised ‘how businesslike the big companies are’.
Having his own company seemed like a dream for a long time, but eventually after looking for the ideal premises for a long time, the perfect opportunity arose – the beautiful former bank in Walton High Street, just outside Felixstowe.
The Old Bank is ideal – a solid, chunky building, directly opposite St. Mary’s Church. It was built in 1929 and Lloyds Bank was well known in the town during the 30’s before it was requisitioned by the War Department in WWII to be used as an Army Command Base. After the war, it was purchased in 1952 by Bloomfields and used as a furniture store, before being restored in 2014.
Much of the original beauty of the building has been retained, from the original parquet floor and old radiators to the lovely decorative molding around the ceiling edge. The high ceilings and tall windows give a light and airy feeling when you walk in, and the huge reception room has been entirely furnished with upcycled furniture – stylish desks and chairs, corner tables and a sumptuous sofa and armchairs behind a screen to offer some privacy.
The former bank manager’s office has been converted into a lovely chapel of rest, complete with the original fireplace, while through an original archway now screened by a heavy curtain, the former bank safe has been converted into a state of the art cool room, where the people being cared for by David and has staff are kept cool and – well, safe.
At the rear of the building is a small kitchen and a couple of loos, all installed as part of the conversion and spick and span, while outside there are two further mortuary areas. It’s a lovely building with a comfortable, comforting feel to it – absolutely ideal for a funeral business.
David is entirely at home here – you get the feeling he spends as much time at work as he does with his family, because he doesn’t see it as work at all. It’s a privilege and a pleasure for him to be able to run his own company entirely the way he wants to, which is for the benefit of the community around him. He’s rightly proud that he is the main point of contact for families, although having Joanna, and now Susan, working alongside him as he has become busier has been invaluable.
David’s daughter helps him out occasionally as well – it’s very much a family business, and the family feel to the company is reflected in the care that is given to everyone they look after. Sometimes Joanna’s daughter also comes in to help, she is a mental health nurse so brings her knowledge and skills in to enhance the team.
David prides himself on treating everyone in their care exactly as he would a member of his own family, and the testimonials and hundreds of thank you cards received echo the same words over and over; professional, kind, caring, comforting – all the attributes of an exceptional funeral director. We are very pleased to see that he and his team are also taking care of themselves as they serve their community, implementing decisions to reduce the out of hours commitment that so often leads to burnout. They have now partnered with another local independent funeral director whose team will carry out any collections required overnight or at weekends, enabling David and Joanna to ensure they have a healthier work / life balance.
The company is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors as well as the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, and abides by their code of practice, and David has good connections with other local independent funeral directors, all helping each other out when needed. If a family want a funeral on a particular date and time and additional staff or vehicles are needed to make this happen, being on good terms with other local companies is essential.
If you choose David Button Independent Funeral Directors to help you with funeral arrangements you will receive a completely personal service. The person you meet to discuss your wishes will also be the person who looks after your relative, who will be available to you throughout the period leading up to the funeral, and who will supervise the arrangements on the day. They will sit in on the ceremony – discreetly, but present, this is an absolute must as far as David is concerned, and they will be there for you afterwards if you need them to be.
Many families call in to say hello when they’re passing after the funeral has taken place, which indicates just how comfortable this small but successful company make their clients feel.
Being a small, independently owned business where you will be personally attended to by the man whose heart and soul has gone into his company means that families receive immensely special service. David and Joanna have years of experience between them, and are both highly qualified to care for families at the most difficult time of their lives. Susan is absorbing and learning from both of her more experienced colleagues, and with the skills from her previous professional. role, she is already skilled at putting people at ease and listening, the most essential attributes required
The personal approach, 100% availability and the passion that David has for his work. He is transparent and open, both in his manner when you meet him, and in his professional attitude – his prices are clearly available online, and he is happy to show you round the premises, including the cool room where your relative will be cared for. There’s nothing to hide here, and everything to be proud of.
David has built a wonderful small business, which has won awards locally for both its success and its community involvement. Named as runner up in the Suffolk Coastal Business and Community Awards 2018 for business growth, the company won the Great Idea category, with a commendation from the judges for its understand of the community’s needs which resulted in the formation of their Friendship Circle.
Apart from the fabulous building (which has its own Facebook page!) the aspect that makes this company stand out is its service to the community. This isn’t something done for commercial benefit or ego, it’s part of the ethos behind the business. An example of this ethos is the monthly meetings for women who have been bereaved.
The Friendship Circle began simply with just one bereaved woman, as time went by, other women whose husbands had died were invited to come along, until the group outgrew the local coffee shop and had to find a larger venue in a nearby hotel to fit everyone in. David funds the monthly meetings, he can see how important they are to the women who go along – there are now plans afoot to offer something similar for men to take part in.
- Your first call will be answered by David, Joanna or Susan. If none of them is available then you might speak to Malcolm Arnold who also helps out.
- Home visits – Yes of course, just ask.
- Same sex person to wash and dress? Everyone who is looked after here will be bathed and have their hair washed as part of their care.
- Embalming? David’s not really a fan of embalming, he doesn’t routinely offer it as part of his care unless it is essential.
- Ethnic specialism? Happy to work with families from all communities and cultures.
- Home arranged funerals? Happy to help families who just need a consultant or some practical assistant, just ask.
- Local celebrants: David and Joanna have built up good relationships with a number of local celebrants and will be able to offer a selection for you to choose from.
- Vehicles: David is proud of his vehicles which are always washed and polished before leaving the premises – first impressions are important and the cars used on a funeral show who the company is.
- Website: Nice website, informative and easy to navigate.
- Client support: Superb, both during the lead up to, throughout and after the funeral . Call in for a cup of tea and chat whenever you want.
- Money matters: Excellent value for money. Prices fully broken down and explained on the website here. Personal service throughout but without the costs that you’d expect to be associated with this.
- Parking: Plenty of free parking on the roads nearby.
This is a lovely small independent business, with all the benefits of the passion and dedication of the man who is behind it.
David has learned his trade from every aspect (he doesn’t like to say ‘from the bottom up’ as he feels every part of the work involved in making a funeral happen is of equal value) and he is now in his element – no longer constricted by the structure of a large corporate company, or working for another business owner, he has spent the time since opening his own company gradually creating exactly the kind of community focused service that he dreamed of.
He has a humility and friendliness that immediately puts people at their ease, and a determination to do the absolute best he can for every family he works for. We are really happy to include David Button Independent Funeral Directors among our list of recommended companies.