Family Tree Funeral Directors

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Funeral Directors Category: South West England

  • James Showers (50s). Onetime ad-man, James’s has been a life journey of rich variety and varied vistas. A seeker after truth and beauty. Drawn to the dismal trade by “my father’s appallingly perfunctory disposal ceremony, and my mother’s funeral, which was excellent due to our strong insistence on having it our own way. I saw then that there was such a thing as a good funeral, and what makes the difference.” Out of death interests include gardening, dancing, reading, music of all sorts, walking, “wild places and somewhat wild people”, their religions, culture and food, Britishness, British birds, especially marshland species, horses, dusk, compost.

    Specific Gravity

    Warm, very normal, easy, unhurried, empathic, humorous. Terrifically nice, a great listener. You’d never mistake him for a funeral director. Posh perhaps, some might possibly say, pompous never. Relates to everyone. Smart: shirt, tie, jacket. “Thereafter, I take my lead from the family.”

    What’s Important?

    Works a lot harder than most to ensure you know what your choices are and have the info you need to craft a funeral that reflects your values and represents the life of the person who has died. You can be as involved as you wish, or James can do it all for you—whatever’s best for you. Dedicated to “inspiring families to reclaim their right to say their goodbyes in precisely the way they want.” Brilliant speaker and educator—talks to local groups and, with a colleague, holds workshops on best practice in end-of-life care.

    What’s Different?

    With James you feel as if you are dealing with a friend rather than a representative of a profession. He levels with you. And he’s very conscientious. Take as much of his time as you like. He’ll lead your funeral ceremony if you want, and can put you in touch with 2 good local celebrants or “a lovely retired minister who loves anything different.”


    • Phone always answered by James and you’ll deal with him throughout. Reckons to see 90 per cent of families at home. Works with home funeralists “as a matter of everyday service”. Same sex undertaker to lay out the body if you wish. Come and help if you wish. Tries to avoid embalming, offers it only if really necessary. Limited experience of ethnic minorities in monocultural Gloucestershire. His customary hearse is his Audi A6 estate; will hire a big black one (or whatever) if you want. Good website.


    Exactly the right person, and a rare find, for anyone wanting a highly personal funeral. One of the most humane people you will ever meet, and highly capable.


    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


    After my father died I knew exactly what I did NOT want his funeral to be but I didn’t really know what we could do until talking it through with James at Family Tree. Thank you so much for orchestrating, facilitating and enabling the funeral we did want, right down to the garland of local apples, and for the support and care offered at what is a very difficult time.

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    My wife died, aged 35, in London earlier this year. Her family are in Cheltenham, and she asked to be buried there. At a time when we were all feeling broken, James was of immense support. He came to collect her from London the morning after she died, facilitated her wishes to donate organs, and looked after both her and us every step of the way until it was time to say goodbye for the last time. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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    Anita King

    My 28 year old son died suddenly on 29th November. We were all in shock and so I looked online for a funeral director. Family tree’s website stood out because it was such a friendly and positive webpage. I rang with trepidation but I should not have worried James was so warm and compassionate. He listened to us talking about my son and then offered suggestions about what we could do. He kept us informed at every stage and was always on the end of the phone. He listened very carefully to us and this ensured that the service reflected my son’s personality and in accordance with our wishes. I could not have asked for a more personal service. Nothing was too much trouble for James. I would heartily recommend Family Tree if you want a funeral service which is personal to you and your family.

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    Margie McCallum

    I have worked alongside James on two occasions as a funeral celebrant. I am awed by his capacity to be completely present to a situation where a funeral is being planned; to all the people with their varied needs, and at the same time to the logistics of the ideas being expressed. He is a man of great integrity and compassion, and from my observation, very quickly feels like a friend of the family.

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    Lyn Searby

    My mother’s death was very sudden but in her last few hours this was her request -no funeral, a cardboard coffin for her body, noone to go to the creatorium, her ashes to be scattered on the front garden!
    I knew then the only person for such a request was James! He was wonderful and took charge of everything. We had the most amazing weekend celebrations. James returned the ashes in the most beautiful cardboard scatter tube covered in a blubell design (it was April!)
    Mum’s ashes are still going strong and each new plant bought for the garden is lovingly planted with a good scatter of Mum!

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    Maureen M.Thulin

    I had seen a small news report about Family Funerals, cut it out and did nothing about it. Then a friend was murdered A few days before the funeral the body was not released from autopsy. James coped.A beautiful coffin was presented rose petals,notes,pens and paper were supplied and we filled the coffin with our loving thoughts. I was so impressed. I found out who funeral funeral director was. For the sake of my sons, who will now be relieved of the awful business of planning a funeral and thanks to James, I enjoyed arranging my own funeral with him and know that my family will have every consideration and support when the time comes.

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    Barbara Weavers

    We had anticipated our mother’s death for quite some time befoe it actually happened and throughout that time James was happy to support us and explore how best to put our wishes in to practice. In the event we were able to have a funeral celebration which was nigh on perfect and was able to support my mother on her journey as she would have wished, as well as comforting and uplifting her family and friends. I greatly admire James as a person, and as a funeral director I suspect he is unsurpassed. He has a rare and valuable ability to sense what is the right thing to do, to say, or simply how to be at any moment in his dealings with bereaved people.

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    Martin & Vicky Woolford

    When my Don passed away we had no hesitation in asking James to undertake the funeral arrangements. His calm and thoughtful approach made dealing with all of the decisions Vicky had to take so much easier. The funeral itself was incedibly well organised and most importantly met our wishes for Dons final journey. We have and will continue to recomend Family Tree Funerals to those who are seeking a very personal and caring approach for thier loved ones funeral.

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    adrian williams-brett

    When my mother died last year I knew that Family Tree Funerals was the organisation I would choose to work with. This was because I had seen the care, sensitivity and professionalism they displayed, at the funeral of a friend of mine some time before. I am very glad I made that choice. I was deeply impressed at the way James Showers (director) made it his business to listen to how we wanted to approach the preparations, the funeral and the burial and then offered active support in helping us to achieve this, without ever imposing anything. The result was that the mood of the whole process was peaceful, rich and actually beautiful. Family Tree were instrumental in helping us to achieve this mood and everyone involved commented on it. Thank you!
    Adrian Williams-Brett

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    David Barlow

    Our daughter died tragically early. We needed something special and personal. Family Tree gave us this. I am a priest and have dealt with funeral directors for nearly fifty years, many of who sad to say are almost caricatures. James definitely isn’t! He is just a normal, non-pompous, pleasant fellow who will give you just what you need – traditional or “wayout”, whatever is right. He couldn’t have been more sensitive efficient, or dignified. I cannot praise him too highly.

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    Rev. Aaron Mirkin

    In The Christian Community, Stroud, we have always found James to be very open and genuinely understanding for all the various personal and ritual needs around a funeral. He brings that extraordinary combination of upright dignity and correctitude with engaging warmth and humanity to all he does.

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    Rev. Erhard Keller

    James has been very able to adapt to all kinds of situations and has been very helpful in assisting with organising a 3 day wake at our chapel for those who wanted it. He is very friendly, perceptive and sensitive.

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    Mike Goodenough

    … “inspiring families to reclaim their right to say their goodbyes in precisely the way they want.”

    This was exactly James’s approach to my mother’s funeral. He did everything he could to help us make it into an event she would have loved.

    Reviews from the old GFG site

    Freedom, Compassion and Sensitivity

    sarah kay reviewed 4 months ago

    My mother’s funeral arranged by Family Tree Funerals was exactly as she had stipulated – she was not a religious person but her religion was ‘nature’ – and the funeral reflected this – the beautiful wicker coffin woven with ivy and spring flowers and the simplicity of the order of service – facilitated in conjunction with the wishes of the family, their tributes and the music – all of this requires the skills of listening, intuiting and respecting the relatives of the deceased as well as balancing the requests of the deceased – patience and compassion were there in abundance and this allowed great freedom of expression in what turned out to be a wonderful send off. Funerals are sad but they can also be uplifting, beautiful, memorable and heartening. Ours was.

    Sarah Kay

    Laura Morgan

    Family Tree – surprisingly, extraordinarily brilliant for my mum’s funeral. So naturally we chose them again for my Poppa’s (grandad’s) more recently. They are so easy to work with . It’s such a scary uneasy time…. or so you’d expect. But in reality, I was just able to get on with all the best bits (choosing a colouful “so-Poppa” coffin, choosing which of his paintings I could do ‘show and tell’ with) while Family Tree folks swiftly, sensitively, capably, took all the rest off my hands. Just brilliant.

    Lotte Bowser

    The service we received from Family Tree amidst the death of my Grandma was nothing short of remarkable. James and the team went above and beyond the call of duty to support my family during this difficult time, visiting us at our home and being on-hand whenever we needed them. They allowed us the freedom of choice to ensure the service was as an authentic and personal tribute to Iris as possible. James’ presence at the funeral was one of surprising comfort and I couldn’t recommend a kinder, more caring and more genuine team to assist anyone dealing with loss in this process. Thank you James. We are eternally grateful to you and we are happy to have gained a family friend out of a sad situation.


    I was so pleased that i decoded to go with Family Tree Funeral Directors when my mother passed away unexpectedly. With a huge amount to deal with, they were calm, considerate and clear, always taking the time to go through the options and understand what it was I was looking for. Their manner was always open and understanding, with the utmost respect and absolute lack of judgement.

    I really had the feeling that they were partners, working with me in the limited time we had to create a funeral that met our needs and expectations, both emotionally and financially. I would absolutely recommend them to anybody considering it.

    Peter howell

    Our requirements were bespoke, my mother wanted no fuss, a cardboard coffin and a burial on our family Woodland. Family Tree were understanding, guiding and provided a soft touch that made the experience memorable and unique and peaceful for all of us. I recommend them wholeheartedly.