Family Tree Funeral Company

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Funeral Directors Category: South West England

  • Jane Diamond (on right in photo)

    Quite possibly, Jane will find the prominence of her name in this review uncomfortable. She has an instinctive preference to be in the background rather than the foreground, seeing her role as supportive and professional rather than the centre of attention. But it’s Jane who is the quiet strength and constant presence behind this lovely  funeral company in Stroud.

    Jane has been part of Family Tree Funeral Company since she met the founder, James Showers in 2018. They instantly clicked and James invited Jane to attend a funeral with him. She stayed working with James from that day onwards, learning every aspect of the work from him. When James retired in June 2023, Jane and her husband Gianluca Corrado bought the company from him, with a promise to continue to run it along the lines on which he had founded it; to ‘bring life to the end of life’, as he would say, to empower families and to make positive change.

    James created Family Tree Funeral Company in 2005 – having worked at larger, corporate funeral companies, he was determined to bring a different, person-centred approach to serving the people of Stroud and the surrounding areas. James remains a good friend and mentor for both Jane and Gianluca as they take the company forward and he enjoys a well earned retirement.

    Jane is committed to normalising the subject of death. She sees this as fundamentally important, and something that has the potential to transform out culture. A qualified body psychotherapist, she has a deep understanding of issues of attachment and separation, and she naturally  finds people and families and family dynamics fascinating. She is devoted to trying to help people become better connected and more comfortable with awareness of death, and her background – which also includes training in end-of-life planning and beginning training as a death doula – is ideal for someone planning a quiet revolution.

    She is 100% up for this – ‘Death awareness is political activism’, she says. ‘Overall, we are very disconnected in our culture – disconnected from the food we eat, the clothes we wear, from nature and the environment, from the spiritual / non material world. This disconnection leads to inner ennui, anxiety, depression and lack of purpose. We are taken up with consumerism, and less compassionate than we should be. Awareness of death leads naturally to us being more compassionate, which leads to greater connection and less need to consume.”  A quiet revolution indeed.


     Specific Gravity

    You can get the essence of Family Tree by looking at the website – it’s a wealth of information, beautifully presented in a way that doesn’t overwhelm. Dip in and out, read the blog posts and browse the information sections. You’ll absorb knowledge and become familiar with the empowering approach that Jane and her team have to their work.

    This attention to detail is also evident when you visit the premises in Middle Street. Outside, it is immediately attractive, with large picture windows flanking the door in this quiet street close to the town centre. The window displays are changed quarterly, sometimes reflecting the season, other times with a specific theme. You step into a large attractive space furnished with comfortable seating and lots of plants. It’s spacious, light and bright and homely, with comfortable rugs on the floor. To the right is the office area, where Jane has her desk and Gianluca and Catherine also have workspace, while gorgeous curtains at the rear of of the space screen the area where you can spend time with the person who has died and where they are cared for.  It is all very beautiful, and the air is scented with essential oils. The premises are self-contained, so when people are brought into the care of Family Tree, this is where they will be until the day of the funeral.

    What’s Important?

    Jane and Catherine work a lot harder than most to ensure you know what your choices are and have the information 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 Jane and the team can do it all for you – whatever’s best for you. Family Tree is dedicated to inspiring families to reclaim their right to say their goodbyes in precisely the way they want.

    What’s Different?

    With Jane and Catherine working with you, you will feel as if you are dealing with friends rather than a representative of a profession. There are no questions that are off limits, nor suggestions that they wouldn’t do their very best to make happen. Tis makes them an outlier among the more traditional funeral businesses in the area, and they are also the only funeral business owned and run by a woman!

    Local people looking for a progressive or alternative approach have always found their way to Family Tree, but Jane and her team are equally adept at supporting families who want a completely traditional funeral. They are used to carrying out funerals in churches and the local crematoria and can be as formal as you want, or as dressed down – it’s entirely up to you. The one thing Jane draws the line at though, is the thought of being asked to dress in Faux Victorian-style funeral wear for a funeral; “That would be a dealbreaker for me'” she says, “I simply could not do my job if I had to dress in a costume!”

    As Jane settles into the role she has stepped up to, taking James’s legacy forward and making that positive change, she has plans of making Family Tree much more than just  a funeral directing business. Her dream is for it to be a holistic hub for all things to do with the end of life; a community death centre where people can come in for advice and support with end of life planning, be put in contact with a death doula, be helped to create beautiful ceremonies or simply learn more about changing how we relate to death and dying. She is actively working towards this, giving talks, running events and continuing with the Death Cafe all the while ensuring that every funeral they are entrusted with is as perfect as possible.



    • The phone is always answered by Jane or Catherine and you’ll deal with them throughout. There’s no out-sourcing to call centres or to staff to take calls late at night.
    • If your person has died at home, Jane will accompany Gianluca to collect them and bring them back to Middle Street.
    • Meetings to discuss arrangements for the funeral can take place at your home if you prefer, or you can meet Jane or Catherine at their lovely premises.
    • If you want to look after your person yourself after they have died then Jane and Catherine will be happy to advise and support you to do so.
    • Same-sex person to prepare and dress your person’s body if you wish, and of course you can come and help if you want to be involved – this is positively encouraged and facilitated.
    • Embalming is seldom needed. It will be offered only if really necessary.
    • Family involvement is encouraged. If you have sufficient people to carry the coffin for the funeral then great; not only will that make it far more personal, but it will save you paying for pall bearers.
    • Family Tree’s usual vehicle is a dark blue Mercedes E-class estate, modified at the back to take a coffin, but if you want a hearse then they will hire one.
    • Great website here, with prices listed for their various services.
    • You may find parking on Middle Street itself, Otherwise, use the pay and display car park on Parliament Street. Walk down the steps at the Nelson Street exit and turn left, then go left at the Golden Fleece and Family Tree is right there on Middle Street.


    Exactly the right people, and a rare find, for anyone wanting a highly personal funeral. Great value for the service you receive. Jane and Catherine are some of the most humane people you will ever meet, and highly capable. We like them very much indeed.


    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
    5 years ago


    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
    5 years ago

    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
    5 years ago

    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
    5 years ago

    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.

    4 years ago

    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
    4 years ago

    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.

    3 years ago

    Thank you so much James and Jane for your help in making my mother’s funeral run so smoothly. I couldn’t have chosen a better funeral director. From my very first phone call to you, hearing James’ calm and reassuring voice to collecting my mother with dignity and respect from her care home and then listening to our family’s requests, when we met up quietly making suggestions. Despite the funeral being in Berkshire everything ran smoothly and your presence was unobtrusive, natural and helpful when required. Many people remarked on how impressed they were, from the care home staff to guests at the funeral. We are all very appreciative as it meant we gave our mother the send off she truly deserved. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending you to anyone. Thank you from me and my sisters and all of our family.

    Gary Embleton
    3 years ago

    When our Mother passed away we reached out to James and Jane and they were absolutely fantastic. So much compassion and understanding in how they dealt with us, trying their very best to ensure we were able to do things our way rather than a typically traditional way. Communication, advice, support, and a few small extra detail’s that made all the difference. Simply put they went the extra mile for us.

    I cannot thank you both enough for the calm, measured support you gave to us during this time.

    Carolyn Townsend
    4 months ago

    My father had already met James at Family Tree to discuss his funeral years before he died, in October 2023. With Jane’s help and care, we feel we were able to honour his wishes and incorporate elements that were important to the family.
    She was incredibly supportive, kind and reassuring throughout, as was Nic, our celebrant.
    We feel very grateful for everything Family Tree did for us at that difficult time and would highly recommend them.