Family Tree Funeral Directors

  • IMG_0573
  • l_01a09ad7f5dc99cf53b33bbad371adc6

Funeral Directors Category: South West England

Profile
Profile
Photos
Map
Reviews
  • James Showers and Jane Diamond.

    Quite possibly both of them will find the prominence of their names in this review uncomfortable, they share an instinctive preference to be in the background rather than the foreground, seeing their roles as being supportive and professional rather than centre of attention.

    James founded Family Tree Funeral Company in 2005 after “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 it is that makes the difference.” By the time he founded Family Tree, he had spent time studying and working with a large corporate funeral directors, so had learned the nuts and bolts of the funeral business, but he was determined to bring a different, person-centred approach to serving the people of Stroud and the surrounding areas.

    For many years, James ran the company pretty much single-handed, establishing Family Tree as a well known funeral directors in Stroud. When he met Jane in 2018, the two instantly got on – Jane shares James’s passion to normalise the subject of death, she has been running a Death Cafe for years locally, trained as a psychotherapist and emanates an air of calm, quiet competence. Shortly after Family Tree moved from their original home into the premises in Middle Street, Jane joined the company, and now she works alongside James sharing every aspect of the work.

    Onetime ad-man, James’s has been a life journey of rich variety and varied vistas. He is a seeker after truth and beauty, whose 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. He’s a charming, friendly and tremendously nice man, who is instantly likeable – just the kind of person who is eminently suited to helping families feel they are in safe hands when somebody has died.

    You can get a sense of him if you play some of the videos which are throughout the website – hear James talking about why he became an undertaker here  and read some of James’ writing in blog posts here.

     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, watch the videos and browse the information sections. You’ll absorb knowledge and become familiar with the empowering approach that James and Jane have to their work.

    This attention to detail is also evident when you visit the premises in Middle Street. You step into a large attractive space furnished with comfortable seating and a coffee table on a brightly coloured rug in the centre. To the right is the office area, while curtains at the back of the room 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. Doors leading on from this space lead to a fridge and storage areas. It’s all self contained – 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?

    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 and Jane 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.” James is a brilliant speaker and educator, he gives talks to local groups and, with a colleague, holds workshops on best practice in end-of-life care. Jane has similar skills, and is equally dedicated to encouraging us all to include thinking about our mortality, for all the best reasons.

    What’s Different?

    With James and Jane working with you, you will feel as if you are dealing with a friend rather than a representative of a profession. They will level with you. There are no questions that are off limits, nor suggestions that they wouldn’t do their very best to make happen.

    Locally, people looking for a progressive or alternative approach have always found their way to Family Tree, but they are equally adept at supporting families who want a completely traditional funeral. They are used to carrying out funerals in churches or the local cathedral, and can be as formal as you want, or as dressed down – it’s entirely up to you.

    Services

    • The phone is always answered by James or Jane and you’ll deal with them throughout. During busy periods, they are ably assisted during busy periods by Bath-based locus funeral director, Catherine Miller. But it will be one of these three you speak to. There’s no out-sourcing to call centres or to staff to take calls late at night.
    •  Home visits or come and meet them in their lovely premises in Middle Street.
    • Works with home funeralists “as a matter of everyday service”.
    • Same sex undertaker to lay out the body if you wish, and of course you can come and help if you want to be involved.
    • Embalming is avoided, 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 bearers. If you need them to provide them then of course they will – currently the charge for this is £45 per person.
    • The customary vehicle used is a dark blue Audi A6 estate, but if you want a hearse then they will hire a big black one (or whatever) if you want.
    • Great website, with prices listed for their various services.
    • Parking -your best bet is 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).

    Remarks

    Exactly the right people, and a rare find, for anyone wanting a highly personal funeral. Great value for the service you receive. James and Jane 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.

  • No Records Found

    Sorry, no records were found. Please adjust your search criteria and try again.

    Google Map Not Loaded

    Sorry, unable to load Google Maps API.

  • 8 Comments
    newest
    oldest
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Reviews from the old GFG site
    2 years ago

    Penny

    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.

    | | | | | | | |
    PXN

    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.

    | | | | | | | |
    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.

    | | | | | | | |
    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.

    | | | | | | |
    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!

    | | | | | | |
    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.

    | | | | | | |
    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.

    | | | | | | |
    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.

    | | | | | | |
    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

    | | | | | | |
    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.

    | | | | | | |
    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.

    | | | | | | |
    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.

    | | | | | | |
    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
    2 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
    2 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
    1 year 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.

    Sam
    1 year 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
    10 months 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.

    Louise
    1 month 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
    1 month 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.