Funeral Directors Category: South East England
Wendy Harrington-Carroll and Mark Carroll. Many people in the area may know the couple from their previous funeral business in Edmonton, where they served the community for decades, until serious health issues with a close family member meant that they needed to focus on supporting their relative – and, as a consequence, decided to sell their company.
Fortunately, the treatment was successful, and Wendy and Mark found themselves missing their former occupation and way of life, and they started looking for premises to open a new funeral home. The former convenience store on Broxbourne High Road was ideal, although in need of some TLC – the entire building needed renovating, so Wendy and Mark set to work to create a purpose built funeral home.
The interior has had a complete new layout and a re-fit, and the results are fresh, modern and inviting, with large glass windows from floor to ceiling allowing passers-by to see into the spacious reception area.
Two small offices (both with really attractive matching desks) are set either side of the wide corridor that leads to the large air-conditioned chapel of rest, and there is a waiting area outside that will have a sofa and coffee machine for guests to use while spending time with a relative in the chapel.
The space in the chapel is large enough for small ceremonies to take place here, which some families really appreciate. Further back there is a large space, fitted with new storage cupboards, leading to a back door that opens into a yard where a new mortuary will soon be built.
It was quite a challenge for Wendy to start from scratch designing the new premises. “We had to decide everything,” she said, “I had been used to everything just being there in our previous business, so having to choose everything, from the layout to the décor and the furnishings was quite a big task.”
She knew what she wanted though, a comfortable and welcoming feel to the premises, and the uncluttered, freshly decorated space is the complete opposite of the closed shutters and blinds of many traditional funeral homes. The wide glass door is often kept open (when weather allows) and people can just walk in without feeling intimidated or awkward. Comfortable seating and attractive décor is instantly relaxing, and there’s a refreshing absence of funereal literature or products, just a glass display case with a few attractive urns.
Petite and friendly, Wendy is from Newcastle on Tyne originally, and retains the lovely Geordie lilt in her accent. Before entering the world of funerals some 20 years ago, she was a senior coordinator in Victim Support, and her training and experience working with vulnerable and traumatized people has been invaluable.
She changed career almost by chance – she noticed an advertisement for a role as a funeral arranger and felt that her personality and people skills would be suited to the role. Once working within the world of funerals, she met Mark, who was a funeral director and carriage master in a nearby business, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Together, Wendy and Mark built a highly successful small independent company, helping hundreds of bereaved families each year. It was a wrench to give it up when they had to, and it still upsets Wendy to see their previous business being less successful under its new owners, but the new funeral home Wendy and Mark have founded together shows every promise of becoming just as good as their old company.
It’s all about the personal touch – the team is a small one, just Wendy, Mark and Sandra Ennals (Sandra worked for the couple in their previous existence and is a welcome addition at MW Carroll). This means that they can provide personal service, with families dealing directly with one individual throughout their contact with the company. Sandra doesn’t conduct funerals, although she does just about everything else, while Wendy and Mark cover all aspects of the business.
Continuity of care – in Wendy’s words, “What’s important is being there, to be calm, quietly confident and professional and to offer the highest of service. Being available 24 hours a day when someone needs you, to discuss funeral arrangements, bereavement or anything that may be worrying a family is paramount.”
It’s probably the commitment and passion that this pleasant couple bring to their work. It’s evidently not just a job for them, it’s a way of life, and both Mark and Wendy have the air of people who are entirely at home with both traditional and unusual requests. Their dedication is clear, and you sense that they are both really happy to be back doing the work that they love.
- Your first call will be answered by Wendy, Mark or Sandra
- Home visits – Yes of course, just ask. If you would rather not visit their premises to discuss funeral arrangements, Wendy will come to your home or meet you at a place of your choice.
- Same sex person to wash and dress?
- Embalming? Unless it’s required by law (repatriation) or necessary for other reasons, they would rather not put people through any procedure that is not needed.
- Ethnic specialism? Inclusive – they serve all ethnic groups and religions.
- Home arranged funerals? Absolutely, this would be no problem and they would be happy to advise or help as required.
- Local celebrants – They have good relations with several local celebrants that are ‘outstanding and carry out a first-class service’ and will offer a selection to families to choose from.
- Vehicles:As a carriage master vehicles are important to Mark, and the company cars are always immaculate, cleaned and waxed before every funeral. They use a fleet of Daimler Jaguars but can offer alternative vehicles if preferred.
- Website:Functional, with a personally written introduction by Wendy and a nice photo of her with a horse – we recommended adding some more information about Wendy and Mark and their background.
- Client support: Very good, the personal contact throughout means that clients feel supported during the arranging process, they make contact after the funeral and offer follow up support and bereavement coffee mornings.
- Money matters: Fairly priced for a personal service, prices not currently on their website but we have encouraged them to think about including them.
- Parking: Free parking directly outside in parking bays (limited to an hour) or on nearby residential roads.
This is a very nice, small, family run business, with the personal involvement of the owners that makes it feel intimate and bespoke. Wendy and Mark have many years of experience between them, which gives them a calm competence and professionalism, and an unflappable air that engenders confidence.
The personal service is fundamentally important to them, and they are proud that once they are asked to care for someone who has died, that person will be brought into their refrigerated chapel of rest and not moved anywhere else, staying with Wendy and Mark until the day of the funeral.
Getting every aspect of every funeral exactly right is really important to them, and they check and check again every smallest detail to ensure that everything is exactly as each family wants. If you choose MW Carroll to help you with a funeral, we are sure that you will be in very safe – and very good hands