Funeral Directors Category: North West England
Simplicity Cremations was founded by the pioneer of direct cremation in the UK, Nick Gandon. Nick is a funerals man through and through; he’s been working in this business, on and off, all his life, and when he came to contemplate retirement and a better work / life balance, he was very, very careful about the person he chose to pass on his legacy at Simplicity to. He turned down various approaches from other funeral companies that he felt didn’t share his ethos, but he found the exact person he was happy with in Jon Holt-Weaver.
Jon and his wife Angela are the new custodians of Simplicita, and we spent some time listening to why they have stepped into the world of direct cremation. Nick sat alongside Jon as we talked, and the friendship and respect between the two men was obvious. Jon has spent years working for the Lancashire Coroner, transferring people who have died for digital post mortems, and he is well versed in the logistics required by a company offering direct cremations. He also shares Nick’s careful and kind approach to dealing with bereaved people who are thinking about a direct cremation, and spent his first year working closely with Nick to ensure a seamless handover.
The Simplicity HQ is a converted 1940s public mortuary, at the entrance to the Park cemetery and crematorium at Lytham St Anne’s. It’s the most beautiful, tranquil location. On the website, it is described as “Beautifully sited in leafy parkland adjacent to the crematorium, with woodpeckers, foxes, and abundant wildlife quite literally on the doorstep, this is a most fitting last resting place prior to cremation.” Sounds a bit fanciful? Actually, this turns out to be a factually accurate description. It’s a lovely spot.
Nick’s clients never get to see where their relatives are looked after, so you wouldn’t be surprised if, inside, it wasn’t anything special. Well, we look behind the scenes to make sure that outward appearances are reflected behind the scenes. We were amazed to find that Nick had converted it beautifully – it’s as good as the best funeral homes, fully equipped to the highest standard. It’s one of the reasons why we are happy to recommend this company.
Find out more about direct cremation here: What is direct cremation?
Direct cremation means no public, ceremonial funeral – so this section doesn’t apply. People who have died are transported in a specially converted black Ford Galaxy.
Following in Nick’s footsteps, Jon likes to do things as they ought to be done – he’s a stickler for that, right down to the smallest details. This means that he’s a very safe pair of hands – he’ll do what you ask and he’ll do it well. Even more important, he treats people who have died with the greatest respect. There’s absolutely nothing ‘second class’ about this service.
Nick was the first to spot the emerging trend for direct cremation and established this specialist business, Simplicita, in 1992. During the early years, direct cremation was a choice for a very small percentage of bereaved people, but over the three decades since, and particularly with the restrictions on funerals brought in during the pandemic, direct cremation has become an accepted alternative to a ceremonial funeral.
What makes this company different is the personal, hands on involvement of the person who runs it. For years this was Nick, working or on call day and night every single day for year after year. When we spoke to him in 2021, after handing over to Jon, Nick admitted to not having taken a holiday for 11 years. Jon has the same dedicated approach, and is completely immersed in every aspect of the business, but with a young family he is aware of the importance of having a balanced life and is putting in place support to ensure he does not become completely consumed by his work.
- Direct cremation is not a simplified version of a funeral, it is a no-funeral funeral. You need to be clear about this, and Jon will be careful to ensure that you are getting the type of funeral that you need. If it turns out that direct cremation is not right for you, he will make sure that he recommends you choose another funeral company. Direct cremation means that Jon comes to collect the body of the person who has died, takes it back to Lytham and looks after it. At the cremation, no one else is there. This is set out very clearly on the website.If you like, you can carry out your entire transaction with Simplicita over the phone.
- Website – Excellent advice, clearly written and easy to navigate. Everything you need to know.
- Money matters – You will need to pay for everything before the cremation. If you are eligible for a social fund funeral payment, Jon can help you with your application, but you’ll need to tell him as soon as you can. Simplicity is not actually the cheapest direct cremation provider out there — but there’s hardly anything in it. With Simplicity you can be sure that you will not be treated as second class, nor will the person who has died. Remember: there are some people operating in this field who do not adhere to anything like the high standards that Nick set, and that Jon upholds.If you want to plan ahead, Simplicita offers a bespoke “‘no-funeral funeral plan”. You can pay all at once or in instalments, and your money is placed in trust, where it grows fast enough to keep up with the rising cost of funerals. We endorse Simplicita’s fundholder, Ecclesiastical. The beauty of the Simplicita plan is — and you won’t see this offered by any other plan out there — that if the value of your plan, when you die, is greater than the cost of the funeral, you will be refunded the difference. Yes, this is the only funeral plan out there that gives change.
A very high-class, low-cost service created by a very decent and honest person who looks after people who have died with great care and has given faultless service all the years we have known him, which is now in the care of a similarly genuine, nice person in Jon Holt-Weaver. We would have no hesitation entrusting the care of a person who wanted a direct cremation to Jon and Angela, in fact, this is the only direct cremation company that we are happy to recommend.
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.