Southgate & Roberts Independent Funeral Directors

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Funeral Directors Category: East of England

  • Funeral Directors

    Liam Roberts (Dip FD, Dip CFSMA & MBIFD) and Matthew Southgate, both hugely experienced and thoroughly nice people, pooled all the knowledge they had acquired over decades learning their trade, opening the high-quality Southgate & Roberts premises in central Ipswich in February 2015.

    Liam came into funerals in 1985 and immediately knew that he had found his vocation in life. Trained by the best; he worked for a highly renowned London funeral business, which, at that time, held the Royal Appointment. Impeccable attention to detail was the standard for every client, not just the royal family, and Liam absorbed this as he learned every aspect of how to be a funeral director, working from the bottom up. Over the years, he has acquired the highest of recognised professional qualifications and rose to become an operations manager for the UK’s largest service provider. He has also worked for the Home Office assisting with disaster recovery, and is an active consultant and funeral industry expert.

    Sadly, Matt had to take his leave of the business in October 2023, following a long history of poor health.

    In 2020 Darren Lucas (Cert FP, MIFDC)  moved into a full-time role as a trainee funeral director after working with Southgate and Roberts for several months as a part time staff member. In 2022 he was awarded the Most Promising Trainee Funeral Director of the year Award at the AGFD Good Funeral Awards. In December 2023, following an intensive two years of study with the renowned IFD College, he qualified as a Certified Funeral Practitioner (Cert FP), attaining the highest possible score of credits. He is also an accredited member of the Independent funeral College (MIFD).

    Easy to find on a main route in Ipswich, on the outside of the building is proudly proclaimed ‘Funeral Suite and Advice Centre’ – a perfect description of what Southgate and Roberts offer. The large windows mean that passers-by can glance in and see a space that is warm and welcoming, completely unlike the old-fashioned funeral parlours still found in many towns.

    Inside, the immediate feeling is of entering a quality hotel reception.Comfortable leather chairs and a low coffee table await any visitors, and many former clients pop in to have a chat and a coffee as they pass. (The coffee is exceptionally good here, by the way.) An attractive oak clad curved wall displaying the signature S&R faces you as you enter, behind which is a comfortable room with sofas, where funeral arrangements can be made in privacy.

    The recently redecorated and elegantly appointed on-site chapel, equipped with audio visual equipment, air conditioning and filtration, provides a flexible and affordable alternative setting for families to hold intimate funeral services.

    The behind-the-scenes preparation area is impeccably kept and fully equipped with everything needed to care for the people whose families have chosen Southgate & Roberts to look after them. The experience and attention to detail that Liam and Darren have brought to this business is evident here. Every person brought into their care is fully showered and has their hair washed and styled as they would normally wear it (a recent photograph is always requested to use for reference). Quality fridges offer space for larger people, every person has a pillow, and a flower is always placed with them. And people are referred to as Mr. or Mrs, never by their surname alone. They are cared for as if their family is standing beside the staff, all of the time.Such is their pride in this aspect of their work, that they are now revered as the go to Ipswich based funeral director and tutor for Nursing and Home Care Staff, wishing to attend a `Care After Death` training workshop.

    Preparation of the people in their care is of paramount importance to everyone at Southgate and Roberts, and they treat each person with reverence and respect. They are particularly skilled in restoring appearance with make up, and, alongside Julie Smith, the award winning embalmer, they work to ensure that everybody entrusted into their care looks peaceful and completely recognisable for their families.

    Specific Gravity

    Exceptional quality of service at very good value. The years of experience that the team have brought to their business have been distilled into creating the ideal funeral director service. Everything has been thought of, down to the smallest detail, and their personal attentive approach enables clients to take creative control of their funerals with the complete support of a highly professional team. They are absolute in their conviction that they provide the very best service possible in care, professionalism and value for money, which is supported by their many impressive and record number of client reviews.

    What’s Important?

    Caring and understanding what matters to each person is part of the essence of this business. Liam and Darren are passionate about helping you get what you want and need from a funeral and will ensure that the experience you have is the best it can possibly be. They love the freedom they have to be completely responsive to each family’s requirements and are wholly dedicated to doing their absolute utmost to serve the people who choose them to care for a loved one.

    What’s Different?

    The little touches. For every funeral there is something special and personal that reflects the person who has died. When we first visited, a funeral was taking place for a lady who loved yellow roses, they had been part of her wedding bouquet, and she was known for her love of them. Her coffin was decorated with a beautiful display of yellow roses created by Sheila Nunn, the Southgate & Roberts florist, and all the bearers were wearing a yellow rose as a buttonhole, although Matt returned without his – he had given his one to a young family member who had admired it. Additional thoughtful touches that enhance each family’s experience.

    We were also impressed by the level of dedication of the team, the personal connection they have with each family and the determination to keep getting better at what they do. They hosted sign language classes on their premises prior to the pandemic, and along with members of the public, the staff attended each week and learned to sign. This enables them to communicate with deaf people at funerals and in daily life, something that has provoked very emotional reactions when deaf people have realised they can make themselves understood. As an added bonus, the ability to sign has provided Liam and the team with a discrete way of communicating with each other at funerals.

    Another example of the innovation and creativity that is an important element of this business is the commissioning of unique bird tables and benches, created by a local charity from recycled plastic bags with the appearance of wood in various hues. These are designed to store ashes, an inspired idea which provides families with a low cost and completely portable place to keep the ashes of someone who has been cremated.

    We particularly liked the idea of sending each person who contacts them about arranging a funeral an advisory note immediately by e-mail, followed up with a hard copy, outlining the things that you will need to think about before meeting them. This helps the subsequent meeting to be a conversation rather than a question and answer session, and provides clients with a fully detailed outline of the subjects that will be discussed to create the funeral the way that they want.


    •  Your first call will be answered Liam or Darren, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
    • Home visits – yes, you will always be given the choice of whether to come to their premises by appointment or have them come to you if you prefer, to use video calls that allow family members from far afield to also participate.
    • Family participation – yes absolutely. The preparation area has been designed for this very purpose.
    • Same sex person to wash and dress? Yes, no problem. Liam or Darren will always be involved with caring for each person they are asked to look after, but Julie Smith will wash and dress women if this is preferred.
    • Embalming With Julie’s expertise Southgate and Roberts believe that embalming will always improve the appearance of deceased people, but they don’t believe it is always necessary and will let clients make  an informed, no pressure choice.
    • Ethnic specialism – The team find it amazing that some funeral directors choose to even mention that they serve all communities and faiths – in their ethos it is an absolute given that everyone receives the service they need. Translation services are available if required. Currently Southgate & Roberts are the trusted service provider for the local Hindu, Cantonese and Muslim communities.
    • Home arranged funerals – 100% supportive, and have helped families care for their dead themselves on many occasions. ‘Advice is free!’
    • Local celebrants – they have a ‘vetted’ selection of local celebrants to recommend for the growing number. of non-religious services.
    • Website – very nice website, fresh and modern and easy to navigate, with prices clearly displayed in great detail.
    • Client support – superb. From the moment of first contact through to the funeral and beyond. Many clients pop in to see them as they are passing, and both Liam and Darren will drop in to see former clients at home if invited to.
    • Money matters – really good value for money. You will get a first class service for a tremendously reasonable cost. They provide only what you need, and you will know exactly what you are committing to.
    • Parking – There is a small car park above the premises. Other car parks are nearby.


    Liam and Darren are exceptional funeral directors and Southgate and Roberts is an exceptional business. Down to earth, personable, capable and caring, they will stand alongside you and support you every step of the way. Together they offer the people of Ipswich superb, personal service when it is most needed.

    The team’s combined 135+ years of personal experience, their attention to detail and their thorough, thoughtful approach ensures that the service you will receive will be second to none. They see themselves as event planners, not just typical funeral directors, but they bring with them all the quality of years learning how to do funerals perfectly.

    Their standards are among the highest we have seen, and it would be hard to find nicer people to help you and your family to achieve the funeral that you want.


    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
    6 years ago

    Joshua Cramer

    My dad was very unexpectedly taken from us and I genuinely think had it not been for the care of Matt and the team at Southgate and Roberts the whole thing would have been to much to handle. The funeral was beautiful and I felt he was safe and looked after when he was in their care even the little things like spraying him with his favourite aftershave before we visited him doesn’t take a lot to do but I will always remember so I thank you all as does my family and I’m sure my dad Justin would thank you all too x

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    Maggie Horton

    In reply to .
    Thank you so much for your kind words. It was so lovely to see so many come and pay their respects to your dad, a truly well liked and respected man.

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    Maggie Horton

    Excellent service , they did everything they could to help make sure the day went well , very caring people. Would highly recommend Thanks Matthew and Liam and Thank you to Bridget the celebrant, everyone remarked on the lovely service .

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    Matt Southgate

    In reply to .
    Dear Allison
    Just to say thank you for your kind words and comments. Getting to know you and work with a very talented lady has been a real pleasure. Looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful photos in the future.

    Best Wishes
    Matt & Liam.

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    Matt Southgate

    In reply to .
    Thank you Rodney for your kind words and lovely orchid which so many have commented on in our reception area.
    Looking after you, the family and your dear brother was an absolute pleasure, always positive and greeting us with a smile. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be entrusted with Danny’s funeral arrangements and wish you happiness and success for the future on your wedding day. And remember the coffee pot is always on.

    Best Wishes
    Matt & Liam.

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    Karen Hare

    Dear Matt & Liam
    Thank you for your care.
    You helped to make a very difficult time tolerable, your support and attention to detail was terrific. I could not have chose anyone better to look after Dad, or to support me & my family. You had listened to all our ramblings and family memories to create a very accurate picture of a very much loved man Ted, Grandpa, our Dad. You made us cry, you made us smile with your poignant observations, fitting in our heartfelt words around your own and speaking to him throughout your eulogy.
    Thank you
    Thank you seems so inadequate at times to really express how you feel but I’m afraid I have no substitute so ….. THANK YOU it will have to be but (there’s always a but) it also comes with huge appreciation of your friendship and support.
    We appreciate all the help and care you gave us and what a great job you do for others, Thank you Matt & Liam you are very special people.
    With Love and appreciation
    Karen & her family

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    Allison Burke

    Congratulations guys! Having spoken at length with you about what you do, it is so evident that you operate with utmost compassion and with a true sense of what is fair and right for the families you work with. Really well deserved.

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    Liam Roberts

    In reply to .
    Dear Emma, Piers and Hermione,

    Thank you so much for your very kind words of appreciation, which I will be more than pleased to pass on to the rest of our team. Talking of teams, thats exactly the reason things went so well. Because the most important team members involved with preparing the arrangements for your dear mums funeral, were you and your family.

    Indeed, you are the really important element that shapes everything and we are simply the facilitators of your ideas and plans.

    It really was a privilege and a pleasure to work with you in this way, as it was abundantly clear throughout how much sincere and deep rooted love you emanate as a family. So I am both pleased and relieved that we could do our little bit in helping you demonstrate that in your own personal way.

    Best wishes and warm regards
    Liam & Matt

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    Rodney Sewell

    I would like to say on behalf of myself and my family, what a wonderful professional service you did for the passing of our late Son / Brother.
    From the moment we contacted you , you were very professional with a personal touch just what my family needed at this distressing time.
    The respect you showed us was truely amazing for our late Son / Brother.

    These Guys are truely amazing , we shared seriousness combined with laughter and that made arranging the funeral so much easier.
    I cannot recommend Southgate and Roberts highly enough to organise anyone’s Funeral arrangements.
    Many Thanks for all you did

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    Emma Wright

    We would like to express our gratitude to Liam and Matt in helping us to put together a funeral service for mum that was exactly what we wanted.
    They enabled us to include every aspect of the individualised approach we wished for and were conscientious to a fault in ensuring that every detail, however small, was as required. Any problems we encountered were fixed without fuss or further recourse to ourselves.
    Your team were all great, respectful but always there with a smile and an understanding, and the all important eye contact that is so often not present on these occasions.
    It felt as if we had the autonomy to do exactly what we wanted to do, and you were there in the background, helping and guiding where needed to ensure that it all came together on the day. We felt that you were quick to understand our preferred approach, getting a feel for how we wanted to express our memories of mum and ensured that the proceedings followed a simple progression from start to finish.
    We could not have wished for mum to have been in safer hands, nor for her to be better represented on the day. Thank you for everything, but mostly for understanding that under these circumstances, the detail becomes all important, and for taking such trouble to ensure that our wishes were respected.

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    Liam Roberts

    In reply to .
    Dear Angie,

    Were very pleased to learn that the obvious love that you and your family had for your dear dad was reflected in the manner in which the funeral was carried out. Thank you for your kind comments, which we will gladly pass on to the rest of our team.

    Liam & Matt

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    Angie Wilden

    From start to finish we would like to thank Matt and Liam for their care and respect.Nothing was too much trouble and they went out of their way to comply with our wishes.
    Thank you for making this sad time as trouble free as possible.
    The family of the late Gary Wilden

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    Liam Roberts

    In reply to .
    Many thanks for your kind words of appreciation Kate. Such expressions of gratitude serve as the key motivation for us doing our very best for future bereaved families. I very much hope the worst of days are now over with for you and your family.
    Best regards

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    Liam Roberts

    In reply to .
    Dear Karen,
    Thank you so much for your kind words. Your personal tribute to your dear mum on the day was an example to us all in capturing get the very essence of a loved one in a relatively short window of time. In years I have never heard such life and character summary that left you feeling you really knew someone who you had never known in real life. All of which epitomises the depth of love you have for your mum and all that she gave you.

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    Kate Burgess

    Please can I take this opportunity to thank you and all involved with the funeral service for my father. The service you offer is exemplary and I cannot thank you enough for the support you offered me at such a difficult time. Everything about the service was exceptional and I have received a phenomenal amount of feed back and gratitude from our family and friends.

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    Karen Greig

    We are so grateful to Liam and the team for the sensitivity, professionalism and support shown to us whilst making the arrangements for our mothers funeral. Such a distressing time was made bearable due to their care and consideration. Having recounted a silly story regards an almond cake recipe that our mother used to bake, Liam very kindly presented our family with a beautifully presented almond cake that he had baked himself. We were so incredibly touched by the fact that he had remembered our silly story and taken it upon himself to honour her memory in such a touching way. Thank you Liam, for all that you have done for our family.

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    Liam Roberts

    In reply to .
    Dear Dorothy,

    As a result of the trust you placed in us at such a sad and difficult time, not only were we able to help you arrange such an emotionally important event, we have enjoyed the added bonus of gaining a much cherished friend amongst the local community. So a big thank you for your kind words and for the delicious cheese scones and cake that you shared with us on the anniversary of your dear husbands death.

    Warm regards
    Matt & Liam

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    Liam Roberts

    In reply to .
    Dear Michele,

    Thank you so much for your lovely kind words. It truly was an absolute privilege to help you and your family achieve the funeral that best expressed the enormous love that you all clearly shared for your dear mum.

    Kind regards
    Matt & Liam

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    Dorothy Chilvers

    When my husband passed away last year it was the worst feeling you can imagine, I had lost the single most precious person in the world and I didn’t know how I would cope. The moment I walked into Southgate and Roberts I was made to feel at ease. Matt listened to what I wanted, he is so easy to talk to, I felt he engaged not only with me and my family but also with my late husband. They treated him with such care and dignity, nothing was too much trouble. The personal little finishing touches somehow made the final farewell feel very special. Matt and Liam really compliment each other and make a great team. I can not praise them highly enough.
    A few months ago I attended a open event and Southgate and Roberts and I was privileged to have a look around, I had the opportunity to see how and where they care for the loved ones entrusted to them, I was able to ask about anything, I found this to be of great comfort to me. Thank you

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    I can’t begin to tell you how grateful my family and i are to Matt and team for looking after everything when mum passed away. Matt is the most caring person and nothing was to much trouble. We felt we had nothing to worry about just to cope with going through grief was enough , but we knew everything was taken care of and we didn’t have to worry. I would recommend them to anyone one there professionalism and attention to every detail so very caring in everything.
    Thank you so much.