Sussex Funeral Servic Read more [...]
Funeral Directors Category: South East England
Sussex Funeral Services is owned and managed by Philip Evans and his wife Sallie, with support from Ben Scott who looks after much of the office and practical work. It’s Phil who conducts the funerals here, so if you appoint Sussex Funeral Services, you will quite possibly meet all three in this small family led team.
Philip is what you might call one of the new wave of funeral directors who has come to this work motivated by a strong vocation. He does not feel bound by tradition and habit, but has fresh eyes and fresh ways. This doesn’t mean he is in any way a radical. A better way of looking at Philip is as a man who puts principles first, adds a dash of pragmatism and a lot of life experience and brings to his work all the passion of someone who really cares. And he does. Philip is, actually, the son of a funeral director but he didn’t go into the business after leaving school, he went out in the world to get himself some wider life experience, and after a spell in the RAF, he became a police officer. His career encompassed a number of investigative roles with various agencies, including Trading Standards
It was only when Philip’s brother died and he spoke about him at his funeral that he thought of becoming a funeral director in his own right. And as he thought, he came to the conclusion that his police work has given him plenty of transferable skills. Now that he is doing the work, he says: “I have never been more at peace with myself.” He has done a foundation course in counselling skills with Cruse Bereavement Care, and he is a qualified funeral celebrant. When not at work, Philip and Sallie are members of two local Bowls clubs, enjoy playing Bridge and learning to ballroom dance – and their latest passion and pleasure is riding motorcycles together.
Phil met Sallie in 2013, she is an artist who provided some beautiful work for the premises at Hove. The friendship between the two grew into a strong bond that underpinned their relationship and saw them through a difficult period of ill health, and they were married in April 2016. Sallie provides an overall gentle female approach to caring for clients as well as providing support for Philip and Ben, and she looks after the more sensitive funerals as well as preparing people for visitors, doing their hair and make up where required. It is also Sallie who looks after the visits to the chapel of rest.
Ben joined Sussex Funerals just before the country went into lockdown in 2020, after approaching them to see whether they had any vacancies. With a background of study at university and pastoral training within the Church of England, Ben had no previous experience within the funeral sector, so he has been an ideal candidate to learn from Phil and Sallie about the values that make this business so good – ‘he was a blank canvas’, as Sallie said. Ben looks after the day to day office work, arranging funerals and also helping behind the scenes preparing coffins.
For Philip – and therefore for Sallie and Ben – whatever you want is paramount. Phil’s philosophy is for you to have your funeral your way, and he will play the role you want him to – anything from the most traditional to a much less formal one. As he says, “I am completely in favour of choice for the client.” He means it, too, and will spend all the time it needs to explore those choices with you, sensitively and thoroughly. There’s no hurry! He can offer you any sort of funeral transport you want and, because he is especially concerned to offer environmentally friendly options, he is looking to provide inexpensive horse-drawn transport. As he says, “My business ethos is founded on ensuring that my business has as little impact on the environment as possible.”
In Philip’s words, “What’s important to me is that my client is afforded as much choice as is possible in order to be able to make the right decision as to what type of funeral services are appropriate, according to the personality and beliefs of the deceased, the financial implications for the person paying and whether an impact on the environment is a concern to be considered.”
Philip and Sallie are committed to providing their clients with the best possible service at the time of bereavement, and also to supporting them after the day of the funeral. The company will pay for four sessions of one to one bereavement support with a qualified and experienced support practitioner for either their client or any one person designated by them. There is also a community page on their website with details of local events such as Death Cafes and awareness talks.
Philip trained as a celebrant years ago, and is highly experienced in creating meaningful ceremonies for families. For those who do not wish to have a full religious funeral but, rather, one which reflects their own beliefs, he is able to lead your funeral ceremony as well. There are very few funeral directors who can offer this sort of joined-up service.
He has also been trained in bereavement counselling, and is a keen advocate of getting support for those who find themselves needing additional help after a bereavement.
Philip believes in investing in his business, not only his premises but also in the website which brings a lot of clients to them. There is a virtual tour on the Home page where you can see inside their Hove office – a really good way of familiarising yourself before you go there. (If you click the arrow towards the back of the reception area and rotate to the right, you’ll see Sallie’s beautiful trio of paintings on the wall). He is also investing in the future of the business; in addition to his years of experience organising and carrying out funerals, Phil has decided that both he and Ben will be embarking on formal training for industry qualifications together in 2021, in anticipation of future legislative requirements.
The Sussex Funeral Services premises are lovely – open, airy and contemporary, with a comfortable private room to discuss funeral arrangements. Sallie’s artistic eye is evident, and the look and feel of the premises is reflective of the approach to funeral directing that this small, quality business offers.
- Prices online here.
- Direct cremation – This is covered by the ‘No Fuss’ service, which costs £915 plus third party costs (cremation fee £385 plus doctors’ fees if applicable, currently during the pandemic restrictions only one fee of £82 is applied) so under £1400 all in.
- Your call will be answered by: Ben, Philip or Sallie.
- You will be seen by one of the three, Philip, Sallie or Ben and they will be there for you throughout – and for as long after the funeral as you wish.
- Yes to a home visit.
- Yes to you coming in and laying out and dressing the person who has died. Philip is not keen on embalming and will only recommend it if it is absolutely necessary.
- Skilled in the needs of all ethnic groups.
- Will gladly work with those who wish to care for their dead at home: see the Plan Your Own Funeral section of his website.
- Same-sex funeral director to lay out the person who has died if you wish. Sallie often looks after the people in their care.
- Premises light, airy and completely un-gloomy, all freshly refurbished.
- Park outside, or off-road at the pay-and-display car park.
- Really nice website which gives a feeling of the business and their ethos and priorities.
Very good value for money, as you can expect from a business of this size. No packages offered here, but clear transparency. There is the professional fee plus only what you want chosen from a menu of services, all openly costed on their website. Above all, superb personal service from a funeral director who really does live their work. Philip and Sallie are passionate about their work, and about providing a service to their community, with the emphasis on choice, and Ben has learned to be exactly the same.
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.