Funeral Directors Category: Yorkshire & The Humber
John Pinder is the owner and the principal funeral director here. How did he get to be a funeral director? By following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, grandfather and father. This is a good old family business firmly rooted in its community. For John it was the example of his father which was the major influence in drawing him into the business: “a combination of the respect in which my father was held within our community, coupled with the obvious satisfaction he got from looking after the bereaved.” An easy option for John? No. These were big shoes to step in to: “For the first few years customers would look disappointed when I arrived, not my dad.”
There’s no mistaking John’s strong sense of vocation. Indeed, he’s one of the most earnestly dedicated funeral directors we have encountered. He’s friendly, easy, mild-mannered and reassuringly normal. He is also, we discovered by asking around, incredibly conscientious, famed for his attention to detail.
Married to Claire. Three children. Out of work interests include include getaways to the family caravan in the Lake District, walking Meg, the dog, trips to the cinema and to the driving range at the golf course “despite none of us being any good”. John also plays bass in a 60s-style, Beach Boys-y band, The Perfect Somewhere. It’s a great name (we all hope we’ll go there someday), and it’s a great sound. Catch it here.
There are three other funeral directors here, all hand picked by John for being the right kind of people : Chris Hurton, Robert Fiske and Jacquie Clifford. When we re-visited Pinder’s in 2020 (for the second time – this company has been on our Recommended list since it began) – Robert was about to retire, and he was due to be replaced by Michael Towle, keeping the number of funeral directors here at 4. They are joined by the superbly competent Jenny, who has worked alongside John for 15 years and does just about everything – “I suppose you’re our Operations Manager really,” John mused when we were chatting to Jenny and asking about her work. Pauline works alongside Jenny looking after more of the financial aspects.
Alongside the front of house team, Steve, James and Tom (John’s elder son, and the fifth generation of the Pinder family to come into the business) are the behind-the-scenes invaluable back office team who carry out all the hidden work, collecting people from their places of death, fitting and lining coffins,, cleaning and caring for the immaculate cars and everything else that needs doing.
Formal and extremely smart but understated. That phrase says a lot about Pinder’s. Will dress up for your funeral, or tone it down to suits and ties. Fleet of sparkling Mercedes, and if you want an alternative to a conventional hearse they will source it for you.
Getting it right for people is the overriding concern here, and there is nothing that John will allow to get in the way of that. “If someone needs to visit at 2.00am, they can with no extra charge, so long as they let us know,” he says. How many other funeral directors say the same? Does not require payment of disbursements upfront – a thoughtful and, nowadays, highly unusual touch.
We spent time in John’s mortuary and saw for ourselves the care and respect he shows to everyone he takes into his care. You may be absolutely certain that all who have died are looked after here with the utmost professionalism and sincerity of purpose.
What’s different here is the degree of personal service – which all clients receive. It’s not intrusive, you just know that they’re there for you and nothing’s too much trouble. Absolutely no bossiness. These are very comfortable people to be around. Commitment here extends to attending the funeral service unless you say no. “We routinely help with singing. Chris and I have good voices.” Nice touch.
In keeping with the builder-and-undertaker history of the firm, Pinder’s still occupies a domestic property, a house that was built by John’s grandfather. To John’s parents this was home as, until recently, it was for John and his family. From the front it looks like an ordinary house, but it goes back and back. It’s all very nicely appointed and comfy. John says, “We try to keep it all as homely as possible.” The downstairs arranging room is John’s mother’s old ‘best’ sitting room, it has recently been decorated and furnished (under Jenny’s expert eye) and is quite one of the nicest arranging rooms we’ve been in, set out just like a sitting room with comfortable chairs and sofa around a coffee table.
In the entrance hallway, a grandfather clock keeps time and chimes on the hour (“That belonged to my Auntie”) and there’s a second room upstairs that can be used for a second family to meet with one of the funeral directors if the downstairs arranging room is occupied – “This used to be my bedroom when I was young”. The whole building has the quiet, reassuring feel of a home that has been lived in and loved for more than a century.
Other upstairs rooms are used for storage, while the remainder of the downstairs is taken up by office space and a kitchen with quite the best coffee machine we’ve ever come across.
People who have died are cared for in the building at the back of the house, which contains a large mortuary area and three chapels of rest. You enter into a small reception area where families can sit in privacy while spending time with their relative in the chapel. Jenny’s eye for attractive furnishings can be seen here too, it’s been recently refurbished. There are two small chapels on the right of the corridor, and a larger on to the left. When we visited, each was occupied, and John knew who each of the people were and some of their backgrounds. Coffins are covered with a white voile covering, allowing people to gradually get used to being in the presence of someone dead when first entering the chapel – it’s a nice touch, and gives the same feeling of care that you get from everything else about this company.
The preparation area where people are washed and dressed is sparkling clean, and there are three fridges and a huge cold storage area, ensuring that even in the busiest times, everyone here can be cared for properly.
The vehicles are kept just along the road at a former car showroom that John acquired recently. Two hearses and three limousines ensure that Pinder’s can normally accommodate any funeral request, and they have also recently added a wheelchair taxi to the fleet which saves families having to try and ring round to find transport for a family member who uses a wheelchair.
- Your call will be answered by either Jacqui or Jenny during working hours and John, Robert or Chris in the evening or night. They are there for you 24 hours a day.
- Home Visits – They are very happy to visit you at home to make arrangements. Indeed, they do so for most of their clients.
- Direct cremation £1500 all-in.
- Embalming – Do not routinely embalm. Will advise you if they think it is necessary.
- Continuity of Care – Whichever funeral director you speak to first will be there for you all the way through and lead the funeral on the day.
- Family Participation – If you’d like to come in and wash and dress the person who has died, or simply do their hair, they’ll be there for you, to help you or leave you to it.’
- Same Sex person to wash and dress – If you wish, yes. Just ask. Jenny and Jacquie will look after women while the remainder of the team can look after men in their care.
- Ethnic Specialism – Experienced in a wide range of funeral customs and religious requirements.
- Local Celebrants – Outstanding local celebrants if you do not want a full religious service.
- Home arranged funerals – Will gladly help you look after the person who has died at home in any capacity you choose – and has done so.
- Web Site – Helpful, well-designed website with useful information. Nice photo on the home page showing all the staff. That’s John at the front with the beard.
- Client Support – Will put you in touch with a grief counsellor if you wish.
- Prices – Very competitive prices (see here) and a high-calibre service make Pinder’s excellent value for money. If your budget is tight, John will help you make the most of it. If money is a problem, be open about it and he will help you find a way. John’s commitment is to all the people of this community.
- Direct Cremation – offered at £1,200 including all third party fees.
- Parking – Offstreet parking outside the premises.
Pinder’s have that gift of making you feel that yours is the only funeral in the world. John has the backing of a really good team. Highly professional, very, very nice, honest, down-to-earth people, responsive to the needs and wishes of their local community. John is not ‘one of them’, he is ‘one of us’.
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.