Albert English Funeral Directors based in The Stow in Harlow are about to celebrate their first year in business. Albert English are a family business owned and run by local family, John and Sally Frangiamore. Although they may appear to be new to the area they are, in fact, not novices in the funeral industry at all.
John and Sally have been the successful, reputable owners of two other independent Funeral Directors, based in Cheshunt and Enfield, for many years. This allows them to use this wealth of experience and expertise to invest into the Harlow area and the local families that may need their help over the months and years to come.
In May 2015, they decided to open in Harlow as there appeared to be a gap in the market for a small independent business. Being an ‘independent’ means that they are able to offer funerals without any of the fuss, pressure or expense that can so often come with the more traditional funeral. The newly refurbished premises have a clean, modern feel and have the benefit of off street parking right outside. Albert English Funeral Directors location was previously a Funeral Directors and the proud new company can be seen from the main road alongside The Stow in Harlow, right next to the new Aldi Superstore.
Cheshunt Funeral Directors and Enfield Funeral Director are both successful enterprises owned by the family however, all three businesses run independently of each other. There is no personnel cross over and members of staff only work for one branch, meaning that there is not a large bank of staff that alternate between branches. Continuity is very important to John “The person you see when you first enter will be the person you always see.” Each business has its own well-established individual style, serving the local area and proud to play a part in the surrounding local community.
John Frangiamore has been working in the funeral industry for nearly thirty years. He began as a trainee, working with his father-in-law at Abbott and English in Waltham Abbey. This is where John began to learn the trade first hand, through work experience on site and ultimately working his way up to become a partner. When Abbott and English was sold, John and his wife, Sally decided to set up their own independent business. When it came to naming their latest venture, John decided to use the ‘English’ part of the name from Abbott and English, as a mark of respect in memory of his now late father-in-law.
Albert English Funeral Directors have recently reached their one-year anniversary, this provides a time for reflection for John and his team who are pleased with the way business has been so far. Most clients who have used the teams’ services have been recommended through word of mouth and the staff pride themselves on such recommendations. Lynette Wood and Karen Young run the office and have twenty-five years’ experience between them. As Lynette says, “Planning a funeral can be one of the hardest things a family member has to do, so if we can make that experience as easy and stress-free as possible then we consider that a job worth doing and worth doing well.” John adds, “We believe we are only as good as our last funeral”.
At Albert English the staff strive to offer a service that will excel their client’s expectations. From the moment you make that first call, their aim is to take control, to ‘undertake’ as Undertakers do. To deal with all of the elements that provide a stress free funeral, from talking to the hospital to booking the church, crematorium and organising any cars and flowers. Every detail is dealt with, however big, however small. To arrange a funeral can be a daunting experience, which is why as Karen says, “We take great pride in ensuring that the families are listened to and looked after during this time in their lives.”
Albert English provide a 24 hour service and the staff that liaise with the family also personally take care of their loved ones that have parted, on site, and with great respect and care, before the funeral. “We don’t just take care of the deceased; we take care of the whole family which is why our door is always open.”
After a death, making the necessary arrangements can seem overwhelming and confusing. The staff at Albert English take the time to listen to their clients wants and needs, to ensure the funeral service provided is as individual as the person being laid to rest. It is important that the final journey of a loved one is a personal, dignified and sensitive occasion.
A funeral can be as simple or as elaborate as the family wish. Every funeral is different and there is no such thing as normal as the options are endless. For example, coffins can range from a standard coffin to an expensive American cherry wood casket, or even a Star Trek themed coffin. Families may decide to have a traditional funeral with a horse drawn carriage, or have a single white dove released which symbolises the peaceful release of the spirit. A funeral does not have to be a sullen occasion and some choose to celebrate life rather than grieve a death.
One of the hardest things a mourning family has to cope with is the unknown, not knowing the final wishes of a loved one. John says “As funeral directors, we find this situation one of the most difficult things to deal with. We can organise almost anything for your family and your loved one but it has to start with the you.” Conversations about death are not easy, especially with someone you love and care for, however knowledge is a powerful tool and being armed with the right answers during your grief can bring great comfort during such a difficult time.
Albert English Funeral Directors also provide the opportunity to make a funeral plan ahead of time, so that when your time does come, your family are relieved of the burden of deciding your wishes as you will have already decided, together with the cost of those wishes. It is an opportunity to take control and organise things the way you would like.
After reading this, if you do nothing else, have that conversation with your family and loved ones. However difficult or awkward, the staff at Albert English cannot stress enough how important it is to talk about the final event in your life; your funeral.