For almost 110 years Birds Funeral Services have provided a service from their home in Holymoorside.
The Birds family have operated their funeral business in Holymoorside since 1913 and today it remains a truly family business, now in its fourth generation we caught up with John Birds and Liz Craig (father and daughter) over a cup of ‘virtual coffee’.
“We’re probably one of the oldest remaining businesses in the village,” says Liz. “I can’t think of any others that are approaching 110 years old!”
John has been running the business since 1975, shortly after he closed the building side of things to concentrate solely on funerals. “When the business started, my Grandfather, John (Senior), was a carpenter and he established the business as a wheelwright, joiner, builder, and funeral director,” says John.
“In the early 1900’s the local carpenter had the skills to make the coffins, and before that the wheels for the carriages, so it also fell on them to act as the undertaker; the phrase ‘undertaker’ simply means ‘to undertake the arrangements.”
Today Birds offer a 24-hour service, and it falls to Liz to pick up most of the business, after she decided to move out of her teaching career in the early 2000’s to move into the family business. And it’s John’s son who, although living and working in Oxford, is also involved in the business looking after the IT requirements.
Birds pride themselves on offering a caring service, they can take responsibility for all aspects of a loved one’s funeral care, planning the service, arranging cars, flowers, and whatever requirement you may have.
They have a private Chapel of Rest on site on Loads Road, Holymoorside and a small function room should mourners wish to take refreshments following a service. “The fact that we are based in Holymoorside enables people to hand their loved one over to someone who is part of the community, and of course we offer our services across Chesterfield and the wider area,” says Liz.
The way funerals are funded, like so many things, is changing and Birds are able to provide ‘Golden Charter Prepaid Plans’; a Funeral Plan is an easy way to pre-arrange the funeral you want and pay for the funeral director's fees at today's prices, either as a one-off payment or monthly, spread over three years. A plan can help save your family the worry and expense, helping make things easier for your loved ones when the time comes.
‘Prepaid plans are popular now,” explains Liz. “Prices associated with every aspect of funeral services are creeping up so it’s great to be able to protect some elements and safeguard yourself from these increases.
“We are happy to talk to people about their required plans, we’re always pleased to put together a quote based around specific requirements.
“We are a member of SAIF, a national organisation ensuring we operate to the highest standards among independent directors."
The team at Birds have had a challenging year, arrangements have been done over the phone, they often haven’t met people until the day of the funeral and with reduced numbers allowed to attend it’s been hard for all the families we’ve dealt with.
“The staff at Chesterfield Crematorium have been so professional over the year during the pandemic, really supportive and we’d also like to pass on our thanks to them,” says Liz.
So, if you want to know your loved one will be well cared for, or you want to make your own plan and remove the stress your family will have to go through, give John or Liz a call to get a quote.
With just two years to go to reach 110 years, Birds are a safe pair of hands at a time when you need someone caring and understanding.
Birds Funeral Services
44 Loads Road
Chesterfield S42 7EU
T: 01246 566592
Words: Paul Chapman
Images: Birds Funeral Services