Want to know About us?
My name is Jason Clegg and I am the Funeral Director at Larvin and Clegg. Abi is my partner and she is the Larvin. People always ask me about “how I got into funerals” and so I decided to briefly tell the story. This could be a long (but hopefully interesting read), perhaps make a brew first….
I am not from a family of funeral directors, in fact most of my family have been engineers. I was 14 when I told everyone I wanted to be an undertaker. I have no idea where it really came from, I just knew that’s what I was going to do. I didn't discover it, I was always going to do this.
I was 21 when I got my first taste of my career when I was accepted on a work placement within the Mortuary at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. I trained and took part in post mortem examinations and learned about human anatomy. I was also introduced to the local funeral directors and questioned them at every opportunity about what they did, and why. I was keen to learn everything and always had another question.
Around 2009, I found myself redundant and decided to use the time as an opportunity to further my career and so I wrote to every funeral director within 20 miles of my house. I offered my services free of charge for 2 or 3 days a week in exchange for learning everything I could about funerals. I was very fortunate to get a chance at Joseph A Hayes in Bradford, who are still an independently owned family business and have been trading over 110 years! After 6 months I had proved my worth and started getting paid. I was officially an undertaker. At Joseph Hayes I learned everything, starting with washing vehicles, preparing coffins, driving corteges, and embalming. I was very lucky to have amazing mentors there, and was taught to do every job to the very highest standards. I have always called this my apprenticeship. I was instilled with traditional funeral values and shown the qualities of care necessary to do what we do, and do it well. Skills I would nurture and develop as my working life progressed. After a couple of years working with them, there wasn’t much else for me to learn, and with an already fantastic embalmer, and brilliant funeral directors there wasn’t really anywhere else for me to go. So I decided to take a career break and went back to college. It was probably a midlife crisis!
Initially I just completed a couple of GCSE’s in Biology and Chemistry, and this led to an invitation to study Forensic Science with the college wavering all fees. Naturally I accepted and 2 years later I graduated with a Diploma in Forensic Science, with an Outstanding Learner award and then finally the 2013 Full Time Learner of the Year award. Amazing accolades.
From here, things became a little difficult for me. My girlfriend at the time discovered she had Breast Cancer and I don’t mind admitting that my world fell apart. I was determined to do everything I could to try and save her, and decided my next course of action would be to study Biomedical Science in Manchester. Biomedical Science is the study of causes, mechanisms and treatments of disease. With a high focus on genetic diseases such as Cancer. Throughout her treatments I was studying everything I could to learn as much about human diseases as I could. I finished my degree back in 2015. Sadly she also left my life around the same time, and this left me completely lost and broken. I had no idea what to do with myself but my passion for a science career ended then. Strange as it may seem, this period of my life made me a far better funeral director than I ever could have been. I learned the true value of empathy, of putting someone elses needs before your own. I also experienced grief on a very personal level, all experiences neccessary to be a good funeral director. So with a forensics diploma and a biomedical science degree behind me, and huge student debt I decided I needed a holiday and therefore a job, and came back to funerals.
I got a job with Co-op Funeral Care, and worked around Manchester. I didn’t enjoy working at Co-op and felt every day I was compromising my standards and ethics. I had been taught how to look after funerals properly, by a family business. At Co-op I saw how not to do things. The contrast was shocking. However, Co-op did look after its staff well and promoted education. So I stayed with them purely to gain my Funeral Directors qualifications. Once I had this in place, I decided it was time to plan and to go it alone.
It took a little while to bring the plan together and there was no way I could of done it without Abi (Larvin). The best thing to come from my time at Co-op was Abi. Although it isn’t how we met, we did discover we worked for the same company in a random conversation on a welsh beach. Some how, I don’t know how? I convinced her to come of a date with me, and then rest as they say is history. She had also been a Funeral Arranger, and then gone on to be one of the managers. Her experience in planning funerals, and then administering Funeral Plans, wills and probate and community activities were skills I simply did not have.
So there you have it, an apprentice trained and qualified Funeral Director who is also a qualified Forensic and Biomedical Scientist, backed up by someone who is one of the best equally qualified Funeral and life planning administrators you will ever meet. We both handed in our notices during November 2019 and set up Larvin and Clegg, and opened our funeral home in March 2020.
wHY DID WE SET UP lARVIN AND cLEGg?
We wanted to offer a service that respected tradition values, but that was also modern and forwards thinking. From the outset we set out to be different and to offer a service that was as individual as the person who has passed away. We wanted to offer things that other funeral directors in the area simply can't do and based on our experience with what we were seeing in the area, we wanted to do things better. The days of going to the local undertaker “who looked after Granddad 10 years ago” are thankfully coming to an end. Families deserve much better and funerals can be so much more than just miserable old men (or women) dressed in black.
The design of our funeral home also represents this philosophy, is not a dark funeral parlour decorated in drab victorian colours. You don’t walk into a depressing room met by long faces that repeat the same “We are sorry for your loss” message over and over again. We created an environment that is light and welcoming. You can just come in sit down and talk. Have a brew and a biscuit and a chat.
We also took the decision that we would be open about our prices and we would show them all on-line. When we see a web site that says call for pricing, we always think that the seller is hiding something. Our prices are there for everyone to see, like us, it's open and its honest. And of course we know how much other companies are charging so we know our fees are the lowest in the area.
Being small, and therefore more flexible we pride ourselves on being able to do absolutely anything that our families ask. Yes we are traditional Funeral Directors, dedicated to traditional values. If you want a black hearse, a funeral conducted by a man wearing a Victorian morning suite with top hat and cane, we can give you that. But if you want more, you want an event. Then we can do that too.
Silver Hearses, Rainbow Hearses, Waggon Hearses, Motorbike Hearse, Horsedrawn hearses, Princess Carriages pulled by white horses or even unicorns. We can make that happen. Coffins painted white, pink, blue, gold or even wrapped in leopard print, we can make that happen. You want us to dress up as favourite TV character or even a superhero. Then we can do that. Absolutely nothing is impossible. Furthermore, we really embrace those moments and enjoy delivering those celebrations of life.
We are so much more than miserable old men or women, dressed in black repeating “Sorry for your loss” We are a family, taking care of your family when you need it most. And we promise, you will not find a better, more professional, or more friendly service anywhere.
And if you have read all the way down to here, thank you. You earned that brew!
With love and thanks
Abi and Jason x
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