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Forrest & Family – Rewriting the Stereotypes

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Published 06/02/2023
by Lucy Forrest

Forrest & Family Funeral Directors – Rewriting the Stereotypes

Forrest & Family is the newest independent Funeral Directors in the Stoke-on-Trent area. Established on High Lane in Burslem earlier this year by Lucy Forrest and her husband Lee, it was always going to be something different to the traditional concept of a Funeral Directors in every way.
Forrest & Family
Lucy spent many years in the Estate Agency profession locally, but the sudden death of her beloved father in 2018 made her re-evaluate her goals, and gave her a longing need to do something that made a genuine difference to others. The care her family received in planning her dad’s funeral resonated deeply with her, and within a few days of his funeral, she announced to Lee that she wanted to leave Estate Agency and begin working in funeral care instead. Wisely Lee advised she waited a while to see if she still felt the same way – six months later, the desire was still as strong, so with his support she made the move to become a part-time Driver/Bearer. Within a year, her passion and dedication saw her being made a Funeral Director and running her own Funeral Home in Uttoxeter.

Stoke-on-Trent born and bred, Lucy always longed to return home with her work, and the opportunity came up at the beginning of 2022 when she saw the premises on High Lane. Even on a rainy cold dark evening, smelling musty and with no working lights or heat, Lucy saw the potential of the building, and the vision was born.

“I fell in love the moment I walked through the door,” she says with a grin. “My husband thought I was crazy, but I could see the finished result in my mind’s eye literally from the first moment I stepped inside.”
Lucy Forrest of Forrest & Family
As a woman in the Funeral profession, Lucy has always come up against some surprise and even some opposition, but as a female business owner in the profession, she was determined to tap into that element of surprise and use it to demonstrate her passion to break with stereotypes. Starting with the branding and the premises, she designed bright, light-filled airy open space, with cosy comfortable nooks and crannies for more privacy also available, using greens and a pop of orange in her colour scheme to break with traditional dark colours. The entire frontage of the Funeral Home is glass, meaning that the reception area is fully visible from the pavement, because as Lucy says:

“Walking into a Funeral Home is for many people one of the most daunting experiences of their life. They don’t know what to expect, and if they can see clearly from the outside what they are walking into, it does create a feeling of more calm.”
Everything else in the building and in Lucy’s approach follows the theme of breaking with stereotypes, encouraging people to think more creatively about the ways in which they would like to reflect and pay tribute to their loved one’s life. Lucy believes deeply in honest open communication and transparency, which flows through all aspects of arranging the funeral, taking care of the loved one, and taking part on the day of the funeral.

For example, did you know ….

• You can assist with washing and dressing your loved one if you wish – some people find this to be hugely therapeutic in the goodbye process
• You can spend as much time with your loved one as you wish through to the day of the funeral, at any time of the day or night
• The dress code for the funeral does not have to be traditional and formal if this does not reflect who your loved one was as a person – it’s entirely up to you!
• A funeral ceremony can take place almost anywhere, including outdoors
• You can choose a religious or non-religious ceremony, including any style of music that you wish – it doesn’t have to be hymns or classical
• There are many types of vehicle that may be more reflective of your loved one than a traditional black motorised hearse, including motorbikes and Land Rovers to name just a couple

Lucy is also passionate about sharing the philosophy that conversations about dying and death are actually a perfectly normal part of life.

“Would your family and friends know your wishes for your funeral arrangements?” she asks.

“We see so many families in arrangement meetings with us where the overriding thought in their minds is not knowing what their loved one would have chosen. Being afraid of conversations about death makes it even more mysterious and terrifying, where as being honest and transparent and open helps to lift that black cloak of fear.”
Thank you Lucy for sharing your passion for funerals and supporting the bereaved with us. We will be bringing you more insight from the funeral profession throughout the year. You can find out more about Lucy and Lee and their funeral home in Stoke-on-Trent here. Check them out on Facebook: Forrest & Family Funeral Directors.

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