This week on ‘whiteballoon insights’ we talk to Jackie Lymn Rose, a fourth generation member of A W Lymn, about it’s wonderful history and the changes they have seen over the years.
Q: A W Lymn is a family business and has been serving the local community since 1907. That’s an incredible length of time and something you must be very proud of. Can you tell us a little bit about your family and the history of A W Lymn?
Arthur William LYMN and Harold Percival LYMN, the maternal grandfather and great grandfather of the current Chairman of A W Lymn The Family Funeral Service, founded the company in Goosegate, Nottingham as “complete undertakers” having previously operated as general traders. Their ethos was to provide a full funeral service, for an affordable amount for the citizens of Nottingham, particularly within the city.
Family members still involved in the day to day operation are two of the fourth generation and four of the fifth generation.
Q: You provide a complete service, helping families every step of the way, from flowers and transport, to bespoke funerals and monumental masonry. Have you noticed a change over the years in the requirements and wishes of families?
We have maintained many of the traditions of our forefathers and have continued to offer a traditional service, Nottingham is a cosmopolitan city and we have embraced the needs, practises and customs of different faith groups. Offering choice to the client has always been paramount and we always take into consideration the needs and the means of the families we serve. Certainly, since our foundation there has been an increase in cremation services as opposed to burials with public and faith acceptance, as a consequence to that many families request none or family only flowers and donate to charity instead. Environmentally friendly products and services have increased as people become more environmentally aware. More recently we have experienced an increase in “Direct Funerals” with no mourners in attendance, usually as a request of the deceased, which is often without comfort to the bereaved in the way that a traditional funeral to “celebrate a life” is.
Q: With 31 offices in Nottinghamshire and South Derbyshire you cover a wide area. Is this something that has grown organically and do you have plans to expand to other regions in the future?
We have 28 operating funeral homes and one further one in the making, some are the product of acquisition and some have grown organically. The stone masonry business was established by H P Lymn in the 1950s and the floristry business was originally under the ownership of the granddaughter of A W Lymn but was brought “in house” in the 1990s. Any expansion to other regions is not out of the question.
Q: I see that you also offer personalised pre-payment options, which can really help people to manage the cost of a funeral. Has the new legislation had an impact on the services that you offer?
We have offered pre-paid funeral plans for many decades and have always held the funds securely. We are fully compliant with new legislation and it has not impacted the service we offer as any staff appointed to sell plans are fully conversant with legal and financial requirements in doing so.
Q: Your family must have seen many changes in the funeral and end of life sectors. How do you see these areas evolving in the future?
The world has changed with the advent of technology and society has become increasing secular, there are endless choices available in terms of products and services. There is a greater emphasis on environmental issues to that end different methods of body disposal are in their infancy such as composting and resomation (water cremation) which will probably become widely available.
Q: It must be wonderful being a part of a family business. How long have you been a part of it and is there a next generation coming through?
My late father was a Funeral Director and latterly Chairman of the Company, my mother is the daughter and granddaughter of the founders so, in essence, I have always been part of a funeral environment. I trained out of Nottingham and then joined the family business as a qualified Embalmer and Funeral Director 31 years ago.
Q: Your days must be very busy, I imagine it can be an emotionally demanding area to work in. What do you do to unwind and re-charge your batteries? Is there a favourite place you visit or a hobby that you love?
Yes, the environment can be emotionally demanding but we work together as a team and as such that we all “sing off the same hymn sheet” is supportive. It is important that we consider our occupation to be a way of life for us and that the demands of the bereaved are an integral part of that. Enjoying time with friends not connected with the funeral profession is, perhaps, my favourite leisure time activity.