“They were by my side throughout it all”
When Ann’s mother Brenda died on 22 June this year, she had no hesitation in calling Tester & Jones.
“My sister-in-law passed away a few years ago and Tester & Jones were amazing then, so I called them straightaway,” says Ann. “That said, I’m a Crowborough person – so I’ve known Glenys and Stephen for a few years anyway. In fact, I went to school with Glenys.”
She continues: “When Mum died, I went into organisational mode and the team at Tester & Jones were just amazing, answering all the questions I had. It seemed to me that I wasn’t just a customer, it was as if I was family to them and they were by my side throughout it all.”
Ann was keen that the funeral really reflected the person Brenda was – so it had to involve penguins!
“Mum collected penguins and my niece would always buy her one for her birthday and at Christmas,” says Ann. “So, we decided to have her floral tribute in the shape of a penguin. It turned out to be a little larger than we anticipated and it wouldn’t fit on Mum’s coffin for the journey to the crematorium. So, without hesitation, the pall bearers sat it up in the front of the hearse with them. It simply wasn’t a problem.”
Brenda’s service took place in the crematorium in Tunbridge Wells, followed by a gathering at the Social Club in Crowborough.
“Stephen was just amazing on the day and helped to make me feel comfortable and so supported. It made such a difference. He was simply there throughout the whole thing and took away any worries or stresses I had about the practical side of it all. Nothing was too much trouble. Although it was very much Mum’s day – it felt like it was our day too and that we mattered.”
“The team was brilliant in dealing with Mum’s order of service. We had photos we were keen to include and they just said, ‘send everything to us and we’ll sort it out’. Then they made sure that we saw proofs, so we knew it was going to be OK.”
“The celebrant who conducted Mum’s service was called Jane and she was just so good. I liked the fact that Stephen matched her with us – he knew what sort of service and approach we wanted and he knew that Jane would be a perfect fit for us. I really appreciated how individual it all felt.”
Brenda’s ashes are being buried in a family grave and Tester & Jones are helping Ann and her family to sort out a new gravestone.
“Again, nothing is too much trouble. We wanted an image of a penguin on Mum’s grave and they are helping us to achieve that. I also asked if we could have the stone at a particular angle and they are doing everything they can to arrange that for us too.”
“Stephen has continued to be supportive concerning the interment and has offered to be there with us if we’d like him to be and has explained all the various options open to us – that we can have a little service or just a few simple words.”
Ann says that since the funeral, the whole team have continued to support her and if she’s popped in at all and she’s needed some reassurance, they’ve been ready with a cuddle.
“Jo has been really kind to me and endlessly patient, particularly with the various penguin related issues,” says Ann. “It continues to feel like we’re part of their family and that we really matter.”
Ann has since taken up the option of having some of her Mum’s ashes made into a ring and a pendant, while her sisters and niece have also had jewellery pieces created.
“Glenys and Jo have led us through that process and I am really happy with my ring; I wear it all the time,” says Ann. “The whole Tester & Jones team have worked together to make a really difficult event into something that has good in it too - and I can’t praise them enough for that.”
Posted: 7th of November 2017