The family bond that ensures a personal touch

Five generations of one family have dedicated their lives to caring and supporting the community when the worst happens.

Established in 1916, James Giles and Sons Funeral Directors in Worcestershire has steadily been growing in strength with the fourth and fifth generation now integral staff members.

According to James’ grandson, Raymond Noble, it is the reassuring family bond which has enabled the business to succeed.

“Working with the family is incredibly supportive. We are really relaxed working with each other and this makes people feel comfortable when they come in to see us,” said Raymond, who is now company director along with his cousin James Robert. “As a team we have the third, fourth and fifth-generation family members so each of us is heavily invested in the business’s future.

“We are proud of our grandfather for starting this firm and we proudly carry on his legacy.”

Originally launched as a carpenters and joiners, it quickly switched to become a funeral home, providing the local community with personal care when they suffered bereavements. That attention to details was so highly regarded that James Giles and Sons were soon supplying cars for weddings, a practice which only ended 40 years ago.

And business expansion is still a trait being used today, with the firm also running a fleet of Jaguars and two removal vehicles.

Over the years, there have also been changes to the types of funerals requested, as Raymond explained: “We have made several improvements to the business and we have many plans for the firm.

We listen to the families and really let them decide what they want. I think a lot of people need to listen more, to provide those grieving with what they need and want.

“When we first started bringing in the colourful coffins and wicker baskets about 30 years ago I wasn’t too sure about them, but now I realise how nice it is to make everything more personalised for the family.”

While funerals have changed from traditional to involving individual celebrations of life, James Giles and Sons are still true to their roots, serving their neighbours 24/7.

“We have fantastic team of clergy in our area and we have built up strong relationships with them,” explained Raymond.

“We don’t have problems booking in our funerals because we ask the clergy what suits them; we don’t dictate to them what date we would like to run.

“Our business has been built up on these relationships and we support our community.”

Those relationships also extend to the local printers, the neighbouring florist and the catering teams who ensure that all requests are met.

That commitment to being an integral part of the community also extends to the local football team that the firm has sponsored for the past three years.

To mark its 100 years of success, the firm’s 11 staff members – six family members, two more full-timers and three part-time employees – recently hosted a celebratory event in Bromsgrove for 180 people, with 80 to 90 of those guests being descendants of James Giles.

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