What the Good Funeral Guide said about us
Winners of the 2021 Buckinghamshire Business Awards for Excellence in Customer Service, J Brown Funeral services is owned and run by Jason Brown – the man himself, together with his wife Ana. This is a true family owned and run business, created in 2017, some 25 years after Jason first began work for his former father-in-law in his family funeral directing business in Middlesex.
Step in through the door of the first premises in Woodside Road in Amersham, and it will be Jason who greets you. Open the door to their second branch, in Wendover, and it will be Ana you find waiting to welcome you. If you call in the middle of the night if someone dies and needs to be taken into the care of a funeral director, it will be Jason who arrives shortly afterwards.
He’s the one who will care for the person who died until the funeral date, and, on the day of the funeral, it’s Jason who will double check every detail, lift the coffin into the hearse and be there for you throughout the funeral until the ceremony is completed.
This absolute personal involvement with each family and funeral is what makes this company special. Unlike the other funeral businesses in the towns, J Brown Funeral Services is owned, run and staffed by the people who own it and whose name is above the door, the people whose reputation is on the line every time they undertake the task of helping a family organise a funeral for someone.
The need to have this personal involvement is what motivated Jason to start his own business. When he had started working as a driver-bearer in the family firm as a young man, he had the good luck to be working for someone who ran his business in the old-fashioned way of everyone involved being able to do everything. Jason progressed from driving and polishing the cars to meeting families, making funeral arrangements and conducting funerals, and gathered experience in every aspect of the work. You could say he learned his craft in a way that no training course could ever provide, learning from old hands who had been working in funerals for years.
This doesn’t mean Jason is stuck in the past, not at all – he’s a progressive, thoughtful and creative funeral director, but one with the grounding of learning his trade through years of experience, and through watching and learning from the many other funeral directors he’s encountered over time.
In 2003, Jason became a partner in the company he worked for, and took over conducting all the funerals that were carried out, as well as the day to day running of the business. The company was sold in 2015, and Jason stayed on for a brief period as an employee of the new owners; a much larger affair with very different practices and standards than those he had been used to.
His new role still covered the areas he used to work in, but he was based in the head office, and no longer had any dealings with funeral arrangements, and didn’t meet families until the day of the funeral. This was completely alien to Jason, and it wasn’t long before he decided to leave and look for somewhere to start again, somewhere where ‘I could do things the way I wanted, and provide the service bereaved families deserve.’ It took quite a while to find premises that Jason felt would be right, but the property in Amersham caught his eye and he made the decision to invest in his own funeral company in the town.
After a fair amount of hard work putting up walls and decorating and getting things the way he wanted them to be, the new, independent family funeral directors serving the people of Amersham and the surrounding areas opened for business in August 2017. Jason had modest hopes for the first year of trading, but his expectations were exceeded, proving his instincts to have been right. In 2021, the couple opened their second branch in Wendover, and within a few weeks, several families had already entrusted their funeral arrangements to Ana and Jason.
Ana has a background in hospitality and event management, and until 2020 she was working teaching others the skills and subtleties involved in this area – skills that are superbly suited to helping clients organise funerals. She brings fresh eyes and complementary abilities to Jason’s impeccable pedigree in funerals, and looks after the company’s social media, radio interviews and general awareness raising in the area. She absolutely loves her role, and the ability she has to help guide people towards a meaningful, transformational experience with their funeral. She continues to grow and learn in other areas too – when we visited in 2021, she had begun learning Russian, a long held ambition of hers.
Maybe it’s the fact the company is independently owned that draws people to them when they need a funeral director – or maybe it’s Jason and Ana themselves ,whose open, friendly and quiet manner is instantly reassuring, and whose meticulous attention to detail means that every funeral they look after is carried out as well as it could possibly be. It might be the years of experience Jason has had that instils confidence instantly. Or it might be the strong commitment the couple have to their community, to supporting local small traders, their ethos and way of being that is getting has established the company so quickly.
No matter the reason, J Brown Funeral Services’ reputation is growing rapidly as a quality funeral director that offers completely personal service, and who can tailor that service to suit whatever you want or need. The flexibility of a funeral director who owns and runs his or her own business is one of the things that the large chains and corporately run companies just cannot compete with, and it is this flexibility and willingness to adapt to each family’s preferences that makes this small, independent funeral directors company stand out.
The premises in Amersham are small at the front, but go back a long way. The main door opens into a pleasant reception area. Beyond the rear wall, a small room where you can spend time with the person who has died is to the right, leading on to a larger area with a second desk to one side. The kitchen is at the rear on the right, while to the left secure doors lead to the newly created mortuary area with refrigeration and facilities for washing and dressing people, and there is private rear access. Everywhere is spotlessly clean and tidy.
In Wendover, the newer branch is located directly opposite the War Memorial in the High Street. The large windows offer an opportunity for Ana\’s skills decorating the window displays to be demonstrated, and mean that the reception area is light and bright, and visible from outside. There is a small, private, family room that can be used either to discuss funeral arrangements, or to have space and privacy if a family is spending time with their person in the chapel of rest, which is just beyond. Through a second door from the family room there is access to a small kitchen area and loo.
The only funeral director in South Bucks to be recognised by the Good Funeral Guide