Today the company is run by cousins Pippa and Andrew. Both worked and studied in other fields before deciding to join the firm.
Cousin Hannah also joined the firm. This brings a wealth of experience and fresh ideas to the way in which the company is run. Clive Leverton, who until earlier in 2014 was our chairman, has now retired but offers support as a consultant to the firm.
As a family business, we are fortunate that our family ties extend beyond the Levertons. Some of our colleagues’ partners and children are also part of the company. Our profession is suited to a family company. Working with the deceased and the bereaved is a vocation – not every Leverton has chosen to join the company.
Women have been arranging funerals and taking care of families at Levertons for a long time. In the 60s, Bill and Bunty Biggerstaff ran a branch together, so Bunty was the pioneering first woman funeral director at Levertons – well ahead of her time! Next was Clive’s daughter Pippa in 1996, followed by Julie Avery in 2000 and Clive’s other daughter Hannah more recently. Today, six of our funeral directors are women, including Julie’s daughter Carmel.
Since the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, we have noticed significant changes in British funeral protocol. The use of contemporary music and personal tributes directly from family and friends is much more common today than before her death.
Another welcome change in the 21st century is environmental consciousness. Woodland burial sites are emerging around London and the city’s crematoria are now researching more solutions to reduce pollution for the future. We recently pioneered the first all-electric hearse in this country, for which we won the Best Alternative Hearse in 2015 and Best Green Funeral Director in 2013, as part of the Good Funeral Awards. This is proving invaluable for the city funerals with short journeys and for our clients who feel environmentally conscious. We are also proud to be one of the founding members of the Association of Green Funeral Directors.
Whether the funeral is religious, semi-religious or non-religious, we strive to find the right person to conduct the ceremony which is appropriate to you and the person who has died. Every funeral is different. We are guided by the people who come to us. Listening carefully to the bereaved and honouring the wishes of the person who has died is probably our greatest strength.