North Devon funeral directors move to new facility after 110 years serving the community
- Credit: Joe Bulmer
A North Devon business which has served families in the area for more than 110 years has moved to a new custom-built facility on the outskirts of Fremington.
WS Gayton & Son Funeral Directors have, for more than a century, operated from premises in Bickington but after four years of planning have now moved into a new state-of-the-art facility designed with nature in mind.
At the heart of the new build is a commitment to helping families feel more comfortable, offering them more privacy and creating a space for nature.
Gazette editor Joe Bulmer was given a tour of the new facility last week by Liz Gayton.
“The new facility offers more privacy for our families and the lovely outside space where they are now able to reflect in nature,” said Liz.
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“We wanted a tranquil space where grieving families could find some comfort in nature. The pond is a central point for families to use when they need some time to reflect.
“With the planting in the outside space we wanted to create a sanctuary where there is something beautiful to enjoy whatever the season. We’re also introducing wild flowers to help the bees and other pollinators.
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“A big part of our vision for the new facility was to work with nature. We use a bank of solar panels to help power the facility and none of our waste goes to landfill.”
Liz added: “As soon as the landscaping was completed nature moved in, it was really quite inspiring. Our fantastic staff were also included in the design process, we have a very close team here and we really value their input.”
The business spans five generations and was established in 1910 by William Samuel Gayton and his wife Elizabeth. William was, at that time, the Village Undertaker, Carpenter and Wheelwright.
The business was then taken over by his son, Archibald John Gayton and his wife Lilian. Their eldest son Arthur William (John) and his wife Maureen took over the business when Archibald retired. They are still proprietors of the business, although they are no longer involved in the day to day running.
By 1985 John and Maureen’s son David William had joined the business. In 1998 their daughter Jane Elizabeth became involved, studying and gaining a DIP. FD, Diploma in Funeral Directing from the National Association of Funeral Directors.
David married Liz in 2005 and they have two children, Henry and Lucie. Jane married Marlon in 2007 and they have a daughter, Ruby. The business is currently run by David and Jane Gayton.