Funerals and Coronavirus/ COVID-19   Click here to learn more

Our Funerals



CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 UPDATE

During the pandemic, it is impossible for us to provide funerals as we normally would, however we are still operating and will be doing everything we can to help people through during these extremely distressing times.  The guidelines drawn up by the Government in consultation with the two main funeral trade associations the NAFD and SAIF, state that in order to reduce contact, face to face meetings for the arrangement of funerals should be replaced by remote options such as phone calls, email, and skype.  We are finding that families are adapting well to this and we are still here as much as you need us to be.

The guidelines state that funerals can take place but have to be limited to immediate family only (fewer than 10 people) with all the social distancing rules applying.  Live streaming was an option to include those family members unable to attend, however, due to the excessive strain on bandwidth across the country, this has now been discontinued in most Crematoria until further notice.  

The Good Funeral Guide is now calling for a stop to these gatherings that bear little resemblance to our usual heartwarming and healing ceremonies – please read the blog below:

Please, stop now

 

As funeral directors we feel that it is now time to view the way we do funerals differently.  Until now, a funeral was two things – firstly laying the body to rest, either by burial or cremation.  The second was the part was coming together to mourn, to celebrate the person’s life, to cry, to laugh, to remember. The outbreak of this terrible virus has forced us to adapt and it is no longer safe, feasible or healing to continue these ‘funerals’.  We feel that if we are able to change our mindset to consider the separation of these two things, then it is still possible to ‘do right by’ the person, and to have a truly meaningful ceremony that will at least go some way to healing broken hearts.

Please read our blog post on the Good Funeral Guide Website below on we can redefine how we actually say goodbye to our loved ones to help us cope with these difficult decisions: 

Dark times

Guest post by Jo Williamson from Albany Funerals

BBC Breakfast today (2:22:02)

“I wanted to share this, mainly because it’s the first time I’ve heard or seen anything about funerals on TV since the beginning of the outbreak.

Nothing so far addressing the sheer devastation we face having to explain to recently bereaved people that we can not offer them our usual warmth, our safe and tranquil space to plan something together that would have been exactly what their friend or relative would have loved, the choice of spending time with the person who died at our cosy premises, or the comfort of coming together in sadness and smiles to remember and celebrate their lives. I understand why – it’s too heartbreaking.

However! I wanted to pick up on something the GP says in the clip, about the fact that she understands the dilemma for people with pre-existing medical conditions on whether to attend a funeral because it would be ‘their only chance to say goodbye’… I would like to challenge this!

As funeral directors it has been almost impossible to adapt to this necessary change in the way we do things which goes against every bone in our body – no face to face meetings, social distancing, only 10 people allowed at a service, immediate family only, no contact, no hugs, stripped back ceremonies, unattended cremations and burials.

But we have adapted and so have our amazing customers and this is what I wanted to say – please do not despair. I truly believe that we can still do things properly, we just need to change our perception of what a funeral should be.

Up until now, a funeral was two things together – the laying to rest of the body by cremation or burial, and the memorial aspect – the part where we mourn and come together to honour and celebrate the person, to laugh, to cry, to comfort one another. This virus has forced us to change this but I do believe we can adapt to this situation by understanding that it is maybe not so wrong to separate these two parts. Having had heartbreaking phone conversations with our families about this, their first reaction is total horror, utter devastation and the feeling that they are letting down their loved one in some way. These phone calls have been the most horrific thing we’ve had to do in this job so far. However, and this is really important, talking to them daily, we have realised that actually, in most cases this wears off very quickly.

Actually in most cases there is an element of RELIEF. Relief that at this horrific time of sadness and grief they do not have to rush around organising something they are dreading, that they have a little more time to process what has happened before catapulting themselves into trying, for the most part, to second guess the wishes of that person and make it all happen. The realisation that actually they are probably not in any fit state to even take in the ceremony, remember who was there, what was said, what the flowers or coffin even looked like.

We have been taking to local venues who have wonderful spaces little used during the week that cost less than a crematorium chapel. This is what we need to do, offer the second part of the ‘funeral’ in a few months – each one totally personal, more time, beautiful surroundings. Those families affected will be able to come together in a few months to say goodbye to those they have lost and they may possibly also be a little stronger and more able to cope, finding greater comfort and solace with the passage of time.”

 

 



It is with a very heavy heart that as of this evening 27th March, after many painful discussions, we have now made the decision as a team that we cannot any longer support putting families and ourselves at risk to continue providing traditional funeral services.

We can however offer the following:

Direct Cremation                   £1,700 – Includes our fees to bring the person who has died into our care, completion of all paperwork, cremation fee (unattended), standard coffin, provision of ashes in a scatter tube.

You can then either organise your own personal way of celebrating the person’s life, liaise with your local church for a memorial service, or we can assist you:

Arrangement of a ceremony to celebrate the life of the person who has died at a later date

£700 – Includes matching a suitable venue to your needs, complete organisation of the event, including staff on the day.  We have already been in touch with some local venues and they are extremely keen to do whatever they can to assist us in holding personal and beautiful ceremonies.  Most of these venues provide wakes on the premises and do not charge for venue hire.  We can also put you in touch with one of our wonderful celebrants who can liaise with you, either now or at a later date to produce a formal service.  The cost of a celebrant is £225.

Please note that in the interest of safety, we cannot presently offer small services at our premises.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any advice or guidance – we are here to help 24/7.

Maidstone area – 01622 746688

Ashford area – 01233 650746



When you choose an Albany Funeral, your wishes take priority and your choices are central.  At a time when it’s extremely hard to think clearly, our expertise is in helping you to understand all the options available to you, so that the funeral is the very best it can be. We aim to empower and support as much or as little as you need – you will not experience any selling or pushing for anything you do not want.

Here’s what the Good Funeral Guide says about us:

“Jo will arrange exactly the funeral you want. Albany are unique in the area in being perfectly able to provide either a completely traditional funeral, or a totally bespoke one. If it’s a traditional funeral that you want, you can be reassured that the turnout is as smart as it gets. And if you want a very personal, individual event then Jo will be able to offer you as many suggestions as you feel comfortable with. You’ll never be overwhelmed though, she’s exceptionally good at listening to people and understanding what they need from her.”

Our Prices

We are passionate about offering fair and transparent prices to our customers.  The prices for our services are shown below, we will then add the appropriate church, celebrant, cemetery or cremation and doctors fees.

 

Click Here To see our guide on what to think about when arranging a funeral

Traditional £1995 + Coffin

The best of traditional practice combined with excellent service and all in the most personal of ways. Includes our professional fees.

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Modern £1995 + Coffin

Innovative celebrations of life at beautiful venues in addition to more traditional venues such as crematoria and churches. We aim to keep the cost of these more bespoke ceremonies as near to a traditional funeral as possible.

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Simple From £1,700 All Inclusive

There are helpful and simple options which not only save money but offer an excellent way of having a funeral. Includes our professional fees, cremation fees, doctors fees and cardboard coffin.

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What our Customers say....

I first heard about Albany Funerals when a 7 year old boy died suddenly in the playground of my grand-daughter's school, it was just before Christmas and we heard that Albany Funerals arranged for a member of staff to be at their premises during the Christmas period to enable the family to be with their child during that tragic time. When my Mother died a few years later Albany was the obvious choice for me, so consequently I met Jo and her carefully selected staff who acted like an extended family and helped in every aspect of what could have been a total nightmare.
Jo is a 100% kind, caring and understanding person which is a rarity in any walk of life and she can identify with families about their loss.
Jo annually arranges a balloon release in memory of deceased loved ones which is a very moving experience, attended by many people and also raises money for the Heart of Kent Hospice.
There is a coffee morning once a month for bereaved relatives, where Jo provides coffee, her home made cakes, companionship and love, with each visitor treated like a much loved relative.
I recently asked Jo why the lights were left on in her premises all night and she told me that to grieving families it looks like their loved ones are not alone. I have often thought about this and it moves me to tears because she is so right. If ever there was a person completely suited to their job then it is her. We have been back to visit her because she had the unique ability to make an undertaker's premises feel like a friendly home and everyone of her well picked staff feel like friends.

Carol Read More

Upon my brother's death we felt a great vacuum and sadness in our lives and the thought of choosing a Funeral Director was an unwelcome necessity but an obviously important one. We had attended a funeral earlier that year and I was impressed at the smoothness of the proceedings. I found out it was Albany and we made enquiries.
Straightaway we were welcomed into a very relaxing meeting room and put at ease with Jo's sensitive caring and attentive approach. There was also a genuine feeling that she empathised with our grief and that she would do all that she could to make the funeral into what we wanted. There was no time pressure and she offered advice and support for the children and what may or may not be suitable. When you are in shock and grieving it is almost impossible to think clearly, yet Jo steered us through the issues and we were instantly happy to accept her help.
She ran through many options including a cardboard coffin, which the children decorated.
The staff were very friendly and supportive, punctual and providing the vital support on the funeral day.
When you have someone like Jo helping, you appreciate the vital importance in getting an occasion such as this right. We cannot praise Jo and all at Albany highly enough and would recommend her to provide the right balance and care at such a sad occasion.

Stephen Read More

We could never have wished for anyone more perfect to help us plan John’s farewell. Under impossible circumstances, it’s been a pleasure meeting you. Your incredible warmth and support has made this time as easy as we believe it could have been . A big thank you to all of you.

Sue Read More

During a difficult period of time, Jo and the staff of Albany Funerals helped ease my situation.

Peter Read More

We as a family had never had to personally deal with such a sad and upsetting situation such as the loss of a parent. Sam and Jo and their team helped and guided us through it with such ease. They made us all feel so welcome any time we called, emailed and visited..... Our Dad's funeral was a special day in our minds and we all look back and feel that it was done with such kindness, professionalism and care. They are a very dedicated hard working group of people that go out of their way to make sure a very sad day is completed with dignity. I believe they deserve a nomination for their work!

Susan Read More

I recently used Albany Funerals for my mother's funeral and I could not have asked for more attentive and caring people than Jo and her team. Living in Loose I frequently walked past Albany Funerals and so decided to call them after my mother passed away. That was one of the best decisions I made. Jo immediately made myself and my husband feel at ease when we met her and she has a natural yet unassuming manner when talking about the very sensitive and delicate matter of arranging the funeral of a loved one.
We decided to go for the slightly alternative option of a Direct funeral and Jo helped us along the way of the process and made sure every detail was covered, including helping us to find a beautiful venue for a celebration of Mum's life. Albany led a wonderful celebration, outside in the sunshine on their decking, and everyone said it was perfect for Mum.
I would highly recommend Jo and the whole team at Albany Funerals to help anyone through the emotional but necessary process of arranging a funeral.

Sarah Read More

We had never had to contact a Funeral Director before so wasn't really sure where to start. My father had left fairly specific instructions as to the sort of funeral he wanted. We spoke to a few Funeral Directors who were very polite but we felt that they were more interested in us fitting in with what they offered. We then, fortunately, spoke to Jo and Sam at Albany and made an appointment to go and see them. From the outset, we liked how they wanted to help us arrange the funeral that Dad wanted rather than a funeral which fitted in with a 'package'. Our decision to appoint Albany was a very easy one to make and it made our lives easier at such a difficult time.
All the staff at Albany were extremely efficient and considerate at all times. My father's wishes were carried out perfectly, we cannot thank them all enough and wish them every success for the future.

Kerry Read More

Jo, thank you for all your careful support and advice over the arrangements for Jane's funeral. Only your kindness and patience made it at all possible and eased the pain of such a difficult task. I know the girls also valued your encouragement and help whilst we all said goodbye to Jane in your chapel. Your generous time, presence and comfort whilst they decorated with flowers their mum's coffin they will always remember. The funeral itself under your watchful eyes was perfect. Your whole team was superb.

Philip Read More

I have nothing but praise for Jo's team at Albany Funerals and in particular Sam. Sam was so caring and helpful at each of our visits and nothing was too much trouble. There was a brightness about her that put us at ease when dealing with the sad situation. She was very understanding at all times. The gentlemen who looked after us on the day treated us with every courtesy and made us feel very comfortable. I would highly recommend Albany Funerals. They are the best.

Judy Read More

My late husband had very clear ideas about the type of funeral service that he wanted after his death, and he spent lots of time making decisions and finding the right people to support us in creating the perfect humanist celebration of his life. Jo was instrumental in helping us to achieve this and always took a positive approach, helping us to find exactly the right format for the service.
We found ourselves in a very difficult situation when the venue that my late husband chose for his own funeral let us down with no notice after his death. Since my husband did not want the service to take place in a church or crematorium, we had found it quite difficult to find exactly the right venue, so this created a significant problem. Jo responded with complete professionalism and within a couple of hours she had made a suggestion for an alternative venue. We were able to visit the venue and we confirmed the change the next day, after which Jo took over seamlessly. The last minute cancellation of our venue was immensely upsetting but Jo’s professional approach ensured that everything went according to plan despite the last minute relocation.
Jo and her team emanate kindness, compassion, and respect. They were reliable and efficient, and they went over and above to ensure that my husband’s funeral service was everything he wanted it to be.
We could not have chosen a better funeral director.

Jacqui Read More

Our heartfelt and sincere thanks go to our and your team for such a lovely celebration of the life of Malcolm. It was absolutely perfect and we could not have hoped for a better send off for a man who has inspired many and of whom we are immensely proud. The flowers were stunning and all your hard work in making everything happen like clockwork will always be remembered. With our best wishes to you and your team of ‘gems’.

Sue & David Read More

It’s quite hard to put into words how grateful we are to Jo and Albany for how much support they gave to my family and especially my mum after my dad died.
I’m sure we weren’t unusual in wanting something personal and to do our best for Dad and Jo not only juggled all our ideas, but also had some great suggestions herself as she gently guided us through the process, making it as easy as it could be. She brings a huge amount of care, warmth and confidence which in a very tough time, we needed and made us feel very special.
To this day, my mum regularly attends the Albany Coffee Mornings for many of the widows and widowers, so Jo’s generosity and compassion doesn’t just end there…
Totally recommend and will be forever grateful.

Sarah Read More

Bereavement is a difficult and stressful time, but from our first meeting we were cared for in a compassionate way and given time to consider our wishes with no pressure. Sam was caring and reassuring, completely putting our minds at rest over every little detail. Albany provided an excellent service from the start. The team were friendly, respectful and nothing was too much trouble. I would have no hesitation in recommending them!

Paula Read More

Albany Funerals looked after my father's funeral in November 2014 and the care and sensitivity with which Jo handled matters for us and supported the family was exemplary. Jo manages to tread the perfect line between professionalism and compassion and during the time she helped us made me completely re-assess my preconceptions of the role of funeral director.

Tim Read More

I wanted to let you and your team know how much it has meant to myself and my family, that you have made this most terribly tragic time for us, as bearable as possible.

Your kindness, helpfulness and expertise has been immeasurable in making our last farewell to Jim, a most beautiful celebration of his life.
It was a very dignified and moving ceremony, the best I have ever seen and we are truly grateful to you, Peter the Funeral Director (who really did look after me) and the pallbearers who were solemn, respectful, smart and normal looking. I have been to funerals where the pallbearers look like bouncers from a dodgy club or something out of the Adams Family!

So thank you all for a splendid job. Jim would have been so proud of what we all achieved on his behalf.

Maggie Read More

Get in Touch

Please feel free to contact us at any time, whether to discuss your options, to seek our advice or to simply ask any questions you might have.

We regularly serve the whole of Kent and also more widely across the UK when requested.

Our new branch in Great Chart, just outside of Ashford Is now open. Please contact us on either number for information.

More Info

 Info Brochure
 Arranging a Funeral
 Myths About Funerals

Our Offices

Albany Funerals Maidstone
669 Loose Road,
Maidstone,
Kent ME15 9UX
01622 746 688
[email protected]

Albany Funerals Ashford
1, New Street Farm,
Chilmington Green Road,
Great Chart,
Ashford, TN23 3DL
01233 650 746
[email protected]

Opening Times

Offices are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday

We are available to help 24/7

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