About Ford Mears
Ford Mears can trace its industry heritage all the way back to the start of E Finch & Son in 1857 which was John Ford’s family business. G M Luff, founded in 1897 by Thomas Marshall Luff, was Ford Mears’ first acquisition in 1986, and served the local Haslemere community and its surrounding villages at a time of horse-drawn hearses. Building on our heritage, today we’re proud to provide a caring and professional service in South West London, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and West Sussex with our extensive fleet of modern Jaguar funeral vehicles.
Since 1986, our Directors have grown the company by acquiring a number of fellow independent funeral directors. This has enabled us to grow our successful business, whilst still maintaining the personalised professional service provided to local communities by our predecessors and their families to the highest standards.
Our success derives from the commitment of our Directors John Ford and Tony Mears, who grew the company from a single office back in 1986 to our multiple offices today. John is the 4th generation of an independent family-run Funeral Directors, and Tony Mears joined the industry at the tender age of 15. John and Tony started working together in 1974, when Tony joined John’s family business, E Finch & Sons, and 14 years later they identified an opportunity to establish a larger independent business together.
Ford Mears Directors John Ford and Tony Mears met when they both worked at John’s Uncle Hubert’s business, E Finch & Son in Aldershot. Hubert was the third generation of the family run business, and indeed it was John’s Uncle Hubert who first tried to persuade John’s father Harry to let him join the family business. Harry initially had reservations, but eventually Hubert managed to persuade him that working for the family business would offer good career prospects for the young man.
Though it would mean starting off with everyday tasks like company accounts and administration, the company had plans to introduce overseas funerals alongside repatriation to and from the UK, prospects that made the role attractive to an ambitious young man. So in 1972, John decided to join E Finch & Son in Aldershot, marking the start of his career in the funeral business.
As Hubert’s daughter Pauline also worked at E Finch & Son, both John and Pauline intimated that they would eventually continue the business. It therefore came as a great surprise to everyone when Hubert decided to sell the business to the Great Southern Group (GSG) in 1988.
Then, just nine months later, GSG made a shock announcement. They informed John that they no longer required his services as a company Secretary/Funeral Director and made him redundant on the very same day in February 1989 that his father-in-law died.
It was at that time that John made the fateful decision to persuade his friend and colleague Tony Mears to establish a new business; one that would grow by acquiring local Funeral Directors. The first of these purchases was A W Goddard of Fleet in 1989, a business that John’s family firm had serviced for many years. In that same year, John and Tony also partnered with G M Luff & Partners.
In 1989, they also renamed G M Luff & Partners of Aldershot ‘Ford Mears & Partners’; the same company that exists today. From that point forward John, Tony and their fellow directors have continued to grow the company to serve the local communities of the areas in which they operate.
Tony Mears left school at the tender age of fifteen in 1965 to join Frederick W Paine Funeral Directors in Kingston-Upon-Thames as a coffin maker; a job that involved him learning all the skills of the trade, including traditional polishing and fitting of coffins.
In 1967 Tony left Frederick W Paine to join Walter Lock & Sons in Ashford, Middlesex, where he added chauffeuring and bearing to the skills he’d learned with Frederik Paine. In 1970 Tony was promoted to the role of Manager at F Harrison & Son at Englefield Green, around the same time as he passed the NAFD Funeral Directors Diploma.
From 1973 to 1977, Tony went back to work for Frederick W Paine as Manager of their Chessington office, then left to become a freelance Funeral Director, working with a number of firms in the London area. Tony then moved to Windlesham and took up a senior position with E Finch & Sons of Aldershot.
In 1974 Tony met John Ford, who was the Company Secretary at the time, working at E Finch & Sons, the family business ran by John’s Uncle Hubert. Tony and John spent fourteen years working together at Finch’s up until the time that Hubert Finch made the surprise decision to sell the company to the Great Southern Group (GSG).
Shortly after the sale of Finch’s to GSG, Tony decided to join John, who had already left the GSG owned E Finch & Sons, on a new venture. John joined forces with G M Luff & Partners of Haslemere to purchase A & W Goddard of Fleet, then established Ford Mears & Partners by renaming G M Luff of Aldershot. Two weeks later Tony then joined the new company at the Aldershot office and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Simon was born in Aldershot and raised in Alton, Hampshire. He initially joined his father’s business in 2003 working part-time as a chauffeur/bearer whilst studying at college, then while studying Interior Architecture & Design at Leeds Metropolitan University. During this time Simon worked for Ford Mears during his holidays and continued after he graduated in 2007.
In 2011 Simon left Ford Mears to start a bespoke furniture design and manufacturing business that he had been developing since university. In 2016 Simon decided to close his furniture workshop, stepping away from the manufacture whilst retaining the active company. This enabled Simon to return to the family business and follow in his father’s footsteps. Since he has brought an injection of youth, an experience of new technologies from a younger generation’s mindset. With a notable impact in helping to continue the company with a forward thinking approach. Recognizing this the Board of Directors appointed Simon as Director in April 2019. He gracefully received the appointment and is looking forward to the prospects and opportunities for the future of the company.
Ford Mears est. 1989
In 1989, John Ford and Tony Mears established a partnership with G M Luff, forming the company known today as Ford Mears. Under the newly-formed partnership they started with G M Luff & Partners of Haslemere, Gould & Chapman of Grayshott and A W Goddard of Fleet. Then, to mark the change, G M Luff & Partners of Aldershot was re-named Ford Mears & Partners. In the same year the newly-formed company acquired A W Goddard of Fleet. The following year, they acquired Charles Read & Daughter of Alton.
In 1990, John’s wife Janet joined the company working at Charles Read & Daughters of Alton, in the same year a new Ford Mears office was opened in Frimley. The following year, Tony’s wife, Sian joined the company, working at A & W Goddard of Fleet, in 1997 they expanded further, acquiring Mullard Funerals of Godalming and Egham & Hythe Funeral Directors. In 1998, they acquired P Boast & Son of Chertsey, whilst also opening a new office in Farnborough.
In 2000 they added the four Holmes & Daughters offices to the business; Ashford, Feltham, Teddington and East Sheen. In 2001 a new Ford Mears office was opened in Knaphill.
In 2003 John’s son Simon joined the family business, and in 2013 Tony’s son Matthew joined. Both joined Ford Mears while still at College, then University. In 2017 Ford Mears & Partners was re-branded ‘Ford Mears’, with each of the local offices retaining their former names. The decision reflected the nature of the business which, while greatly expanded, maintains the unique personality of each of the local offices that make up the Ford Mears family.
Today, Ford Mears continues to provide a caring and professional service to the local communities in which it operates. Further investment in the various businesses it has acquired means that Ford Mears branches are able to offer a wider range of services and vehicle options, whilst still providing a personalised service that honours the legacy of the independent, family-run businesses it operates in partnership with.
1811 – Mullard Funerals of Godalming founded
1857 – E Finch & Son of Aldershot founded by John Ford’s great-great-Uncle
1896 – A & W Goddard of Fleet founded by Arthur and William Goddard
1897 – G M Luff of Haslemere founded by Thomas Marshall Luff
1904 – P Boast & Son founded by Peter Boast (Matthew Boast’s great-grandfather)
1941 – Gould & Chapman of Grayshott founded
1965 – Tony Mears joins Frederick W Paine of Kingston-upon-Thames (aged 15)
1967 – Tony Mears joins Walter Lock & Sons of Ashford
1972 – John Ford joins E Finch & Sons of Aldershot
1973 – Charles Read establishes Charles Read & Daughters of Alton (supported by E Finch & Sons)
1974 – Tony Mears joins E Finch & Sons of Aldershot (starts working with John Ford)
1986 – G M Luff & Partners of Haslemere was acquired
1987 – G M Luff & Partners acquired Gould & Chapman of Grayshott
1987 – G M Luff & Partners opened an office in Aldershot
1988 – E Finch & Son sold to the Great Southern Group
1989 – John Ford and Tony Mears partnered with G M Luff, forming G M Luff & Partners (the Company) as it is known today
1989 – The Company acquired A & W Goddard of Fleet
1989 – G M Luff & Partners of Aldershot was re-named Ford Mears & Partners
1990 – The Company acquired Charles Read & Daughter of Alton
1990 – Janet Ford (John’s wife) joined the Company
1990 – The Company opened a new office Ford Mears & Partners in Frimley
1990 – Evelyn Woodison and Ian Glazier opened Egham & Hythe Funeral Directors
1991 – Sian Mears (Tony’s wife) joined the Company
1992 – The Company of Godalming was opened
1993 – Brothers Andrew, David and later John Holmes established Holmes & Daughters of Ashford
1994 – Holmes & Daughters of Feltham was opened
1995 – Holmes & Daughters of Teddington was opened
1996 – Holmes & Daughters of East Sheen was opened
1997 – The Company acquired Mullard Funerals of Godalming (also incorporating A J Tracy Funerals of Elstead), then combining G M Luff & Partners of Godalming with Mullards Funerals under the Mullard Funerals name
1997 – Brian & Caroline Bentley established Brian Bentley Funerals Funeral Service of Crowthorne
1997 – The Company acquired Egham & Hythe. Founder Ian Glazier & Evelyn Woodison stayed with the business
1998 – The Company opened a new office Ford Mears & Partners in Farnborough
1998 – The Company acquired P Boast & Son of Chertsey from Peter Boast upon his retirement until his death. His Son Matthew has stayed with Ford Mears ever since
2000 – The Company acquired the four Holmes & Daughters offices. John Holmes joined the Board of Directors
2001 – The Company opened a new office Ford Mears & Partners in Knaphill
2003 – Michael Miller & Partners of Petersfield opened by Michael Miller with the support of his then partners
2003 – John’s son Simon Ford joined the Company whilst at college, then University
2003 – John Holmes decided to leave the funeral industry to commit more time to his other interests and pursue new ventures
2004 – Craig Miller (Michael’s son) joined Michael Miller & Partners
2007 – Ros Miller (Michael’s wife) joined Michael Miller & Partners
2007 – Roger Poat & Partners was founded by Roger Poat
2011 – Simon Ford left the company to start his own furniture design company
2013 – Tony’s son Matthew Mears joined the Company whilst at college, then University
2014 – The Company became partners of Michael Miller with Michael continuing as Managing Director
2016 – Simon Ford re-joined the Company
2016 – The Company opened a new office Michael Miller & Partners in Horndean/Clanfield
2017 – The Company opened a new office Ford Mears & Partners in Yateley
2019 – Simon Ford appointed Director
2020 – The Company acquired Michael Miller & Partners and Roger Poat & Partners
2021 – With great sadness Michael Miller passes away in January
2021 – Following the death of his father, Craig Miller decided to leave the company
2021 – The online FM shop for jewellery and urns is launched
2022 – Ros Miller decided to leave the company
2022- The Company acquired Brian Bentley Funerals Funeral Services of Crowthorne