Ford Mears - About Us

ABOUT US

SUCCESS THROUGH COMMITMENT

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 from South London and Middlesex to Surrey and Hampshire 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.

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THE DIRECTORS

John Ford

John Ford

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 Ford 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

Tony Mears

Tony Mears left school at the tender age of fifteen in 1965 to join Fredrik 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 Fredrik 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 Fredrik 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.

CONTACT US if you would like to find out more about our services or to discuss how we can help you with the funeral arrangements.


about_us

OFFICE HISTORY

PROFESSIONALISM AND EXPERIENCE

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 also acquired Charles Read & Daughter of Alton.

In 1990, John’s wife Janet joined the company working at Charles Read & Daughters of Alton, then opening a new Ford Mears office in Frimley. The following year, Tony’s wife Sian also joined the company, working at A & W Goddard of Fleet, and 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; in 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 also 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.

CONTACT US if you would like to find out more about our services or to discuss how we can help you with the funeral arrangements.

 

OFFICE STAFF

FORD MEARS ALDERSHOT


Ford Mears - Paul WarehamPaul Wareham
Office Manager

Born and raised in Haslemere, Paul joined G M Luff & Partners in Haslemere as a Chauffeur and Bearer in 2008. Paul went on to complete the Health & Hygiene course for the funeral industry in 2012. Soon afterwards, Paul took an office-based role at G M Luff & Partners where he learned funeral arranging and conducting skills.

In 2013 Paul took up a position at the Gould & Chapman branch in Grayshott as an Arranger and Conductor. Then in 2015 a position came available at Ford Mears & Partners in Aldershot as an Arranger and Conductor. Soon after this in 2016, Paul was promoted to Branch Manager for Ford Mears & Partners in Aldershot.

Kim Jenkins
Funeral Director

Kim was born in London and moved to Farnborough in Hampshire at the age of two, where she remained. Based at Ford Mears in Aldershot, Kim Joined the company in 2015 after working for the co-op for 14 years. Kim is involved in collection, arranging and conducting funerals. She started the funeral Diploma, had to put it in on hold due to family commitments.

FORD MEARS FARNBOROUGH


Steve Common
Office Manager

Steve was born in and still resides in Aldershot. He was in retail and management all his working life, and joined G M Luff & Partners at their Grayshott office in August 1994 as a Chauffeur and Bearer. He later moved into a management position at Grayshott in 1996, enrolled on a Diploma in Funeral Directing the same year and qualified in 1998.

The same year as qualifying, Steve moved to the Ford Mears branch at Farnborough as Manager, also working as General Manager of Hampshire Memorials Ltd, the memorial arm of the company, dealing with all inter-company memorial works, online or external enquries.

Ford Mears - Paul RowenPaul Rowen
Funeral Director

Paul’s first ever job, working as a Lifeguard, involved him protecting the public and on occasion he even saved lives. Later, as a Police Officer, he was often first on the scene at the event of a death and faced with the hard task of notifying loved ones.

Paul left the Hampshire Constabulary around 2005 and since then he’s put his training and the skills he learned throughout his career into delivering a professional, compassionate and friendly service, aimed towards helping people in their time of need by making the funeral arrangement process as easy as possible.

FORD MEARS FRIMLEY


Ford Mears - Steve AbbotSteve Abbot
Office Manager

Steve first started in the funeral industry in 1983 at the South West Middlesex Crematorium as a Chapel Attendant, carrying out general duties including preparing cremated remains to be scattered. From 1985 to 1997, he worked at Southall Funeral Directors as a Chauffeur, Bearer and Funeral Arranger, then from 1997 to 2001 he worked at J B Hall Funeral Directors as a Manager and Funeral Director.

From 2001 to 2010 Steve worked at George Parker & Sons as a Manager and Funeral Director, then from 2010 to 2012 at A &W Goddards as a Chauffeur, Bearer and Funeral Arranger. From 2012 to the present day, Steve works at Ford Mears as a Manager and Funeral Director.

Ford Mears - Simon FordSimon Ford
Funeral Director

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 workshop, return to the family business and follow in his father’s footsteps.

Ford Mears - Linda HornsbyLinda Hornsby
Funeral Arranger

Linda was born in Cheshire but lived around the UK before settling in Hampshire with her family. She has enjoyed a varied career throughout the years, generally in customer-facing roles, including Restaurant Manager (she has an HND in hospitality Management). After the breakdown of her marriage, Linda joined the Southern Co-operative Group in November 2007 as a Funeral Arranger, leaving in September 2015 to join Ford Mears.

Linda has an NAFD Diploma in Funeral Directing, alongside a Diploma in Funeral Arranging.

FORD MEARS KNAPHILL


Noreen MaddockNoreen Maddock
Office Manager

Noreen was born and raised in Southern Ireland and came to England in April 1969 at the age of 17. Noreen first joined the company in June 1994 working part-time as a Funeral Arranger. She started working full-time in July 2013, taking the position of Funeral Manager at Ford Mears in Knaphill, having retired from her role as Senior-in-Charge of a Residential Home where she worked for 27 years.

FORD MEARS YATELEY


Karen Richards

Karen Richards
Funeral Arranger

Karen looks after the company’s Egham & Hythe offices. Although she was born in Leeds she now lives in Farnborough. Karen joined the company in 2015, but has worked within the Funeral Industry since 2007 and has a BTEC qualification in Funeral Arranging and Administration. Prior to this, she devoted her life to raising her two, now grown-up, children.


Ford Mears - Our History

OUR HISTORY

A TIMELINE OF NOTEABLE EVENTS

FORD MEARS TIMELINE

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 Fredrik 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 & Tony Mears acquired A & W Goddard of Fleet
1989 – John Ford and Tony Mears partnered with G M Luff, forming the company as it is known today
1989 – G M Luff & Partners of Aldershot was re-named Ford Mears & Partners
1990 – Ford Mears acquired Charles Read & Daughter of Alton
1990 – Janet Ford (John’s wife) joined Ford Mears
1990 – Ford Mears opened a new office in Frimley
1990 – Evelyn Woodison and Ian Glazier opened Egham & Hythe Funeral Directors
1991 – Sian Mears (Tony’s wife) joined Ford Mears
1992 – G M Luff & Partners 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 – Ford Mears 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 – Ford Mears acquired Egham & Hythe. Founder Ian Glazier & Evelyn Woodison stayed with the business
1998– Ford Mears acquired P Boast & Son of Chertsey from Peter Boast upon his retirement. His Son Matthew has stayed with Ford Mears ever since
1998 – Ford Mears opened a new office in Farnborough
2000 – Ford Mears acquired the four Holmes & Daughters offices. John Holmes joined the Board of Directors
2001 – Ford Mears opened a new office in Knaphill
2003 – John’s son Simon Ford joined Ford Mears whilst at college, then University
2011 – Simon Ford left the company to start his own furniture design company
2013 – Tony’s son Matthew Mears joined Ford Mears whilst at college, then University
2016 – Simon Ford re-joined Ford Mears
2017 – Ford Mears opened a new office in Yateley

 

CONTACT US if you would like to find out more about our services or to discuss how we can help you with the funeral arrangements.