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Everyone in the team at Geoffrey T Sowman Funeral Directors in Blenheim features in the firm’s advertising because, manager Barry Hayman says, the service the firm provides relies on the qualities and professionalism of the people who work there. “We’re very proud of our people here and we want everyone to know how good they are,” Barry says.
Barry and his team enjoy speaking to groups, and say they welcome calls from local groups who would like him to come and talk to them about funerals and what is involved. Alternatively, he says, he is happy to show people around the chapel, reception area and viewing room at Sowmans’ premises on the corner of Hutchison and Parker Streets,. Blenheim.
“There are so many decisions to make when planning a funeral – where to have the funeral service, who should take the service, what music and readings to have, burial or cremation and where that should be, what flowers to have, and where to have the viewing. It helps to have an experienced professional on hand,” Barry says.
Once the choices are made, Sowmans’ funeral directors assist with all the necessary arrangements so the family can be sure everything will flow smoothly, they can also assist families wanting to pay for the funeral in advance.
As a member of the Funeral Directors’ Association of New Zealand professional body, Sowmans offer the FDANZ Funeral Trust bereavement plan which allows for payment by easy instalments from $20 a fortnight, or lump sum payments, which are exempt from asset testing for long-term residential care.
The FDANZ, which represents over 80% of New Zealand’s funeral firms, holds the funds in trust under a trust deed that requires all of the funds to be held by a registered bank.
“This means people can pay for the funeral now and relieve the family of the financial burden at what is usually a stressful time,” Barry says. “No health checks are needed and no personal questions are asked. Anyone of any age or health status can prearrange an FDANZ Funeral Trust funeral with Geoffrey T Sowman.
Geoffrey T Sowman Funeral Directors has served the Marlborough community for over 135 years. It was established in Blenheim in 1869 by Alfred Sowman. In 1930, his son Alfred was joined by Harold and Geoffrey and the business was renamed. Since then, Geoffrey’s sons Alistair, Philip and Terry have all had involvement in the business.
More recently, the firm took over a neighbouring monumental mason’s and remains the only monumental mason in Blenheim. The firm also has the town’s only cremation facility.
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