Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors has now been open in Crawley for ten years! The team celebrated with an event last weekend – read more about it here
Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors was first established in Horsham, West Sussex in 1855. Now, with branches also in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint, the company has been proud to serve communities across Sussex and Surrey for over 160 years. In addition to the regular provision of funeral services, the company supports the local community in a variety of ways, from supplying raffle prizes and printed materials, to giving talks on the funeral industry and running events in order to encourage members of the public to discuss their funeral wishes.
Throughout 2019, the team at Freeman Brothers have been preparing for the tenth anniversary of their Crawley branch. This has involved a variety of activities: from running a special version of their popular Big Deal, Small Talk event as a wine and cheese evening during Dying Matters Awareness Week in May, to sponsoring the St Catherine’s Hospice Heart to HeART Art Trail. Representatives from the company have spoken to a group at The Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre based at Crawley Hospital, and donated funds to Crawley Open House, thanks to receiving a donation courtesy of Horsham Rotary Club following a presentation delivered in September.
With the official anniversary of the branch’s opening taking place on 16 November, the team pushed the boat out in order to help rapidly-growing local charity Giving Back Crawley. Funeral Support Assistant Jen Bolt explains all about the planning and delivery of the event.
Birthdays are a time for celebration. As children, many of us eagerly anticipated a day when the world positively span around us and we’d be showered in gifts, cake and love from our friends and family. As we get older, however, the attraction of these fancies and fripperies fades, and a birthday takes on a more significant meaning. It becomes a mark of time spent, of successes and failures, of achievements and loss.
Here at Freeman Brothers Crawley, this month marks our branch’s 10th birthday, which has provided similar food for thought. It’s not only a perfect chance for us to look back and mark all that we have achieved, but also to be thankful for the support we’ve received – and continue to receive – from the people of Crawley. As such, when asked how we would like to celebrate such a great milestone, we were keen to do something which would repay our community. To that end, on Saturday 16th November, our staff and members of their families turned out in force to provide and serve a birthday feast for homeless people in Crawley, in association with local charity, Giving Back Crawley.
Founded in May 2017, the concept for Giving Back Crawley began when charity member, Sajid Khan, announced his intention to provide free drinks and snacks to the community. In the wake of the Manchester terror attacks, the idea was to ‘make people feel better’ by promoting a little care and kindness. Khan called on the support of the people of Crawley to make it a weekly event – and the response was resounding.
In just over two short years, the charity – which is run entirely by volunteers and supported by local businesses in Crawley – has grown to a 40-strong team who support rough sleepers as well as the hidden homeless and those in temporary accommodation. Guests are provided with a daily hot or cold meal and essential items, including clothing, bedding and health products. Perhaps even more vitally, the charity helps to reduce social isolation by talking with guests, offering advice, information and other necessary services.
Our Crawley branch Mortuary Technician and Funeral Arranger, Vicky, who is regularly involved with the charity’s work, dauntlessly took the lead on the project. She applied her knowledge and experience to devise a rib-sticking festive menu featuring a roast with all the trimmings followed by a choice of seasonal puddings. Vicky also took responsibility for sourcing all the ingredients and doing the lion’s-share of the cooking (aided by colleagues). Guests were invited to replenish their plates as often as they wished and, with such a delicious feast on offer, plates were cleared with vigour with smiles all round. No birthday is complete without a cake and local bakers, Putty Cakes, did not disappoint, providing a delicious number 10 cake that was big enough to serve everyone, and then some!
In addition to this very worthwhile event, Crawley branch also celebrated with an exclusive ticket competition, with one lucky entrant walking away with four tickets to a West End show of their choice. Unfortunately, entry to the competition has now closed but the winner will be announced shortly.
Furthermore, to round off our anniversary year as we mean to go on, Crawley branch will be continuing to accept donations of tinned goods, as well good-quality winter clothing, on behalf of Giving Back Crawley and other homeless charities. If you have anything you’d like to contribute, please pop into our branch on Brighton Road and one of our team will be very happy to assist you. We are open from 8am-5pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9am-1pm on Saturdays. The charity’s own website (www.givingbackcrawley.org) offers a regularly-updated list of items that are currently in short supply.
We are very proud and honoured, at Freeman Brothers, to be able to serve our local communities and support local charities, and are always looking for new opportunities to help. Next year promises to be very busy for us as we plan to mark the firm’s 165th anniversary by completing 165 fundraisers – one for every year we’ve been in business. Watch this space, in the coming months, for further details of what we have planned and how you can get involved. Similarly, if you have any ideas for how Crawley branch can help to get to us 165, please get in touch via telephone or email, or drop in and speak to us.
Happy birthday, Holly Lodge – here’s to the next ten years of serving Sussex and Surrey!
As Jen mentioned, for Freeman Brothers, the work doesn’t stop here. During 2020, the company marks 165 years in business, and the team have big plans. ‘We’ve set the ambitious target of doing 165 things for charity and community next year, one for each year in business!’ Becky revealed. ‘It’s a huge project, but one which allows us to make a significant difference, so we’re looking forward to it.’
Peter Freeman, the current proprietor of Freeman Brothers and fifth generation of the Freeman family to fulfil the role, is also pleased to see the company reach two significant occasions. ‘I doubt when he set the company up that my great-great grandfather Bede Freeman expected it to trade for fifty years, never mind 165 years,’ Peter commented. ‘At a time when many new businesses struggle, it’s an even greater achievement, and I’m glad that the team are planning to mark it appropriately.’
To follow the campaign as it continues, you can find Freeman Brothers on Twitter via @FBSussex and follow their hashtag – #165for165. If you would like the company to consider supporting your group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Tel: 01403 254590
If you have an urgent query, please call 01403 254590. This number is answered by one our staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the quickest way to reach us.
Tel: 01403 785133
25 & 27 Brighton Road
Tel: 01293 540000
126 High Street
Tel: 01273 831497