Nicholas O’Hara is an award winning, family owned and run funeral directors established nearly 40 years ago. Their success story is built on hard work and a caring ethos.
You received two awards in 2012, what do these mean to you?
In our industry, being a real family business is quite rare, so it was rewarding to be recognised in this capacity. For the third year running, we became Golden Charter’s Regional Funeral Planner of the Year, making us the first English company to achieve this. We were also honoured with the Blackmore Media title of Family Business of the Year.
Our main aim is to provide the highest level of customer service. We control all aspects of our business and work with each family to meet their expectations. We believe the awards reflect that as a family business, we can achieve this. It is the work we love and the awards are a bonus.
What changes have you seen in the industry over the last 10 years?
One of the biggest changes is in the personalisation of funerals including the choice of minister. Almost 50% of funerals today are not led by a traditional minister. Music, pictures and colour are other ways people choose to make a funeral a day of celebration, which is now one of the main aims. More people are choosing cremation over burial and this leads them into doing something meaningful with the cremated remains such as burial in a local cemetery or scattering at a favourite spot. New ways to remember loved ones include having the ashes made into jewellery or sent into the sky in a firework.
Your distinctive silver fleet was a brave move away from traditional black hearses. Are you pleased with the way they have been received?
When Nicholas chose to have a silver fleet many of our competitors thought it would be a failure, but the vehicles have become our identity. We are asked to conduct funerals from a wide area because people are impressed by our unique hearse and the limousines and want their loved one’s last journey to be carried out in style.
We also feel silver makes the day that bit lighter and we now dress our funeral staff in blue. More families than ever before want the day to primarily be a celebration of life and we feel black doesn’t reflect this. We will never go back to a black fleet as silver really works for us.
Do you have any advice on funeral plans?
Be wary when choosing a funeral plan. The only way to guarantee the funeral you want with the services of your funeral director, is to purchase the plan through them. Many plans advertised in newspapers are sold on behalf of large groups. This can mean your funeral is carried out miles away and you may not have the option to include your personal wishes.
When taking out our funeral plan, we guide you through every step making sure that your wishes are recorded so that your family can uphold them. We also guarantee to freeze the price of the funeral at today’s costs. Payment can be made by instalments, as a ‘whole of life’ plan or in one payment. If you move home, your plan can be transferred to your new area.
With three offices in the area, your success is evident. Do you have plans to expand further?
In the last few years, our Verwood and West Moors offices have doubled in size to incorporate more office space and extra chapels of rest. Plans are in motion for a large expansion of our head office at Wimborne. We want every part of what we do for families to be special and make them feel comfortable and know that their loved ones are being cared for in the best ways.
Contact Nicholas O’Hara:
Verwood 01202 824 961
Wimborne 01202 882 134
West Moors 01202 895 875