Peterlee-based family funeral business celebrates 50 years serving community as it looks to the future

A family-run funeral firm is celebrating 50 years in business after first opening in 1971.

Sunday, 7th November 2021, 10:33 am

East Durham Funeral Service, owned by Phillip Maddison was originally opened in Horden, County Durham, by Phillips Father-in-Law, Barrie Lee and over 50 years has expanded to Easington, Trimdon, Wingate, with their head office housed in Peterlee.

Having worked in the company since 1982, Philip has since brought in his son, Tom and daughter, Ellen to help run the company, making it a real family-run business.

The company, which has grown considerably over the years, now employs seven staff and worked tirelessly during the pandemic.

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Left to right – Tom, Philip & Ellen Maddison.

The milestone achievement of 50 years is a big moment for the family, according to Phillip.

He said: “I started as assistant funeral director, but as the business grew, my father-in-law asked me if I’d like to join as a partner, instead of an employee. I jumped at the chance and then, in 2003 when he retired, I took over completely. We then opened four further branches, and, as they say, the rest is history.

“We’ve also invested heavily in silver Jaguar limousines to convey our clients around in elegance as well as just completing an extensive refurbishment to our head office Peterlee branch.

"Part of the refurbishment has been to add a state-of-the-art mortuary, which proves that our endeavours to lead the way in forward-thinking funeral services, is on course.”

During lockdown and the pandemic, the business was classed as an essential service, meaning the team had to ensure that every precaution was in place to guarantee their clients safety, as well as that of their employees, whilst carrying out the vital and necessary service, in sometimes very difficult and trying circumstances.

The company has also put in a series of special deals for clients using their services as a thank you for their continued support, in their pre-paid funeral plans and to mark the 50th anniversary have completed extensive refurbishments and added new vehicles to add to their fleet.

Philip added: “We’re extremely proud of what we have achieved in the last 50 years and long may it continue as a family-run business.”

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