We've been so incredibly impressed with the wonderful NHS staff and volunteers that have been working the Lancing vaccination centre recently that on a boiling hot day last week we decided to surprise them all with a bag of goodies - snacks, drinks, biscuits and more!
As this pandemic continues we firmly believe that if we all pull together and support one another, then better days are on the horizon. All key workers deserve our thanks, and this was a small gesture to make some very special people feel appreciated.
In 2018 and 2019, we sponsored a local Sunday League football team which was run and managed by our Funeral Director, Henry.
We have just donated our old kit, approximately 25 shirts, to KitAid. This amazing charity recycles football kit and distributes it to underprivileged children and adults in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Here's a picture of Funeral Director Henry King laying our wreath at the Lancing War Memorial on Sunday 8th November 2020.
Remembering those that sacrificed their lives for our today, and those continuing to fight for our future.
We will remember them.
Our Funeral Director, Henry, is taking part in the Worthing 10k on Sunday 4th October 2020 in support of local hospice, St Barnabas.
The service St Barnabas Hospice provides is faultless and the level of emotional support they provide to grieving family members is second to none. We have been entrusted with the funeral arrangements for many people over the last three years who have unfortunately had to use their service, that is why Henry will be running in memory of those who have sadly passed away.
Those names include:
- Susan Hall
- Winifred Franklin
- Michael Green
- Giovanni Perretta
- Donald Hughes
- Frank Brownbridge
- Mark Brocklehurst
- Martin Johnson
- David Lee
- Michael King
- Winifred Bertrand
And many others who have used their services, whether it be respite care or Hospice at Home.
To donate to St Barnabas Hospice please click here.
8th May 2012 – my first day. I was based in Brighton and arrived at 08:20 to start for 08:30. I was greeted by a fellow Funeral Service Operative (FSO), ‘You’re late, boy’ were his words. Although the official start time was 08:30, we started at 07:30 to clean the vehicles consisting of a hearse, two limousines and three ambulances. Introductions were made with the other ‘lads’ and I was given a tour of the premises, finishing in the staff room and shown my locker where the nameplate ‘HENRY BIEBER’ was emblazoned. I knew I was in for a tough time with my mop-style haircut and swiftly took a trip to the barbershop, although ‘HENRY BIEBER’ remained for five years regardless of my hairstyle.
I didn’t expect to work for a funeral directors where six of the eight FSOs were under the age of 30. One thing I did notice was all of them had big bushy beards. Now, if you have met me, you will know my face is always clean shaven. That is not necessarily out of choice, though, I simply cannot grow facial hair. I would return to work after a week off, without shaving, thinking I’ve grown this impeccable goatee, only to be met with ‘it’s windy out there, Henry, it will blow away!’ or ‘Put a bit of milk on there and get the cat to lick it off’. I never attempted to grow a beard again.
I remember one day I was the hearse driver for a funeral in Brighton. On my return to the Hub I was informed by the manager that a member of the public had called the office stating they had witnessed ‘a young lad joy riding’ in the hearse. That ‘young lad joy riding’ was obviously me. A member of the public had honestly thought I had stolen the hearse and decided to cruise around the centre of Brighton.
There were often times people would make indirect comments about my youth. ‘Are you on work experience?’ was the most frequent. This did not bother me in the slightest. In fact, I felt it made families warm to me, a sort of ice-breaker. I would be attending a private address, the family would open the door expecting to see an ‘older’ (I use the word ‘older’ instead of elderly, it saves me getting a slap) funeral director but seeing a younger man (or boy) would take their mind off the grieving process for a short period of time. It is always a story I enjoy telling, even to this day. Now, I often get ‘Is it your father’s business that you have taken over?’ to which I reply, ‘I am Mr Henry George King of H G King Funeral Services’ and tell the story again.
From quite early on in my career, I knew I wanted to be a Funeral Director. The top hat, the tailcoat, the pocket watch. I could picture myself wearing the attire, walking in front of the hearse and making everyone stop and look. I also knew I wanted to be in control of making sure everything run smoothly on the day. A leader. When things do not go according to plan, using my initiative to problem-solve. There would often be a divide between Funeral Directors and FSOs. Us and them. Funeral Directors are superior. I knew I could gain the respect of the FSOs, being one myself, if I became a Funeral Director. I would not relinquish my car cleaning, on call or other FSO duties. I still wanted to be ‘one of the lads’. No matter how much I tried convincing the management to allow me to conduct a funeral, it would not happen.
I used to cover the Co-ordinator when they were on holiday. Organising the personnel for each funeral and collection and transferring of deceased for our 12 branches. I decided to put matters into my own hands and put myself down as the conductor for a funeral the following day. I did not ask or tell anyone; I knew management would deter me. ‘It’s too late’, I said, ‘I have already spoken with the family and clarified the arrangements with them’.
I conducted my first funeral on the 4th September 2015 at the age of 21.
I often say, ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. In my case, I asked and asked and asked and I simply did not get. Which leaves me to end this blog with the following quote by Jim Rohn:
‘If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.’
If I earned £1 for every time I heard that, I’d be a millionaire. Well, maybe not quite a millionaire, but enough to buy myself lunch at the Miller & Carter.
My name is Henry and I am the Funeral Director at H G King Funeral Services. I opened the business on the 4th September 2017 in Lancing West Sussex, at the youthful age of 23. Yes, that is correct, that is not a typo. I was 23 years old when I decided to open a 24hr service as a Funeral Director.
Let me rewind to where it all started.
I will be honest and admit that I never intended to work in the funeral industry. I dropped out of college at the age of 16 and was slowly becoming a couch potato, racking up game time on the latest PlayStation release. As a regular member of the Air Training Corps (ATC), my main interest was joining the Royal Air Force, but I was too young at the time. My father supplied coffin bearers for different funeral directors across Sussex and hauled me out the house to assist a funeral by carrying the coffin at Woodvale Crematorium Brighton. I was 16 when I donned my first striped masonic-style trousers.
I continued to travel around Sussex as my father’s front-seat passenger. His choice of transport: a red 1992 Nissan Micra. I enjoyed this period of my life. I felt liberated from the routine of school and spending time with my Dad was great. He was a man with a hard-working mentality, having been self-employed his whole life. I had great respect for him. Previously a car mechanic, he used to work all day and throughout the night to provide for his family. As a child, I remember waving him out the window as he left for the evening to repair alternators and starter motors in his workshop, returning home later in the morning to take me to school.
I turned 17 in April 2011 and immediately learnt to drive. I passed my test in the December and Dad bought my first car, knowing the sooner I had my own transport, the sooner he could send me off on my own. We bought a Rover 25 from my cousin, Ben, in royal blue and MG ZR wheels. I thought it was a gesture from Dad, but he was not stupid. I spent the first two months paying him back for the car and numerous repairs from neglecting it, which Dad often repaired himself.
One weekday in early March 2012, Dad instructed me to carry the coffin at a few funerals at Woodvale Crematorium Brighton. I would often be at the Crematorium for a few hours and read books in my car to pass the time. That same evening at home, Dad came into my bedroom and informed me that one of the funerals I assisted that day had the company’s co-ordinator in attendance. He told my Dad he was impressed with the way I spent my spare time reading and looked smart and presentable. That man’s name was Ian Mason. He explained his company were employing a full-time operative and if I was interested in having an interview. I was excited at the prospect of full-time work, with a salary and working within a team. I eagerly agreed to an interview and I was offered the job, starting my full-time career at a funeral directors on the 8th May 2012 – I had turned 18 just 18 days earlier.
I honestly believe in fate. What if Dad had asked someone else to assist on that funeral? What if Ian Mason was never in attendance?
I have great respect for Ian. He took a risk by employing a young 17-year-old. I certainly would not be in the position I am today and for that, I am forever grateful.
This short video was filmed at a funeral service for a much loved and well-respected Arundel resident, Robert Robertson. We organised for local piper Gary Anderson (The Sussex Bagpiper) to play through the High St.
Please watch the video here to hear from funeral director Henry King on the effects Coronavirus has had on the funeral industry and how some of our processes have changed. If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact us here.
We are continuing our support of Lancing Football Club, for the third successive season. Lancing FC have 7 senior teams, 11 youth teams and for the upcoming season, a brand-new disability team.
Our sponsorship helps provide new training and match day equipment throughout the Club. For more information, visit www.lancingfc.co.uk.
Best of luck for the season!
In an effort to consistently be supporting our local community & helping where we can we recently attended a Sunday Service at St Michael & All Angels Church, in Lancing, where we donated £250 towards a much needed new heating system.
During our visit Henry met The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, pictured left, and was honoured to hear that after our donation the church has engraved a plaque on site as a thank you.
We are passionate about our involvement in the local community & actively give back & support local churches, businesses & townsfolk wherever possible.