A letter for your reflection

Given by Christopher Adams.

I find it terribly hard to believe that it is now very nearly 40 years since my Father, Mr. Robert (‘Bob’) Adams and his then business Partner, the late Mr. David Aston, asked me if I would like to return to Bridgnorth and join the Family Undertaking business, ‘Perry and Philips Funeral Directors’, who, established in Bridgnorth in 1835, were originally ‘competitors’ of my Family, being purchased from the then Proprietor, the late Mr. Stuart McMichael, by my Father in 1967.

Born in Bridgnorth and very much an ‘old Bridgnorth Family’ (my Mother, ‘Sister’ Margaret Adams, was Maternity Night Sister at Bridgnorth Infirmary for many years, my late maternal Grandmother, ‘Nurse Massey’, will be well remembered by ‘old’ Families as District Nurse at Much Wenlock for many years, and ‘The Adams Family’, now the oldest Family in the Worfield Parish area, have lived here for many generations) I was never very keen on the Undertaking business as a teenager. I know my Father felt exactly the same way when he took over running the business in 1949 upon the death of his Father, Mr. Charles Adams, my Grandad. I had wandered through one or two different employment possibilities until 1979, when I ‘fulfilled my destiny’ and joined the Family business. At that time, we also purchased No. 4, Underhill Street (the old ‘M.E.B. showroom’, for £32,000 at a public auction at ‘The Falcon Hotel’ in St. John’s Street !!) as the base for the Company, which had previously been operated by my Father from 44, High Street (up the steps, over (then) ‘Elsie Greenhouse, Greengrocers’) and later from ‘Newmarket Buildings’ in Listley Street. However moving to No. 4 has allowed us to develop the property (even providing me with a home in those days, as I was given the flat ‘above’, where our Offices are now sited, as part of my salary, a home to which Katie was brought after her birth in 1984) but to provide facilities here that we had not had the opportunity to offer previously and to move the business forward. Bridgnorth was changing fast. Lots of new houses were being built. Lots of ‘new’ people were moving here from ‘away’ to settle and to bring their wider Families to and they demanded a very different standard of service. It was very important that we embraced these changes and we thank you, our Clients both old and new, for that initial motivation !!

As a little boy, coming into Bridgnorth with my late Grandma Adams on a Saturday (on the old No. 17 bus from ‘The Wheel’ at Worfield) it would take most of the morning for us to walk from ‘Goodridges’ (later ‘The Army and Navy’ store in West Castle Street) to the Town Hall. We knew nearly every Family. I would hear the same gossip repeated all the way up the High Street !! Today on a Saturday walk up the High Street, I recognise so very few people, even though the High Street is now so much busier than ever !!

Because we needed to embrace the changes that the general public wanted (and that doesn’t even start to include the unbelievable changes within ‘the funeral industry’ itself, the regulation, the standards, the services now provided and what now ‘is’ and ‘is NOT’ acceptable practice) we have invested heavily over the years in providing a modern and open service. Our policy today is that, if it is at all humanly possible, whatever the request from a Family, the answer from us is invariably ‘yes’.

I really don’t believe that the majority of the Client’s we have the great honour to serve realise the unbelievable privilege it is for us to be asked by them to take responsibility for someone that they love, that they care deeply about, that they have lost and that they need to say goodbye to. I cannot begin to imagine how many funeral services I have personally arranged over these years, but I am certain that I have never arranged 2 the same. Many, perhaps, very similar, but each set of arrangements is put together carefully by us, on behalf of each Client, to reflect the character and personality of the deceased, to reflect upon their strengths and positive attributes, their sense of humour, their lifetime achievements, who they were to their Families, to their friends, their neighbours, their colleagues, but to also reflect upon their flaws and weaknesses. Sometimes these points also need to be thought about. Sometimes we need to say ‘they could be difficult’, in order that we can let our loved ones go with love, with thanks, with dignity, with great thought. But, sometimes, we need to let them go with forgiveness. Sometimes we need to forgive them. Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves. But our aim and ambition here is that, afterwards, as the days turn into weeks, then months and then years, Clients can look back on that funeral service and think to themselves, ‘yes, we, the Family, got that right’. And that is NOT about money. It is about the emotion that is in our hearts and our minds as individuals. It is about our love, our loss and about a basic human need for ‘closure’, which is sometimes difficult to achieve. Each and every relationship on this Earth is unique. Totally. Consequently when we loose someone, our feelings, our emotions, our guilt and our anger. Unique to us. No-one else can really understand, however close, however caring.

Together with all the team here, I can honestly say that when I am ‘on-call’ (which, despite continued rumours of my retirement and which is totally not going to happen yet, sorry Katie and John !!) and the telephone goes at 3.00am in the morning, and it’s cold, and it’s wet, and it’s dark, I am just as passionate at going out to assist a Client in need now as I was in 1979, when I started my training in this industry. We are all passionate about trying to take as much of the worry and stress away from a Client as we possibly can, and of giving them the time, space, reassurance and sound advice to allow them to build that foundation that they can then use, to move forward from, away from the shock, disbelief and sadness of their bereavement and into a new life that is their’s and their’s alone.

We hope that you find this website constructive and helpful, all the information you require is here. Never forget, however, that we are only ever a telephone call away, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We will never forget what a wonderful privilege it is for us to be here for you. We never, ever, forget that and, no matter how many Client’s we are dealing with at any one time, there will never be anything more important than you.

I remain,

Yours most Sincerely,

Chris Adams.


Life as a Funeral Director

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