The new AE Jolliffe & Son Ceremony Room in the centre of Ferndown has been officially opened by Sir Christopher Chope OBE MP.
Huge investment has led to the creation of a state-of-the-art facility which not only offers families a place for personal and poignant funeral services, but also to serve as a venue available to community groups.
The business is part of Douch Family Funeral Directors which oversaw the programme of development. Sir Christopher praised the company for its recent family business award and said he had attended the funeral of a friend at the new premises.
He said: “This is a great investment for Ferndown. It will benefit the whole community and I know the family has its fifth generation coming up in the business. It is a great pleasure to be asked to officially open what is a great asset for the town.”
Sir Christopher unveiled a plaque in the new Sheila Kendrick Ceremony Suite, which is named after the daughter of Bert Jolliffe who set up the business before the Douch family took it over.
The suite has an attached catering area making it ideal for hosting wakes following funeral services. The 1930s house on the site has been extended to provide reception area, offices meeting rooms and five chapels of rest which were blessed during the opening by representatives of local churches.
A serene garden space has been planted which provides a gentle atmosphere for reflection when people visit. Buildings for the other parts of the business have been added along with parking spaces for visitors and the business’s funeral fleet.
Nick Douch, managing director of the company, said:
“While the new facility has been operational for some time, it has now had its official opening. Our chapels of rest were blessed by Rev Patches Chabala and Fr Anthony Achunonu, with numerous other clergymen attending."
“We had a presentation in the new ceremony room before Sir Christopher Chope unveiled the plaque. And we were pleased that Krissy Stamp, Mayoress of Ferndown, was able to attend."
“We had many other official guests including representatives from DMW Architects and Greendale Construction, who designed and built the premises."
“Our commitment to the community we serve is something we take seriously and we want local people to use what we have created. We have a rolling programme of updating or rebuilding all our seven branches across Dorset.”