A FUNERAL directors in Basingstoke has closed after serving the community for over 60 years.

Stowells Funeral Directors, in Worting Road, closed its doors on Thursday, November 23. The business was owned by the company Dignity Funerals, a funeral-related service provider in the UK.

The business, which was originally a taxi firm, started in the 1950s, adding a hearse to a fleet of courtesy cars which were subcontracted to undertakers. They later employed a cabinet maker to provide coffins for the business.

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The announcement for Stowells' closure was made on its website, saying: "This branch will be closing. Please contact us if you need assistance."

A spokesperson from Dignity said: “The way that people mourn is changing, as is the type of funeral they want and the services they require from an undertaker.

“The main change is that over the past 10 years, the more transient nature of families has resulted in a decreasing number of people spending time with the person that died in the Chapel of Rest. As with other business sectors, many families also now choose to communicate with us online rather than visit our premises.

“In addition, we introduced an initiative where mobile arrangers visit the bereaved in their own homes to organise the practical details of the funeral and this has been welcomed by our clients.

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“Simultaneously, we’ve also witnessed the growth in demand for direct cremation, or unattended funerals, where no service takes place at the crematorium and requires little or no arrangement by colleagues at a branch.

“We want to better serve the changing needs of the bereaved but need to adapt our business model to do so. We are assessing our branch network where we have two or more premises in close proximity.

“This will allow us to better share resources and invest in our most respected local trading names, so they provide all the requirements of a modern funeral.

“As far as practical, when we close a branch, our colleagues will be offered a similar role at another Dignity business. Whilst in this period of consultation with our employees we are not permitted by law to discuss any details with third parties, but we will communicate with clients as soon as we are able.”