A FUNERAL director has marked 25 years in the profession - and thanks her customers for their support. 

Debbie Collins Independent Funeral Director, in Folly Farm, Kingsclere Road, was set up by Debbie Collins, who has lived in Basingstoke since she was five years old. 

She started her career at Stowells Funeral Directors in Basingstoke in 1999 as an admin assistant and worked her way up to branch manager, before she left to open her own business when the company sold out to a large group. 

Debbie said: "My vision was for my chapel of rest to be a tranquil place, for people to come and feel at home in a relaxed atmosphere, when entrusting their loved one into my care. Folly Farm is that perfect place surrounded by fields bird song and wildlife, I never tire of this when sitting in my office." 

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Basingstoke Gazette: Debbie Collins, a funeral director in Basingstoke

The business has gone from strength to strength, as Debbie has helped thousands of families across Basingstoke, many of them leaving good reviews online. 

One of the driving factors in Debbie's success was her determination to break through barriers associated with gender. 

She said: "Being a woman in a male dominated business inspired me to strive succeed and deliver also to maintain the high standards we as a business pride ourselves in, our reputation has been built on this." 

Her service is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and she takes great pride in personally helping her customers in their time of grief. 

She said: "In those moments, a calm caring voice is what needs to be heard at the end of a phone - whatever the time of day."

Debbie said she believes her business has stood the test of time due to their bespoke nature and dedicated customer service. 

She said: "It's always being able to provide the funeral that is fitting to a loved one. Funerals are arranged to suit all needs with dedication, understanding and empathy, attention to detail and commitment. 

"I always feel honoured and privileged that many families I have cared for now count me as a friend, hence the kettle for is always on for many an informal visit. 

"We are family run; my team is an extension of this family who have the same dedication and care as I do, whom I couldn’t have come this far without them." 

Debbie Collins Independent Funeral Director is a member of the National Society of Allied Funeral Directors, which gives reassurance of her company’s standards.

Debbie said most of all she wanted to thank her customers for their support so far.

She said: "It has been an honour and a privilege, and we will continue to do what we do best."