about_us

ABOUT US

PROFESSIONALISM AND EXPERIENCE

GOULD & CHAPMAN est. 1941

Gould & Chapman started in 1941 as cabinet makers and upholsterers who also carried out funerals. The family had two premises in Haslemere and Grayshott and in the 1980s used Ford Granada hearses.

In the late 1980s the business was acquired by G M Luff & Partners and moved to its present location at Avenue House, Headley Road, Grayshott where it continues to this day.

As part of the Ford Mears group, Gould & Chapman continues to provide a caring and professional service to the local community around Grayshott. Further investment in the business by Ford Mears has meant that Gould & Chapman is now able to offer a wider range of services and vehicle options, whilst still providing a personalised service that honours the legacy of Gould & Chapman’s independent, family-run business.

CONTACT US if you would like to find out more about our services or to discuss how we can help you with the funeral arrangements.

 

OFFICE STAFF

GOULD & CHAPMAN GRAYSHOTT


Julie Macleod
Office Manager

Julie joined the company in 2001 as an Administration Assistant at G M Luff & Partners, Haslemere. She started working with the administration side of the business. Julie then got involved in making funeral arrangements with clients and conducting funerals she’d arranged, providing support to families throughout the whole process.

In 2005 Julie had her second child, and returned to Luffs after maternity leave. When her family moved to Grayshott village she became Manager at Gould & Chapman, where she has remained since 2011.

Richard Wenman
Funeral Director

Richard started with the company around 1995 as a Chauffeur and Bearer. Just a few months later, he went on to conduct funerals. Moving around the company from Chauffeur and Bearer to Conductor enabled him to gather enormous experience over the years.

Richard has taken all this experience and applied it to arranging funerals, which he has been doing since 2015.


Ford Mears - About Us

FORD MEARS HISTORY

SUCCESS THROUGH COMMITMENT

Ford Mears can trace its industry heritage all the way back to the start of E Finch & Son in 1857 which was John Ford’s family business. G M Luff, founded in 1897 by Thomas Marshall Luff, was Ford Mears’ first acquisition in 1986, and served the local Haslemere community and its surrounding villages at a time of horse-drawn hearses. Building on our heritage, today we’re proud to provide a caring and professional service from South London and Middlesex to Surrey and Hampshire with our extensive fleet of modern Jaguar funeral vehicles. Since 1986, our Directors have grown the company by acquiring a number of fellow independent funeral directors. This has enabled us to grow our successful business, whilst still maintaining the personalised professional service provided to local communities by our predecessors and their families to the highest standards. Our success derives from the commitment of our Directors John Ford and Tony Mears, who grew the company from a single office back in 1986 to 18 offices today. John is the 4th generation of an independent family-run Funeral Directors, and Tony Mears joined the industry at the tender age of 15. John and Tony started working together in 1974, when Tony joined John’s family business, E Finch & Sons, and 14 years later they identified an opportunity to establish a larger independent business together.CONTACT US if you would like to find out more about our services or to discuss how we can help you with the funeral arrangements.

THE DIRECTORS

John Ford

John Ford

Ford Mears Directors John Ford and Tony Mears met when they both worked at John’s uncle Hubert’s business, E Finch & Son in Aldershot. Hubert was the third generation of the family run business, and indeed it was John’s uncle Hubert who first tried to persuade John’s father Harry to let him join the family business. Harry initially had reservations, but eventually Hubert managed to persuade him that working for the family business would offer good career prospects for the young man.

Though it would mean starting off with everyday tasks like company accounts and administration, the company had plans to introduce overseas funerals alongside repatriation to and from the UK, prospects that made the role attractive to an ambitious young man. So in 1972, John Ford decided to join E Finch & Son in Aldershot, marking the start of his career in the funeral business.

As Hubert’s daughter Pauline also worked at E Finch & Son, both John and Pauline intimated that they would eventually continue the business. It therefore came as a great surprise to everyone when Hubert decided to sell the business to the Great Southern Group (GSG) in 1988.

Then, just nine months later, GSG made a shock announcement. They informed John that they no longer required his services as a company Secretary/Funeral Director and made him redundant on the very same day in February 1989 that his father-in-law died.

It was at that time that John made the fateful decision to persuade his friend and colleague Tony Mears to establish a new business; one that would grow by acquiring local Funeral Directors. The first of these purchases was A W Goddard of Fleet in 1989, a business that John’s family firm had serviced for many years. In that same year, John and Tony also partnered with G M Luff & Partners.

In 1989, they also renamed G M Luff & Partners of Aldershot ‘Ford Mears & Partners’; the same company that exists today. From that point forward John, Tony and their fellow directors have continued to grow the company to serve the local communities of the areas in which they operate.

Tony Mears

Tony Mears

Tony Mears left school at the tender age of fifteen in 1965 to join Fredrik Paine Funeral Directors in Kingston-Upon-Thames as a coffin maker; a job that involved him learning all the skills of the trade, including traditional polishing and fitting of coffins.

In 1967 Tony left Fredrik Paine to join Walter Lock & Sons in Ashford, Middlesex, where he added chauffeuring and bearing to the skills he’d learned with Frederik Paine. In 1970 Tony was promoted to the role of Manager at F Harrison & Son at Englefield Green, around the same time as he passed the NAFD Funeral Directors Diploma.

From 1973 to 1977, Tony went back to work for Fredrik Paine as Manager of their Chessington office, then left to become a freelance Funeral Director, working with a number of firms in the London area. Tony then moved to Windlesham and took up a senior position with E Finch & Sons of Aldershot.

In 1974 Tony met John Ford, who was the Company Secretary at the time, working at E Finch & Sons, the family business ran by John’s uncle Hubert. Tony and John spent fourteen years working together at Finch’s up until the time that Hubert Finch made the surprise decision to sell the company to the Great Southern Group (GSG).

Shortly after the sale of Finch’s to GSG, Tony decided to join John, who had already left the GSG owned E Finch & Sons, on a new venture. John joined forces with G M Luff & Partners of Haslemere to purchase A & W Goddard of Fleet, then established Ford Mears & Partners by renaming G M Luff of Aldershot. Two weeks later Tony then joined the new company at the Aldershot office and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

CONTACT US if you would like to find out more about our services or to discuss how we can help you with the funeral arrangements.

 


Ford Mears - Our History

FORD MEARS TIMELINE

A LIST OF NOTEABLE EVENTS

FORD MEARS TIMELINE

1811 – Mullard Funerals of Godalming founded
1857 – E Finch & Son of Aldershot founded by John Ford’s great-great-uncle
1896 – A & W Goddard of Fleet founded by Arthur and William Goddard
1897 – G M Luff of Haslemere founded by Thomas Marshall Luff
1904 – P Boast & Son founded by Peter Boast (Matthew Boast’s great-grandfather)
1941 – Gould & Chapman of Grayshott founded
1965 – Tony Mears joins Fredrik Paine of Kingston-upon-Thames (aged 15)
1967 – Tony Mears joins Walter Lock & Sons of Ashford
1972 – John Ford joins E Finch & Sons of Aldershot
1973 – Charles Read establishes Charles Read & Daughters of Alton (supported by E Finch & Sons)
1974 – Tony Mears joins E Finch & Sons of Aldershot (starts working with John Ford)
1986 – G M Luff & Partners of Haslemere was acquired
1987 – G M Luff & Partners acquired Gould & Chapman of Grayshott
1987 – G M Luff & Partners opened an office in Aldershot
1988 – E Finch & Son sold to the Great Southern Group
1989 – John Ford & Tony Mears acquired A & W Goddard of Fleet
1989 – John Ford and Tony Mears partnered with G M Luff, forming the company as it is known today
1989 – G M Luff & Partners of Aldershot was re-named Ford Mears & Partners
1990 – Ford Mears acquired Charles Read & Daughter of Alton
1990 – Janet Ford (John’s wife) joined Ford Mears
1990 – Ford Mears opened a new office in Frimley
1990 – Evelyn Woodison and Ian Glazier opened Egham & Hythe Funeral Directors
1991 – Sian Mears (Tony’s wife) joined Ford Mears
1992 – G M Luff & Partners of Godalming was opened
1993 – Brothers Andrew, David and later John Holmes established Holmes & Daughters of Ashford
1994 – Holmes & Daughters of Feltham was opened
1995 – Holmes & Daughters of Teddington was opened
1996 – Holmes & Daughters of East Sheen was opened
1997 – Ford Mears acquired Mullard Funerals of Godalming (also incorporating A J Tracy Funerals of Elstead), then combining G M Luff & Partners of Godalming with Mullards Funerals under the Mullard Funerals name
1997 – Ford Mears acquired Egham & Hythe. Founder Ian Glazier & Evelyn Woodison stayed with the business
1998– Ford Mears acquired P Boast & Son of Chertsey from Peter Boast upon his retirement. His Son Matthew has stayed with Ford Mears ever since
1998 – Ford Mears opened a new office in Farnborough
2000 – Ford Mears acquired the four Holmes & Daughters offices. John Holmes joined the Board of Directors
2001 – Ford Mears opened a new office in Knaphill
2003 – John’s son Simon Ford joined Ford Mears whilst at college, then University
2011 – Simon Ford left the company to start his own furniture design company
2013 – Tony’s son Matthew Mears joined Ford Mears whilst at college, then University
2016 – Simon Ford re-joined Ford Mears
2017 – Ford Mears opened a new office in Yateley

 

CONTACT US if you would like to find out more about our services or to discuss how we can help you with the funeral arrangements.