It began with a mission to help the bereaved
Funeral Zone began in the summer of 2012, a passion project by Exeter-based childhood friends Ed Gallois and Kevin Homeyard.
Ed and Kevin with friends, 1984
A friend of theirs had passed away that summer and they couldn’t believe how little help there was online for the bereaved. Any help there was lay scattered across dozens of obscure websites.
So they decided to do something about it. Working from home in the evenings, while juggling full-time jobs and family commitments, they began building a central online resource where the bereaved could get all the help they needed around the time of the funeral, in one convenient place.
The more research they did, the more they realised that the funeral profession also needed help. Here was a group of dedicated individuals, guiding people through the most difficult time of their life, but who were behind the times when it came to using the Internet to help the bereaved.
Knowing that they needed some industry-specific advice, Ed and Kevin went to visit their local funeral director Sillifant & Sons. Martin, the owner of the family firm, had looked after their grandmothers when they passed away, so they knew they were in safe hands.
Over a cup of tea and biscuits, the friends talked about their plans for Funeral Zone and told Martin they wanted to build online services to help the bereaved and the funeral profession. Martin agreed it seemed like a good idea and said he would provide feedback while the website was being built and would test the services when they went live.
Ed and Kevin with Martin Sillifant
Fast forward to the spring of 2013 and a beta version of the site was launched. Funeral Zone was born.
Within weeks of its soft launch, the founders knew Funeral Zone would be a valuable resource for the bereaved. People were coming to the website to read articles on how to arrange a funeral, others were choosing funeral directors from the site’s listing pages, and Martin was providing Funeral Zone’s free online obituary service for all of his clients, somewhat taken aback by the level of interest from the bereaved.
In the summer of 2013, Funeral Zone officially launched at the National Funeral Exhibition in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. Many funeral directors from all over the UK signed up to the website and the feedback from the bereaved was overwhelmingly positive.
Today, Funeral Zone is the leading funeral resource in the UK, recording over 5 million visits since its launch. The website offers many more innovative services, including independent reviews of funeral directors so the bereaved can make an informed choice at their time of need.
Funeral Zone now operates in Australia and South Africa, with plans to expand to other countries in the near future. The company is no longer Ed and Kevin but a dedicated and talented team of 12 others.
The benefits of Funeral Zone to the bereaved has been proven many times over, and the services currently being built will help bring together more people around the world to help the bereaved.
It's a story everyone at Funeral Zone is proud of and it started with two childhood friends from Devon believing that they could make a difference.
Progress so far …
Funeral director reviews