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Funeral family business stays true to its roots

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“He works in a different part of the building,” Maguire says. “I don’t work with him very often, probably because we’re very alike in nature!”

Maguire started the business in 1982. It has expanded from one small office on the south side of Glasgow to now operate from seven locations, and Maguire has plans to grow the company further. "I’m 55 and have no intention of taking it easy," he says.

The majority of funeral homes in the UK are family businesses. “Because funerals are so personal, lots of people like personal attention," Maguire says. "I think sometimes people feel by dealing with a private family business, they’re getting a more bespoke or individual service.”

However, there has been a degree of consolidation in the industry during the past ten years; many smaller family firms have been bought by larger groups. Anderson Maguire has taken over two businesses and Maguire says he’s open to the possibility of more acquisitions.

Another change from a decade ago, Maguire notes, has been the increase of non-religious funerals. More people are opting for ceremonies that “best reflect the personality of the deceased and something of the flavour of their lifestyle”.

He adds: “Often they have very personal choices in music or perhaps a reading from a book or a piece of poetry. In one recent case, the family came forward with the runners and riders from the 3:30pm race at Ascot as that was an abiding passion of the deceased.”

Maguire says the funeral of Princess Diana had a big impact in this respect: “That was a signal moment when people realised that you don’t necessarily have to have hymns or sacred music. You can have popular pieces of music; something that’s relevant.”

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