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Norman McBriar & Son funeral directors usher in new era

Norman McBriar & Son, the Saintfield-based independent funeral directors, has significantly expanded its business following an almost half-million-pound investment in new premises supported by Ulster Bank. 

Established more than 20 years ago by Norman McBriar, the family-run business provides funeral services including coordinating ceremony arrangements, registrations, funeral planning, headstones, memorials and more. 

Previously based on Main Street, in Saintfield, the investment by Ulster Bank sees the business relocate to new, larger premises in the village and introduce new facilities to provide a more comprehensive service for the bereaved. 

The new, larger premises located at 37 Saintfield Mill, Saintfield, offer improved facilities to accommodate the increase in business the company is experiencing. 

As part of the Ulster Bank-backed investment, the independent funeral director has added four family viewing rooms and a non-denominational service room for private memorials at its new premises. 

A family affair, Norman’s son, Mark McBriar, now a Funeral Director himself and partner in the business, joined his father six years ago. Daughter Donna Spiers joined the business two years ago and has since qualified as a Funeral Director through the Irish Association of Funeral Directors. 

Mark said the investment and support from Ulster Bank was important to help the family business continue to grow. 

“Having been established now for almost two decades, the business is at a stage where it requires more fitting and substantial premises to continue to grow,” he explained. “We previously operated from a funeral parlour with only one viewing room, but thanks to the financial backing of Ulster Bank we’ve expanded into larger premises that accommodate four viewing rooms. 

“Fewer people are opting for church services. In response to this we’ve also introduced a dedicated service room for families without church connections. Here, family, friends and mourners can gather for a private, non-denominational memorial service or family-only committal.” 

Mark explained the importance of the service funeral directors provide to the communities they operate in. 

“Ours is an important service for the local community and a very rewarding job. It’s a swift process from the date a loved one passes away to the date of their burial with a lot of organisation in between. We pride ourselves on bearing that load for the family, making the process as simple as possible during what is a difficult time. This level of family support, backed up by word-of-mouth recommendations, is one of the biggest drivers for our business.” 

Derick Wilson, Business Development Manager at Ulster Bank, said: “We’re proud to support Norman McBriar & Son to usher in a new era for their family business. The purchase and renovation of these new premises will provide the business with the infrastructure it needs to build upon a successful two decades in the local community. 

“As an independent family business with customer service at its core, the investment will ensure the business is well positioned to grow and build upon its quality reputation.”