A lovely article in the Argus today 01/11/2016
ONE of the oldest established businesses in Sussex is celebrating its 110th anniversary in 2016.
There has been five generations at the helm of Bungard Funeral Directors, who are based in Sackville Road, Hove.
And current MD Richard Whittle is hoping there may be a sixth in the future with his son being born earlier this year.
Richard said: “We are very proud of our company, of what we have achieved over the years and what we continue to offer the community.
“We may be 110 years old this year but we certainly aim to continue for many years to come.”
It all began in April 1906 when Oliver Bungard, a monumental mason, conducted the first funeral for the company..
His two eldest sons, James Oliver and Ernest, joined the firm on leaving school and when their father died in 1919 they carried on as partners until Ernest died in 1928.
Ernest’s place was taken by younger brother and youngest son of James Oliver, Hervey Arnold, in 1922.
In 1930 they employed their brother-in-law William Wilmer who worked for the firm for the next 30 years.
James Oliver died in 1941 at which point the business was run under the direction of Hervey until his retirement in 1971.
In 1939 Leonard Whittle – who married one of James Oliver’s twin daughters, Margaret – joined the firm.
During the war Margaret took Leonard’s place in the business.
Rupert Hervey Bungard, Hervey Arnold’s son, joined the firm in 1970 and became a director of the firm in 1971. Rupert retired in 2000 after 30 years at the family firm.
The current director team was established when James Whittle joined in 1968 and became Joint Managing Director with Rupert when Leonard Whittle.
James retired after 44 years with the company in 2012 and handed the reins over to his youngest son Richard as the fifth generation of the Bungard family lineage to join in 2011.
Richard says he has joined at a particularly exciting time for the business.
He said: “My key challenge is to ensure that the business and also importantly Bungard Funeral Directors location meets modern customer needs but preserves the history and tradition of the property and the family.
“In the early years of the business a Chapel of Rest was not required as families usually laid their deceased at home.
“As this tradition changes the need for a chapel became apparent and therefore renovation took place to include a chapel.
“Since I joined the entire shop front and chapel have been updated with a modern clean look and soon the shop signage will reflect the new modern branding that has also been introduced with our new website.”
Bungard Funeral Directors has worked with the local community for five generations, two world wars and over 100 years and remains committed to helping local families, charities and businesses to the best of their ability.
Richard and his wife Amie welcomed a possible sixth generation this year with the birth of their son Luke in May.
Richard hopes that one day his son will be inspired to carry on the family business one day.
He said: “We are 110 years old, we are still the original family and we believe in serving the community in the best possible way we can.”