A JARROW man has realised a lifetime’s dream after becoming the boss of a South Tyneside funeral business.
Mark Cook harboured a desire to become a funeral director from his early days as a pupil at the former Springfield Comprehensive – later Jarrow School.
Now his dream has finally come true after taking over Tynedale Family Funeral Directors Ltd, based in Stanhope Road, South Shields, and Prince Consort Road, Hebburn.
Mr Cook, 44, a dad-of-two, said: “As I sat in front of the careers officer at my school, I was asked what I wanted to be when I left school.
“Without any hesitation, I replied ‘an undertaker,’ and how he laughed. He said, ‘If you cannot take this seriously, send in the next person.’
“That only made me more determined to carry out my dream career.
“I began in the funeral business in 1988, starting from chauffeur bearer to preparing coffins, then moving on to embalming, to become a funeral director.”
In February, Peter Kerrigan retired as boss of Tynedale Funeral Services and Mr Cook took over the business, where he had been employed for a number of years.
Mr Cook added: “I can remember sitting down with my wife, Diane, and saying Peter wanted to retire.
“After discussions with my wife and numerous phone calls, I asked Peter if he would be willing to sell the business to us. Thankfully, he agreed.”
The new-look firm employs several staff, and the couple’s main objectives are to grow the business, while maintaining the high standards of the previous company.
“Diane and I have been happily married for 18 years and have two beautiful children.
“We have had fantastic support and help behind the scenes to help fulfil our dream,” Mr Cook explained.
Director Mrs Cook, 42, said: “We are renovating both premises in South Shields and Hebburn, to bring them up to date, externally and internally.
“We are also bringing in a new coffin range and new products, while maintaining the constant care and attention we always provide.”
Contact Tynedale Family Funeral Directors on 455 0904.