A South Tyneside undertaking firm is expanding under new management, after securing an investment of £120,000 from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.
Tynedale Funeral Services was purchased by former manager Mark Cook and his wife Diana at the start of 2012 when founder Peter Kerrigan decided to retire.
In order to bring operations up to date, the Cooks secured the investment, which will now be used to improve facilities at the company’s South Shields and Hebburn offices, as well as the purchase of new vehicles and stock.
Mark Cook began training as a undertaker straight after leaving school, and has developed his career with a number of firms around the region over almost a quarter of a century.
He says: “When I told my school careers adviser that I wanted to be an undertaker, he didn’t take me at all seriously and sent me on my way, but I always knew it was the right industry for me and running my own firm is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I started work.
“Tynedale Funeral Services has established a strong reputation around South Tyneside, and we’re now building on that by bringing in the sorts of new products, services and vehicles that we know will maintain and improve the standards that have been built up here over almost two decades.
The money was administered by regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.
Commenting on the deal, Simon Johnson, senior investment executive at NEL Fund Managers added: “This is a slightly unusual deal for us, but the principles behind all the Growth Fund investments we’ve made are very much in evidence – an experienced management team with a strong industry track record and robust plans to take the company forward.”
Paul Duncan, partner at Haines Watts Corporate Finance in Newcastle, who advised Tynedale Funeral Services during the investment process, says: “We are very pleased for Mark and Diane - they have realised a long term ambition to own the business, and we look forward to advising them as they develop and expand it.”
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank, the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 and the regional development agency over the next five years.
NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five-year life span of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.