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Managing Director

Stewart couldn’t wait to join his dad, Derick in the family business Midland Funeral Supplies Limited.

As soon as he left Handsworth Grammar School in 1981, he started as a bench hand on the shop floor and soon worked his way up to Foreman and on to General Manager. In 1989 Stewart was rewarded for all his hard work and was made a Director and in 1994 Derick retired and Stewart took over as Managing Director.

Very exciting times lay ahead as Stewart started to really focus on growing the family business through new start-ups and by acquisitions.

In 2001, Stewart and a shared connection Brian Reid, having become good friends, decided to start up in business together. Brian Reid & Son was established and the extensive knowledge they shared was to become a winning formula, successfully delivering top quality handcrafted coffins and caskets across Scotland and the north of England.

In 2002, again through shared friendships, Stewart acquired L T & R Vowles Ltd, one of the oldest and most well-known of all coffin manufacturers in the UK. Established in 1937, L T & R Vowles Limited is widely recognised as one of the major suppliers to the funeral profession with considerable knowledge and expertise of the fine hardwood timbers and veneers used in traditional coffins and caskets along with alternative ecological, contemporary, and bespoke coffins.

2005 saw another acquisition, this time F E Harris Limited. Established in Plymouth in 1920 by Frederick Edgar Harris as a firm selling Builders Hardware, with a side line in Coffin Furniture, and covering Devon and Cornwall. The MD at the time, Charles Cleghorn, a ‘legend’ of the funeral industry stayed and worked with Stewart for 16 years before finally retiring. Once again this was a winning combination of shared knowledge.

From around this time the beginnings of the Jukes Group was formulating in Stewart’s mind. In 2009 at the National Funeral Exhibition Stewart exhibited with Midland Funeral Supplies, Brian Reid and Son, L T & R Vowles and F E Harris along with members from each team.

It was at the exhibition Stewart met Tony Warburton’s son James for the first time but both totally unaware that four years on Stewart would become the new owner of Tony’s old business Beverley Veneers Limited. Like a missing piece from a jigsaw this secured the supply chain for Jukes Group, enabling it to produce its own coffin sets which are easily transportable to the different factory locations.

2021 and in the middle of the Covid pandemic there was to be further expansion within the Jukes Group. DFS Caskets in Annan, Scotland came on board. Since 1981, continual policies of innovation and improvement are the ingredients for a recipe which has materialised in ‘probably the best made coffins in the UK’.

Now, as one of Britain’s largest suppliers to the funeral industry, the Jukes Group continues to grow organically with Stewart and his wife Kath encouraging and overseeing all aspects of the businesses whilst also being fully supportive of their three daughters, Sophie, Jemma, and Pip. Sophie a qualified funeral director (parts 1 and 2 NAFD diploma), currently running three funeral homes, Jemma a qualified florist creating beautiful bespoke funeral floristry and Pip fully supporting her sisters with order processing and promotional publicity along with publicity for the Jukes Group.

Address: 26a, Tamworth Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6JJ