About Us - The people
Mac Jones - Consultant
Now in his eighties Mac continues to take an interest in a profession that he joined at age 16 just after the war. Qualified originally as a joiner Mac worked as a coffin maker and later became (in 1960) an early member of the British Institute of Embalmers. He was a branch manager for John Nodes and Sons in London before moving to Sevenoaks in 1966 as the funeral director at Youngs department store. With their sale to UDS Mac joined Francis Chappell & Sons and rose to become Southern Area Manager with their eventual parent company Great Southern Limited. Mac retired with ill-health in the early 1990s but manages a consultancy role for us.
Simon Welham – Managing Director
I am a banker by profession who, by some strange quirk of fate, found myself managing Welham Jones following my early retirement in 2003 and have discovered that most rewarding of all in my career change has been the opportunity to serve people at a difficult time in their lives. Furthermore, many of the business management skills gained earlier in my career have fortunately also proven relevant and beneficial.
Married to Sandra since 1983 and with two wonderful daughters, Rebecca (now also working in the business) and Sarah (a trainee accountant), I have long believed in community service. I joined Rotary in 1992 and have served my club (Sevenoaks Amherst) as President, Treasurer and chair of Fundraising and Club Service.
My interests, when time permits, include photography, cycling, DIY and aviation. I hold a PPL/IR.
Rebecca Welham – Funeral Director & Business Development Manager
I joined the family business in November 2010 after a short career in Design and Marketing. My role covers two areas, funeral arranging and business development, and there is immense satisfaction in dealing with and looking after families in their time of need. I have also built on our relationships with local businesses, nursing homes and the clergy as well as trying to promote the company and the family name. I attained a BA at the University College of the Creative Arts in 2003 and am currently taking degree in Funeral Services at The University of Bath, which I know will give me a better understanding of the funeral industry, its origins and its history, which will in turn enable me to better offer advice to our clients.
In my spare time I enjoy painting, travelling, reading and visiting friends. I also collect money for the Royal British Legion each year – perhaps you’ve seen me outside Waitrose in Sevenoaks.
John Nightingale – Funeral Director
John started his working career as a heavy vehicle engineer and progressed to workshop foreman with Marley Transport.
Running parallel with this, from the age of 17, he was an active member of the Territorial Army, serving for 30 years and rising to the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major.
He changed his career when the Marley site at Riverhead was closed and chose the funeral profession, in which he has over 25 years experience at all levels, the last 15 years with Welham Jones as Senior Funeral Director.
Tony Pryce – Mortuary Manager
Having graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Tony joined Tesco’s Graduate Management programme, eventually becoming an Analyst/Programmer for their first venture into mainframe computing. This was followed by a move into the insurance sector where Tony headed systems development for a motor, fire and accident division before a line management position as Regional Manager South East [England]. With semi-retirement Tony tried several times in business on his own, but returned to part-time employment and eventually the full-time position as Logistics Manager for Welham Jones.
Bob Russell – Assistant Funeral Director
I have been in the funeral profession for four years now (all with Welham Jones) and I find it a very sensitive yet rewarding vocation. Whilst each arrangement can vary in many different ways my ultimate goal is to provide a personal service that satisfies the client’s requirements. Achieving this brings a great amount of personal satisfaction and one feels privileged to have been asked to make such sensitive arrangements. I also find it useful to liaise with the local clergy, doctors and nursing homes.
In my spare time I like the odd round of Golf, oh and I do enjoy travelling.
Jane Bowyer – Assistant Funeral Director
I am relatively new to the funeral business, starting just a year ago. It is a great privilege to arrange a funeral that the families say is everything they had hoped for. I shall continue to learn and develop with help from my experienced and dedicated colleagues. Prior to joining Welham Jones I spent four years raising money for Great Ormond Street Children's hospital.
Ros Driver – Funeral Director
I have been in the funeral business for over nine years and I am passionate about my job as I feel very privileged that someone has asked me to take care of their loved one. As I am also a Bereavement Counsellor many clients keep in contact with me after the funeral and pop in for a cup of tea and a chat. I have taken and passed two exams with the IFD College, which gave me extra knowledge, and I believe I have a good reputation amongst local clergy and doctors. In my spare time I fundraise for my local hospice, which is great fun.
Martin Anning – Assistant Funeral Director
I have worked at Welham Jones Chislehurst for nearly eight years and have built up a good relationship with local clergy and several nursing homes. I am also known in the local community as I live just a few doors from the office. I have arranged the funerals of local people who died both young and old, of varied faiths and in many different and sad circumstances. I have maintained many relationships with these families after the funeral and I encourage people to come and see me and keep in touch. Many have found comfort from this. I have also attended a Cruse training course to help the grieving and the bereaved through a very difficult time in their lives as well a taking a funeral arrangement course with the IFD.
Michelle Debenham – Assistant Funeral Director
I started my working career as an Outdoor Clerk with the High Courts of Justice in London before moving to Cornwall where I worked in a hotel in Padstow. Moving back to Kent I have enjoyed working closely with my customers for last 10 years with a firm refurbishing kitchens. Some 2 years ago I decided that I wanted to join the funeral profession having experienced the loss of loved ones. I wanted to help people through one of the most traumatic and sad times of their lives. With Welham Jones I feel that I can now achieve my personal objective. I live locally in Pratts Bottom and I am known within the community through my involvement with the local Amateur Dramatic Society.