ONE of Newport’s longest established family firms has said it is backing its home city.

Tovey Bros, established in 1860, is Newport’s oldest funeral business and is still owned by the same family.

The firm employs about 20 people, some of whom have been with them for up to 30 years, at it’s base on Cardiff Road. For the first 100 years the firm was based in Dock Street but had to move out when the Kingsway Centre was being developed.

James Tovey, of Tovey Bros, said: “We are backing Newport because it is a great community, that we are pleased to serve and be a part of.

“I remember as a boy that many of the stores and businesses in Newport were family owned. Newport, like most other cities, now has more national or corporate businesses. While these larger businesses often perform an important role, we are proud to be a family business and wherever possible we support other local family businesses.

“Recent developments in the city centre, such as Friars Walk, have been extremely positive for the area. However, I have particularly welcomed the restoration of some of the older shop fronts and building facades. Newport has many beautiful buildings and I hope that we continue to restore and preserve these in the coming years.”

Over the years Tovey Bros have been involved in some ‘firsts’ for the city.

It was the first firm to have a motor hearse in South Wales at the end of the First World War and was the first family funeral business in Wales to be accredited as Investors in People in 2004. The business is also Wales’ only member of Selected Independent Funeral Homes, an organisation for the leading funeral homes in the country, which is joined by invitation only.

It was also involved in helping to set up the South Wales Argus, which was established 125 years ago this year.

Mr Tovey said: “In order to establish the South Wales Argus, well-known local businesses were approached for funding. We supported this initiative and became shareholders as a result.”

A comparatively recent innovation in the profession was the introduction of funeral plans. Tovey Bros believes that its bespoke Independent Way Funeral plan provides the best in service and value.

Mr Tovey added: “Many more people are now arranging funeral plans as they realise not only the financial benefit but also the peace of mind that it gives.”

And a few years ago the firm became the first funeral home in Wales to provide its own bereavement support group, called STEPS (Supporting Those Experiencing Personal Sadness).

Mr Tovey said: “It’s an example of us backing the people of Newport, as its open to any bereaved person, regardless of whether we looked after their loved one’s funeral or not, and its free of charge to attend.

“I believe that our role in the funeral profession is to honour those who have passed away, in a manner appropriate to them, but also to care for those who have been left behind. Bereaved people, in any community, need someone who they can trust to look after them. Having my family name to the business means that I do my utmost to achieve this, as we are also part of this community.

“I am fortunate to be supported by an extremely dedicated and experienced team of colleagues, who feel as strongly as me about the service we provide.

“This enables us to help families before, during and after their bereavement.”