Worthing’s only independent female funeral director tells of her success

Worthing’s only independent female funeral director has told of her success and what it has been like working during the pandemic.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 1:49 pm

Tara Louise Chislett-Fox set up TLC Funeral Services – TLC being her initials – at home in 2019, after working in the funeral industry for ten years.

She knew she could do it herself, the 38-year-old said, and after huge success running the business at home, she was able to open a shop in Boxgrove Parade, Goring, in August last year.

“My husband converted our garage into a cold room, so when someone passes away, they are kept there until the funeral,” said Tara.

Worthing’s only independent female funeral director Tara Louise Chislett-Fox. Picture: Steve Robards

“This is a unique selling factor as there is nowhere else in Sussex that does this or many places in the country.

“It makes it that bit more personal and if a family member calls me in the middle of night, I can go to the cold room and spend time with their loved one.”

Tara, a married mum-of-one, said she offers cost-effective funerals tailored to each individual family and that is what makes her stand out. “Competitors in the town have lowered their prices since I’ve been on scene, which I think is great,” she added.

“This industry is very money orientated, because it is not a spoken about industry, we don’t talk about death really, it is quite a hidden industry.”

The service hall at TLC Funeral Services in Worthing

Tara said working during the pandemic has had its challenges and there have been busy and quiet periods.

But, she said, she was feeling positive about the future: “I think we will come out of what we’re in now and will make a good recovery and I think the business will do well in the future.”

When asked what it felt like to be the only independent female funeral director in our town, she responded: “To me, it is a privilege and it is a privilege to do the job I do and to look after the families.”

Tara’s shop has a service hall, which was named after Rebecca Arter, a local woman who tragically died of cancer at the age of 37.

Tara Louise Chislett-Fox. Picture: Steve Robards

“She was our first service at the shop, which we live streamed to Worthing Crematorium,” said Tara.

“Due to covid restrictions, we had 30 people at the crematorium and 30 people in the shop, so it meant they could be all together.

“The family were very grateful and it’s nice to have a service hall to mean something to somebody.”

Tara’s interest in working in the funeral industry came when a good friend of hers took her own life 14 years 

Inside TLC Funeral Services in Worthing

“She didn’t look great in the chapel which led me to want to offer a better service,” she said.

“I have also suffered 23 miscarriages, therefore I wanted to give that love and compassion to people as I know how they are feeling.”

Tara said for too long, death has been impersonal and deeply old school, with a lingering Victorian aesthetic, and she wants to challenge this thinking. And said people are only limited by their own imagination when it comes to planning a funeral.