An enterprising 23-year-old from Lancing has set up a funeral service business in North Road.
Henry King opened H.G.King Funeral Services last week, filling a space which had been vacant for two years.
He held an open morning on Saturday (September 2), with refreshments and a raffle, so that people could meet him and find out more about his business.
He said the community had been ‘really supportive’ and said: “People appreciate in the village that I’m a local lad with an independent business. It’s given me confidence.”
Henry has worked in the funeral industry since leaving Boundstone Community College, aged 16.
“It’s seven years I’ve been doing this in total.
“It’s all I know,” he said.
His first job was working for his father’s coffin bearing contract company for two years, before working at another funeral service for five years. He was driven to set up his own venture as he said: “I wanted to give it more of an independent and consistent feel.”
As the sole employee, he will liaise with relatives ‘from start to finish’ throughout the whole funeral process – from arranging a cremation or burial to organising house clearances.
Henry admits his age sometimes surprises clients and said: “People don’t expect to see someone with such a young face.”
But he believes his deep roots in the community are a strength.
One of seven siblings born and raised in Lancing, Henry has been involved in sports in the area for most of his life – playing for Lancing Manor cricket club and for Lancing Rangers football club.
This local knowledge and familiarity helps put families at ease, he said, adding: “Funerals are one of the hardest things is to trust somebody with.
“People have this idea of what someone will be like – but I’m just a normal person, a familiar face.
“People can open up and talk to me.”
While the look of his shop is very traditional, Henry said he caters for all types of funerals, both traditional and modern.
He said he is looking forward to getting started and said about the role: “I enjoy the feedback from clients and helping people.
“It’s a very difficult time in people’s lives so I try to make it easier for them.
“After all the community has given to me, I want to give something back.”