Wiltshire Publications

Is Westbury undertaker the oldest in the UK?

Arthur (front) with Simon Smith,  Nick Pearce, and Anthony Adams.

Arthur (front) with Simon Smith, Nick Pearce, and Anthony Adams.

LOCAL townsfolk are beginning to wonder if Westbury undertaker Arthur W. Mays is the oldest working undertaker in the country.

Arthur, who turned 90 this year, has been providing funeral services for Westbury and its surrounding area for over 60 years. And last week, family, friends and work colleagues held a party to celebrate his 90th birthday.

In 2010, Arthur was voted Westbury’s ‘Person of the Year’ for his services to the town by readers of White Horse News.

And whilst ill health now prevents him from going out on the hearse, he is still actively involved in the Arthur W Mays firm, ensuring it maintains his good reputation and continues to offer a personal service in the same spirit that it has for more than half a century.

After serving as a Fleet Air Arm mechanic in World War II, Arthur first began work as an undertaker in the 1940s. He worked part-time for Westbury’s undertaker Albert Arnold, who upon retiring, unsuccessfully tried to convince Arthur to take over the business.

Arthur continued to help the Hallett brothers run the business, until eventually taking part ownership and running the business as Hallett & Mays, until Jack’s death when it became Arthur W Mays.

He has now provided  funeral services for some 60 years, and also  gave 25 years to the fire service, with the last 14 years as Station Officer.

Arthur’s Godson, Anthony Adams, says the firm will continue to offer compassion and help to families needing their assistance. He runs the firm with the help of Simon Smith, Nick Pearce and his brothers Steven, Trevor, and Martin Adams.