Tamworth Co-op invests in environmentally friendly funeral fleet

Delivery of the two hearses and two limousines was delayed because of the pandemic

Tamworth Co-op has taken delivery of a new luxury Mercedes funeral fleet costing £500,000 after a two-year wait.

Glen Speak, general manager of Tamworth Co-operative Funeral Service, said the two hearses and two limousines are the most environmentally friendly funeral vehicles the society has ever owned.

“They are all hybrids capable of doing around 65 miles per gallon which is incredible. We ordered them during the pandemic, but the global chip shortage in the automotive industry slowed production levels right down,” he said. “It’s fantastic to finally take delivery of them because they are stunning.”

Tamworth Co-op covers Staffordshire, Derbyshire, North Warwickshire and the West Midlands and runs eight funeral service locations, alongside 12 food stores and four post offices. It was one of the first funeral operators in the country to sign the Quaker Social Action Fair Funerals pledge, which reaffirmed its “commitment to providing a transparent and affordable service”.

Speak said: “We need to be extremely flexible in what we offer because while some families might request a hearse and up to six or more limousines, others might want just a hearse, or possibly a hearse plus one saloon for them to follow behind in. 

“We are conscious that the pandemic and cost of living crisis has hit many people in the Tamworth area hard, and we need to cater for all budgets.”

The new fleet will supplement Tamworth Co-op’s existing Jaguar cars and will replace an older set of Jaguar vehicles. All the vehicles started life as Mercedes E200 models but were immediately whisked away after being built to be given a full transformation by Wilcox Limousines, a family firm of coachbuilders from Wigan which has been in existence for more than 70 years and has been providing funeral fleets to Tamworth Co-op since 1961.

“It’s remarkable to think that I’m the fourth general manager to have worked with them,” added Speak. “My predecessors worked with different generations of the same family.”