Community driven Debbie looks forward to helping more local people as she cuts the ribbon on new funeral booking office in Lowestoft

A community champion from Lowestoft is looking forward to providing comfort and support to local people after she helped cut the ribbon on a new £110,000 funeral booking office in her hometown.

Funeral Administrator Debbie Bishop will provide a friendly face at the new Central England Co-operative Funeralcare, in Gresham Avenue, bringing years of experience of helping people and a passion for supporting her local community.

Debbie, who lives in Lowestoft, has been working at Central England Co-op for 25 years, spending 12 years at the Society’s former Westgate Department Store in Lowestoft, starting out in the store’s Royal Doulton concession, before moving into the banking hall and then working across various retail departments.

Debbie began her career in funeralcare 13 years ago becoming funeral administrator at Caister-on-Sea Funeral Home and most recently she has been supporting families at Gorleston Funeral Home.

The 55-year-old said she has not looked back after making the move into funeralcare and has found it to be ‘hugely rewarding’.

She said: “I like helping people and that is what attracted me to this career. It has been hugely rewarding. I enjoy being face-to-face with families, helping them in making decisions and ensuring they know all their options.”

Debbie has devoted a great deal of effort to community work, even being recognised as Community Advocate of the Year at Central England Co-op’s Leading Brilliance Awards.

Among the groups and causes she has been involved with during her time at Gorleston are Sunbeams Play in Great Yarmouth, which provides a haven for children and young people with Autism, Gorleston and Great Yarmouth Memory Club, Young at Heart over 60s group in Gorleston and Gorleston and Great Yarmouth Young Carers.

Debbie added: “I really enjoy getting out in the community, both with my Co-op Funeralcare hat on and in my personal time. At Gorleston Funeral Home we have held coffee mornings for both Macmillan and our corporate charity Dementia UK and attended events such as the Great Yarmouth Air Show and family fun days at the local community centre and church.

“I live in Lowestoft myself, not far from the new booking office, so it makes me want to become a part of the local community in Gresham Avenue even more.

“I would encourage local residents to pop their head in to say hello and see what we’ve achieved with the new premises and if I can offer advice and guidance, as well as support with funeral arrangements and plans, then I would be happy to do so.”

The new Gresham Avenue funeral booking office offers a vastly superior look and feel for families including modern colours and new furniture following an investment of £110,000.

In addition to arranging funerals, Debbie and her team are also able to offer advice on floral tributes, monumental masonry, funeral stationery, pre-paid funeral plans and probate advice. The team can be contacted on 01502 449635.


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 

It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, and property.

The company’s funeral business consists of over 120 funeral homes across 16 counties, nine florists, masonry production and administration, Bretby Crematorium and Terry Smiths coffin factory.

Central England Co-operative has more than 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

The Society has an ambitious food store and funeral home development programme for 2019.

Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.

Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing or visiting

For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, @mycooplife and on Facebook:

Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140

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