Meet the team

Wally Parson N.A.F.D. (Dip), B.S.C.

Wally passed away at the beginning of July 2022. He had been involved with the funeral profession for all of his life, and was a non-stop source of support and advice for us through thick and thin. Wally's experience was second-to-none and he remains a constant inspiration to all of us. Rest in Peace Dad.

Richard Walter Parson N.A.F.D. (Dip), M.B.I.E.

Richard is Principal in the team and has worked in the profession since the 1980's. He is highly qualified with the National Association of Funeral Directors and the British Institute of Embalmers and took the chain of office for Chair of the British Institute of Embalmers (South West Division) in January 2024. Sailing is also one of Richard's loves, having had many adventures over many years afloat.

Leah Dawes

Leah joined us in July 2021 having worked in the profession locally previously. Since joining us, Leah has begun training towards her professional qualifications in Funeral Services with the Independent Funeral Director's College to become a qualified Funeral Director and continues to support the business by taking responsibility for the day-to-day running of The Old Smithy Funeral Home.

Ian Parson N.A.F.D. (Dip)

Ian started his career in the early 90's, achieving his N.A.F.D. Diploma with The Great Southern Group, based in Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey. Ian is also a horticulturist and author and has a love of wildlife and nature.

Charles Cook

Charles joined us in 2023 and has the responsibility of being our hearse driver and assisting with office cover and being a part of the out of hours on-call team.

Rob Rick

Rob joined the team in 2023 following a career in both the military and the Police service. Rob's driving experience makes him our ideal first choice limousine driver, as well as assisting with the out of hours rota and office cover when required.

Jason Symons

Afer a long career working in Plymouth Crematoria, Jay joined us in 2024 and brings a wealth of experience with him.

Gary Pearcey

Gary has been with Westcountry Funeral Service from the start. Having had a career in the military, Gary heads up our bearer party and when family request to act as bearers for their loved ones, Gary will also oversee and assist, ensuring all runs smoothly on the day.

What our
customers say...

Richard and his team are consummate professionals who supported us at the most challenging of times.

Gary G.

After losing our mum very unexpectedly, we walked into your office like 3 scared little children, not knowing what to do or what to say. It felt like you and your team wrapped your arms around us while helping us through the most traumatic time. Your guidance through the whole process was done with such kindness, care and consideration, we are, and will forever be truly grateful.


Richard and his team were respectful, considerate and calm. I always felt Richard was there to quietly and efficiently help me through the arrangements for my dad's funeral.


Richard was recommended by a friend. I immediately felt comfortable and relaxed. He was a good listener, easy to talk to and his manner was reassuring and helpful. I can't thank him enough for seeing us smoothly through this traumatic time.

Anne P.

I lost my husband in his early 50's and Richard took over with great empathy, kindness and discretion. The professionalism of both him and his team was exemplary, even down to organising the traffic so that my husband's biker friends could follow us to the funeral. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

S. Boorer

Nothing was too much trouble. Everything from start to finish was absolutely perfect, the attention to details also superb including the timing of the drivers closing on both car doors, in my eyes, with that attention to detail I knew my Dad was in safe hands

Lee A.

I cannot recommend Richard enough for his compassion, professionalism and kind and thoughtful approach when dealing with myself and my family at such a difficult time. Nothing was too much bother for Richard.

J Kelly

We can't rate Westcountry Funeral Service high enough for their level of compassion .... nothing was ever too much trouble. Excellent communication throughout the whole process and everything was done to a high professional standard. I would highly recommend Westcountry Funeral Service.

Tristan S.

From start to finish the professional service that we received was excellent. We would recommend this company to anyone who sadly is in need of this service.

Peter C.

Throughout the undertakers were superb, calm, stewarding agents of remarkable humanity... It was an incredible experience - a good disturbance of the heart.

Paul C

Richard took over and gave our father's funeral dignity. An excellent all round service that I have no hesitation in recommending.

David H.

Leah talked me through all the options and procedures, including giving an itemized quote, whereas other funeral directors just gave me a total cost.


...unbelievable from start to finish. It is rare to find such a truly personal service

Ben S.

From the moment we contacted Richard we knew our loved one, and the family, were in the safest hands. Outstanding care, service and value for money

Chris D.

We chose Westcountry Funerals at Elburton based on a feeling. We viewed the online photos of the beautiful Old Smithy building, and knew that our loved one would have approved of such an historical place :) We were absolutely right to go with our instinct, as we then met, and were dealt with, by the wonderful funeral director, Leah


Leah, Richard and the team really did my grandfather proud, so nice to see a walker in front of the car on the approach to his house and when leaving, I would highly recommend the team for the traditional and professional service.

Mike O