masters and son

Behind the Counter: Masters & Son

Ian Masters, Lewes Road, Lindfield

Undertaking is among the world’s oldest professions. Ancient Egypt is famous for its careful mummification to preserve the dead with records dating back over 4,000 years, and in the West specialised priests were known to spend 70 entire days with a single body. While the aforementioned services were reserved for wealthy royalty and nobility, today funeral services are an essential part of remembering and saying goodbye to those we care about. In this next edition of Behind the Counter, we meet Ian Masters of Masters and Son – who have been supporting families in Sussex through the process of losing loved ones for more than 160 years.

By Joe Wayte

It feels like I can’t get away from this particular topic in my life right now. Whilst writing this article, the team at BBC Radio 1 is doing some heavy promotion around the office about a new series titled, The Youngertakers

In my personal life, a great-aunt recently passed away, giving me an opportunity to celebrate her life, as well as watch the funeral director intensely as part of my research. I’ve been to many funerals and they’ve all been different. My great-aunt, for example, asked to be cremated and requested that Händel’s Hallelujah Chorus be played loudly at the point she disappeared behind the curtain. Others have been a much more sombre affair.

“All families are different and each funeral is unique,” Ian told me. “Some choose traditional wooden coffins, while others choose ones made of materials such as willow, seagrass, bamboo or wool. On a few occasions people have come in to personally decorate the coffin. The services we carry out also vary enormously from a traditional church service to no formal service at all. On one occasion we were asked to provide champagne in our service room for a family who wanted a more casual and relaxed event before continuing the celebration of their loved one’s life over lunch at a local pub. We like being adaptable to whatever people ask for to give their family member an appropriate send-off.”

[Read the full article in March 2018 Lindfield Life magazine]

Photos by Dale Reubin

Lindfield gets own defibrillator

By Claire Cooper, reprinted from p.7 of Septembers Lindfield Life magazine

A portable life saving resuscitation machine will give heart attack victims in Lindfield a better chance of survival.

The machine, an Automated External Defibrillator which delivers a shock to the heart, will be located outside Selby’s Pharmacy in the High Street and can be borrowed by residents faced with an emergency.

It’s been funded by Masters and Son, whose staff were amongst the first to be trained to use the machine.

“I’d heard about the work of the Sussex Heart Charity in training people to use these portable machines and thought it would be fantastic to have one here in the village, “  said Sue Masters. “We are currently awaiting delivery of the latest model and the machine should be in place in a few weeks.”

Although the machine can be used by anyone, training is available free of charge to villagers.

Run by Douglas Coombs, Director of Training at the Sussex Heart Charity, the course teaches people to recognise the symptoms of heart failure, carry out chest compressions and use the machine to deliver a shock to the chest to restore the normal heart beat. 

“It is vital to start chest compressions immediately as every second counts,” said Douglas who spent 25 years as a paramedic. “For every minute there is no compression the chances of success go down by 20%. There is no substitute for good effective chest compressions.” He added that calling an ambulance should also be the priority.

The machines are incredibly simple to operate and users are guided through the steps by a recorded message – rather like a Sat Nav. 

Most importantly the machine will only deliver a shock if it detects an abnormality in the heart rhythm, so it’s impossible to shock a healthy heart. “The whole point of chest compressions and use of the machine is to prolong life until the paramedics arrive and the person can be taken to hospital,” said Douglas. “These machines have been hugely successful. We trained people to use the 8 machines at the Amex stadium and within two weeks one was used to successfully resuscitate a heart attack victim.”

Machines have also been installed at Gatwick Airport and many other locations in Sussex.

Villagers who have been trained to use the machine include Will Blunden and Christine Irwin from the Parish Council, Tracey Osgerby, Ian Masters and Craig Radmall from Masters and Son and Liz Thomas and Nicola Whatford-West from Glyn Thomas & Son the butchers.

Further Emergency Life Support and Automated Defibrillator Training courses are being planned and anyone interested in attending should contact Sue Masters on 482107 or email