Tribute mural for quirky-coffins firm

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A COFFIN-making company in Bulwell that is famed for its quirky caskets has splashed out £20,000 on a mural in tribute to the skilled workers who have been the foundation of the business.

Vic Fearn and Co, of Crabtree Mill, Hempshill Lane, has been running since 1870.

.Dave Crampton MD  of Fearn & Comp with one of many commissioned coffins made by the company

.Dave Crampton MD of Fearn & Comp with one of many commissioned coffins made by the company

It produces about 10,000 coffins a year from its Bulwell base and a factory on the Isle Of Wight.

Many of the caskets are built to traditional styles.

But the company, through its subsidiary called Crazy Coffins, has forged a reputation by deigning bespoke items to customers’ designs.

Unusual caskets have included ones shaped like narrowboats, cars and train carriages.

Two recent orders include a coffin shaped like a beer bottle for the owner of a brewery on the Isle Of Man and another in the form of an old fighter plane for a man in his 70s. It is so unusual that before it goes into the cremation chamber, the wings will have to be unbolted.

However, no matter what the project, Vic Fearn and Crazy Coffins pride themselves on quality workmanship by a team of dedicated staff.

Many of the team have been with the companies for more than 25 years.

It was to mark this dedication that owner John Gill and managing director David Crampton came up with the idea of the giant mural, which is 40 feet long and takes pride of place on a wall at the firms’ headquarters.

In fact David himself, who has been with Vic Fearn for 30 years, and his wife, Lynda, who has been at the firm for 40 years, even feature on the piece, which has been created in oils.

John said: “We were sat there with a lot of employees who had completed 25 years’ service. We don’t give out gold watches these days. What’s the use in that?

“We decided to do something out of the ordinary and commissioned a painter to come up with this artwork in tribute to their hard work. They have been the bedrock of the business.”

The mural has been seven years in the making and features 25 employees from the last 30 years. Unfortunately, photographs of workers before that were not available to add them to the painting.

The artist is Royal Academy trained Jamie Ogilvie-Forbes, who worked on the painting in a studio on Greasley Street, Bulwell.

Earlier this month, it was displayed in a gallery on The Mall in London, midway between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.

Vic Fearn and Co started life in Radford where it was based until 1959 when it moved to its current home in Bulwell.