About us

History- from Thomas Rea & Sons to Darlington Funeral Service

Michael Rea is the third generation of funeral directors in his family after his grandfather Thomas Rea, founded Thomas Rea & Sons in Thornaby in 1928.

The business was then passed down to Thomas' son Vincent, with whom his son Michael, also began his vocation from an early age.

Darlington Funeral Service

Michael, alongside Barbara, have since established a proudly independent funeral business and now with funeral director Jen Lawson, their team boasts a combined experience of over 75 years serving familes across Darlington, the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire.

Darlington Funeral Service can assist with all aspects of arranging a funeral, from completing legal documentation to liasing with ministers, celebrants, churches and crematoriums to organising orders of services, catering and floral tributes if so desired.


Meet the team....


Hello, my name is Jennifer, however I like to be called Jen. I have worked in the Funeral industry for 16 years and wanted to be a Funeral Director since I was 14 after attending my beloved Gran’s Funeral, I felt I wanted to and could be there to support and help people through one of the most challenging times. I feel exceptionally lucky and proud to do the job I do, for this reason I am very passionate about my role and always go above and beyond to help families give their loved ones the send off they absolutely deserve.
The most rewarding and best part of my job is knowing I have made the hardest time in someone’s life even a tiny bit easier.

In my spare time I enjoy spinning classes at the gym, going out for meals with friends, reading crime and thriller novels and being a cat mum to Dave, Tiff and Pumpkin.


I have been working with Rea Funeral Service since 2014.
I enjoy comforting people and making their experience as stress free and comfortable as I can. I like all aspects of my role and take immense pride in caring for families' loved ones to ensure they look their very best when their families come to visit. It is important to me that families take some comfort that their loved one looks peaceful and at rest in our care. I am a local girl and have lived in Darlington all my life and feel proud and privileged to service the local community.

My hobbies are going out for long walks in the countryside with my dogs and family, I also love gardening and clothes shopping.


I’m Mark. I will help to look after a loved one as they enter our care – something I feel very privileged to be asked to do by a family. On the day of the funeral I’ll work together with the rest of the team, usually driving the hearse or limousine, to ensure the funeral is a dignified and calm event and our family on the day is looked after to the best of our ability.
I’m also the Memorials Coordinator for the business - helping families to choose a fitting memorial, ensuring all the necessary paperwork is completed and liaising with our local Church and Cemetery colleagues and specialist local Stonemasons.
Working as part of a close-knit team within a small family business is really enjoyable. We can laugh together but also recognise when formality and dignity is demanded. I think I have a good eye for detail which comes in useful - especially when helping to ensure our ceremonial vehicles look their best or navigating churchyard rules and regulations for a memorial application.

Away from work I can often be found walking in the Yorkshire Dales - Swaledale and Nidderdale being my favourites - or volunteering for Cancer Research UK who recently surprised me with an award for “outstanding contribution and commitment”. Apparently! I was just enjoying myself!


Hello, I'm Steve Addison. I am a firefighter and also part of the team at Rea Funeral Service. I live in Great Ayton with my partner Tracy, son Theo and our two border collies.

I have an active lifestyle and enjoy walking the dogs with my family, visiting places such as the Yorkshire Dales and the Lakes.
I like being outdoors and spend my free time working on my allotment and keeping chickens. I find it rewarding working for a professional team and helping people in my local area.


Hi. My name is Sean Manship. 
I am a local lad so love that I can support my local community. I feel proud that people I know and sometimes grew up with, trust me to look after their relatives in their time of need. I take a lot of pride in my work and am passionate about supporting local people.

I live with my beautiful wife Dawn in Ingleby Greenhow along with Dawn’s sister Sue and our German Shepherd Sadie. While I am not working my favourite past time is metal detecting where I am always searching for lost treasure. I can often be found at my allotment in Great Ayton growing my organic fruit and vegetables. I also love visiting abbeys and learning about history.


Hello, my name Tim and I am a Funeral Service Operative. I am a local lad and previously lived in Swainby for nearly 23 years, I got married in 1982, I lived in Yarm for three years before moving to Stokesley as my Wife is a Stokesley lass. My Wife and I have two sons and we have lived in Stokesley for 38 Years now. I love getting out on the lanes on my bike, walking on the moors, being outdoors and socialising in Stokesley, supporting local businesses whenever and wherever I can. Previously, I worked at Preston’s of Potto as a HGV fitter for 12 years and then spent nearly 30 years as a Police Officer. I am a lifelong Boro fan albeit I don’t get to many matches these days.
I really enjoy my role with Rea Funeral Service, I like serving the local community and giving comfort, support and reassurance to those who are grieving. I feel my role gives me a sense of reward and satisfaction when clients and their families thank us for what we have done. I appreciate working for a local family business who make a real difference in our community