When R. Locke & Son needed their existing Vito removal vehicle converted, they asked Superior UK to help. The project went so well that George Locke went back to the Superior team, this time to get a bespoke Vito created from scratch.
R. Locke & Son are an independent family funeral directors serving a large area between Banbury, Stratford, and Leamington. The business can be traced back to 1853, with George’s grandfather joining as an apprentice wheelwright in 1940, later being reported in The Sunday Mail as the youngest wheelwright in the country.
George explained how the relationship with Superior UK started.
“We have used a Vito as our primary removal vehicle for many years. We chose the Mercedes marque for its reliability and quality.” he explained. “Our very faithful, older Vito was getting tired, so we bought a replacement and asked a van conversion company to turn it into a removal vehicle. It became apparent that we needed a funeral vehicle specialist to fully understand our needs, which is when we reached out to Superior UK.”
Superior UK is known for their high quality, bespoke fit-outs that are tailored to the needs of the funeral director client. We completed a re-fit of George’s used single deck 2-berth Vito and he was delighted.
“With our newly converted Vito we still had our original Vito in the fleet and we quickly got used to having two Vitos,” he said, “so instead of simply retiring old faithful, we asked Superior to help with a brand-new replacement. It was a great opportunity to have a totally bespoke Vito created for us.”
R. Locke & Son’s brand-new 4-berth Vito was fitted with hydraulic actuated twin decks. The lower deck is for stretchers or coffins, with the top deck reserved for coffins and use as a ceremonial deck. Internally, the vehicle was equipped with plenty of storage solutions for the team’s requirements including additional lifting equipment and fast, easy access to PPE.
“Because we use our Vitos for both home and hospital removals, it was very important that our new Vito looked good inside and out,” said George. “We are confident that clients can come to the back of the vehicle and see a professional, dignified setting for their loved one’s journey.”
George tells us that the Vito’s clever PPE storage gets many compliments. “We’ve even had hospital mortuary staff so impressed with it, they’ve fetched colleagues to show them.”
Combining Superior’s Rise&Fall deck with clear windows has helped R. Locke & Son expand the capacity of their fleet, allowing the new Vito to be used in place of a hearse for simpler services or direct cremations.
“We have used Vitos for a while, but we have been especially pleased with Superior’s workmanship,” says George. “The high-class look of the vehicle is complemented by the quality fit-out, which is completely bespoke to the way we work. It has expanded the capacity of our fleet and helped us keep a dignified focus on the deceased at all times. Superior has a well-earned reputation for their bespoke services and has certainly given us exactly what we wanted.”
R. Locke & Son won this year’s Family Business Award at the National Independent Funeral Director Business Awards. They continue to future-proof their business, building new garages fitted with a bank of solar panels to provide electricity for their premises and link to charging points in preparation for incorporating electric vehicles into their fleet.