New Milton couple Sandra Mitchell and Dean Reader launch New Forest Hearse Hire
A HEARSE-OBSESSED New Milton couple have turned the ignition on a new business venture hiring out their vehicles.
Sandra Mitchell and Dean Reader have 16 hearses in their collection, six of which are road-worthy and ready to go.
And the pair, who met through a hearse fan club in 2002, seem unable to pass up the opportunity to add more.
“We just bought another one yesterday,” Sandra said.
“We had no intention of buying another one but we were helping out with valuations, there was one in the corner and we decided we’d have it.”
While Sandra and Dean have been collecting the cars for decades, they only recently decided to start New Forest Hearse Hire.
“We intended to start a couple of years back, but then Covid hit and nothing happened. We took all the cars off the road and decided to wait until Covid finished, and then we kept going off the idea,” said Sandra.
“But then a friend died, and he’d wanted to go off in our Chevy, and a friend’s husband sadly died too, and we had to get another one MOT’d and ready to go.
“So then we thought: okay, let’s give it a go. We picked a few of them to put back on the road, cashed in a pension and here we are.”
There are some rare beauties in their collection, such as a Mk1 Cortina imported from Ireland and a Belgian Chevy Caprice with roof-mounted urn lights.
But they hope to really make waves with the smallest of the collection.
Sandra said: “We’ve seen a lot of different hearse ideas come and go – obviously motorcycles and variations on trailers, but nobody’s done a boat.
“We thought, because we live near Lymington, why not give it a go? We bought a boat and a trailer, called in a few favours to adapt it, and it’s now part of what we offer.”
The pair cater very much to the local area in a bid to keep down costs.
“We don’t want to travel too far, so we keep it to this part of the New Forest and Christchurch. With petrol so high, we’re trying to keep all the expenses as low as possible,” said Sandra.