The new business based in two Hull cemeteries for grieving families

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 6 Mar 2019

Working in a cemetery would not be the first choice for a lot of prospective new business owners.

But that’s exactly what Laura Venables-Gomme and Neil Williams have done with their new venture, Birds & Bees.

Based in Hull's Northern and Eastern Cemeteries, the duo launched the business last December, selling flowers and other gifts to people visiting their loved ones.

Laura said: “I was a high school teacher by profession but left that to start a family.

“When I returned to teaching, I realised it was not something I wanted to do anymore. I grew up around flowers and plants and my mum was a very big gardener.

Neil Williams and Laura Venables-Gomme at Birds & Bees (HullLive)

“I started selling flowers at different markets across East Yorkshire. No one had been selling flowers at Eastern Cemetery for a long time so I was interested in securing the tender.”

Laura said when she registered an interest to take up the Eastern Cemetery site, Hull City Council encouraged her to also take the reins in Chanterland Avenue’s Northern Cemetery.

Birds & Bees opened at the start of December, and enjoyed a busy first few weeks of trading.

“The run up to Christmas was a very busy period for us,” Laura said.

“A lot of people like to go and visit their loved ones at that time of year, so it was a great time for us to set up.

“Now it is about getting more people used to the fact they can turn up to the cemeteries without flowers and know they can buy them there.”

Birds & Bees is open weekends at both cemeteries (HullLive)

While working in a cemetery would not appeal to some, Laura said she had enjoyed her new business setting.

“To be honest the environment is actually very peaceful. It is a bit like working in a park,” Laura said.

“There are lots of foxes and squirrels, and I even saw some Redwings recently. People come to cemeteries looking for a relaxing, calm environment, so it is nice to be a part of that.

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“When we first started out in December it was a little bit spooky, because when we were setting up in the morning it would be pitch black.

“We would play a few jokes on each other to make each other jump but it really is a lovely place to work.”

Birds & Bees is currently open on Saturdays and Sundays at Hull’s Northern and Eastern Cemeteries.

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