PREPARATION is all about making sure that there are as few unexpected surprises as possible. We can’t fight ageing, and we certainly can’t avoid dying, but many of us don’t want to face the inevitable.

It’s never too soon to think about taking the uncertainty out of funeral arrangements. Consulting a professional funeral director can set both your mind at ease, and those of your loved ones, whether you want to plan ahead or when the inevitable happens.

Established in 1921, Barthram Funeral Service is a completely Independent funeral directors, run by the Barthram family for almost a century.

They are committed to providing a professional, caring and personal service to meet the individual wishes of each family that they serve. Contact them on 01642 700 244, or though the website, www.barthramfuneralservice.co.uk

Darlington is served by husband and wife team Michael and Barbara Rea, who are third-generation funeral directors at Darlington Funeral Service. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, and working in both the private and corporate sector for the past 30 years, Michael brings to the business a wealth of experience, knowledge and professionalism. They can be contacted on 01325 480 000, or through the website; www.darlingtonfuneralservice.co.uk

Keith Parlour of Bedale and District Funeral Service trained alongside his grandfather, Richard Megson of Albert Megson & Sons - a business his grandfather ran for more than sixty years - learning all aspects of the trade, including maintaining a professional approach in providing support and guidance to all families and individuals at all times.

Keith established his own business, Bedale and District Funeral Service, in 1992, at 28 Market Place, Bedale. Contact him on 01677 426 185, or at www.bedaleanddistrictfuneralservice.co.uk

John Blenkiron & Sons Funeral Directors is a long-established business, providing funeral services across North Yorkshire and County Durham, including Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Catterick, Leyburn, Northallerton and Richmond.

They can help you through the process of planning and arranging a funeral that is personal to you and your family. They have been trusted by generations of families to provide the care, understanding and service that they need. See the website for contact and branch details: www. blenkirons.co.uk

We also have to accept that sometimes we need help to be able to live life at home as fully as possible. For some people, stairs can present a real obstacle when life deals them the cruel blow of infirmity. Whether you live alone or share a house, a stairlift provides an easy means of getting up and down the stairs and can be an invaluable help.

It doesn’t have to be a permanent feature, but can be hired as needed. Stairlift Solutions offer a complete service for new and refurbished stairlifts along with a unique facility which gives disabled and infirm people the advantage of having a stairlift on hire, rather than the expense involved in purchase, installation and maintenance of a stairlift.

For a little as £350 per year, all inclusive, customers can have a stairlift installed and removed when required, for no additional cost. All Stairlift Solutions asks is that the customer agrees to a 12-month contract, with any servicing and repairs outside of office hours incurring a call-out fee. www.stairliftsolution.co.uk, or call on 01325 307 473.