Little will change with the just confirmed sale of W. T. Morrison Funeral Directors to Keith Elliott, with the sale just the latest changing of owners for one of Enniskillen’s oldest businesses.

Mr. Elliott’s purchase from Austen Stinson will see Mr. Stinson – a funeral director for 36 years – now “semi-retire”, he says.

The business has traded as W. T. Morrison since the original owner started in 1880, and has seen several owners over the past 142 years. It was purchased by the Stinson family back in 1986.

Speaking to this newspaper about his next step, Austen – joined by his wife, Roberta – said: “I am now entering a period of semi-retirement and we will be available to Keith if he needs us in any way.”

Keith, who worked alongside Austen as a funeral director for 14 years, took on much of the day-to-day running last year when Austen was taken ill last November, spending a number of weeks in hospital.

Looking back at that period, Austen said: “I’m in good health now, thankfully, due to the operation, medication, and exercise, so I am in good form in that way.

"Keith and I worked extremely closely together during this period, as we have done over the 14 years."

Welcoming Keith and his wife Florence’s purchase of the business, and praising Keith's long years of work alongside him, Austen continued: "We wanted the business to be carried on in the same way we had."


Austen and Roberta Stinson, (left), with new owners Keith and Florence Elliott of, WT Morrison Funeral Directors.

Austen and Roberta Stinson, (left), with new owners Keith and Florence Elliott of, WT Morrison Funeral Directors.


Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, Keith said: "I wish to thank Austen and Roberta for giving us this opportunity to continue their long-lasting and well-established legacy.

"It’s been a privilege to serve alongside Austen and to have received his mentorship and guidance over the past 14 years.

"It has been invaluable, and has prepared me to continue this service to the upmost highest standard. It’s an honour for me to be able to provide support and care to families in their time of bereavement."

Concluding, Keith said: "I look forward to continuing the relationship with Austen, in his ‘semi-retired’ capacity, as I set out on this new venture.

"I also wish to thank Cecil, Andrew and the extended W. T. Morrison team for all their continued assistance during this transitional period of the business, and to all those who have offered us their support, guidance and well wishes during this time."

Discussing how he entered the trade at 23 years of age, Austen said: "My parents, Claudy and Marina Stinson, purchased the business from David Holmes [Austen’s predecessor as proprietor]."

Reflecting on his time supporting families through one of life’s most difficult and traumatic times in the wake of the death of a loved one, Austen said: “I am indebted to the loyalty and support of everyone we provided a service to in an hour of their most difficult need. People put their trust in us.

“I was very proud and very privileged to serve and provide a service.”

One of the largest changes to the business was the establishment of Ballycassidy House. Austen said: “The land was given to us by Roberta’s father, Bobby Hetherington, who had a garage there for many years."

Part of the reason for its establishment was “a dream” to build a funeral home for the area, but also due to the change of undertaking facilities when the Erne Hospital closed and the South West Acute Hospital was due to open.

Austen explained: “There was a tradition where the removal was from the hospital in the evening time, and people would have waited to meet the family prior to [someone's remains] being moved to a church or the home, and the facilities were not going to move to the new hospital.

"I just wanted to provide this service to each of the families who employed my services.”

The business will now run day-to-day from Ballycassidy House, and the Darling Street premise will close.

Grateful to all of those who played a part in the business, Austen and Roberta said: “We want to thank all of the staff, drivers and office staff, and wish Keith and Flo all the best and every success in their new adventure. We will support them in any way we can.”