Hastings & St. Leonards Branch

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Hastings & St. Leonards

Arthur C Towner Ltd
2-4 Norman Road
St Leonards-on-Sea
East Sussex
TN37 6NH

Tel: 01424 436 386 Email: info@towners.co.uk
Opening hours:

Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Branch Team


BA (Hons) in Acting

Member of:

Member of SAIF National Executive Committee

Chartered Management Institute

Oliver Towner

Managing Director

Oliver took over the role of Managing Director from his father, Edward, in 2021. As he leads the company into the future he brings together expertise from a number of areas and industries to support the staff and the company. He and his sister, Hannah (who is the Company Secretary) are the sixth generation to run this long-established local family business.

Recently, his work has focused on developing the sustainability credentials of the company which has included negotiating greener energy contracts, the purchase of our first Electric Van (Evan) and developing new paper-free and carbon aware ways of working. Oliver has the aim of being able to conduct fully carbon neutral funerals in the near future.

In 2024, Oliver was elected to the SAIF (The National Society of Allied Independent Funeral Directors) National Executive Committee. Whilst a large undertaking, he is proud to be helping lead the way for other Independent Funeral Directors across the United Kingdom.


Diploma of Funeral Directing
Degree in Religious Studies
Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies

Member of:

British Institute of Funeral Directors
Chartered Management Institute

Edward Towner


Hastings born and bred, Edward started work at Towners when he left college in the mid 1970s. He became Managing Director in 1987 and worked in this capacity up until 2021.

Being the fifth generation of the Towner family to run the firm, he has always been acutely aware of the legacy his forebears have left.

After over 46 years in the business Edward has now hung up his top hat and is easing into retirement. In 2021, he handed over the reins to his son, Oliver. In his role as the Company Chairman Edward is happy, he says, to be guiding his wonderful team in pursuit of the perfect funeral.

Outside work he enjoys sailing, cooking curry, walking the dog and sitting in his beach hut. He spends equal amounts of time trying and failing both to play the classical guitar and to learn German. He brings new meaning to the term 'golfer with a high handicap'. He is a Trustee of and volunteer for Hope Kitchen Hastings, the local soup kitchen providing hot food and a friendly welcome to homeless people. He has been married to Bev since 1978.


BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology

MSc in International Marine Environmental Consultancy

Hannah Towner-Roethe

Company Secretary

In a small family business many areas of responsibility fall on the owners – areas which, in larger companies, would have their own head of department: Human Resources, Marketing, Asset Management, Strategy, Research and Development, Finance, etc. Hannah supports her brother, Oliver (Managing Director), in all these areas to ensure the present health and future growth of the company.

A fluent German speaker, Hannah is also a keen environmentalist. She loves the sea and swims like a fish; she is a keen scuba diver and has worked internationally as a scuba diving instructor. She also likes to go surfing when given the opportunity.


Diploma of Funeral Directing
Foundation Degree in Pastoral Ministry

Member of:

British Institute of Funeral Directors

Duncan Brown

Funeral Planning Consultant

Duncan was brought up and educated in Hastings. As a teenager he developed an interest in acting at the Stables Theatre, and went on to train professionally.

Following a period of early experience in panto and plays around the country, Duncan found himself with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in a connection which lasted a number of years and concluded with him as Resident Director.

On his return from London he joined Towners in 2000, and worked first as a driver and then as a funeral director, passing the Diploma in Funeral Directing in 2003.

Duncan is a Deacon in the Catholic Church. His duties include a leading part in services and the training of adults new to the faith in preparation for reception into the church.

Duncan and his family, his wife and two teenage children, all share in various ways in his participation in the theatre and in active membership of the congregation of St. Mary Star of the Sea.

Simon Haffenden

Funeral Director
Simon was born and bred in Bexhill on Sea and studied at Claverham and Bexhill College. He has 3 grown up children.
Simon has been involved in the funeral industry on and off since 2009 and started at Towners in Feb 2021, firstly as an operative and later that year as a Funeral Director and now looks after the Muslim communities funerals in addition to caring for families that come to us.
Simon is very passionate about helping his families through the arrangement process and funeral of their loved one and couldn't see himself doing anything else now.

LLB (Hons) in Law

Joanne Gooderson

Funeral Director

Born and raised in Kent, Joanne crosses the county boarder to join us more recently.
Having worked for a local law firm, then on to the corporate environment of Allianz Insurance, followed by some years at The National Trust, she has gained a wide perspective on the working world and how to best look after the needs of others.

If you were to ask her which of her roles she finds the most fulfilling, she would whole-heartedly tell you, “That of a Funeral Director” and so would we! She hopes one day to move ‘shore-side,’ to every day wake to that beautiful view we have just outside our office and to learn to sail, especially coming from a family of sailors. Having been lucky to have travelled far and wide over the years, she now looks forward to exploring the countryside, coasts and landscapes closer to home with precious friends and family.

Dele Soan

Funeral Director

Born and raised in Hastings, Dele lives there with his wife and two daughters and grandchild. On leaving school, Dele joined the Army and served with the Royal Engineers in Northern Ireland. On leaving the Army, Dele worked in numerous jobs and has worked with both corporate and Independent Funeral directors.

He joined us in March 2022 as a Funeral Director and has been enjoying every minute.

In his spare time he is a keen photographer and sportsman. What time is left is spent with his family or watching films, reading, listening to a wide range of music and, during the football season, enduring the peaks and troughs of being an Arsenal supporter.


Eleanor Walder

Graphic Designer

Eleanor was born and raised in St. Leonards-on-Sea and educated locally. She achieved 19 GCSEs at school before achieving a Triple Distinction Star at Bexhill College in Health and Social Care Studies. She then moved away to Portsmouth to study Childhood and Youth Development at University and achieved a classification of 2:1.

Eleanor joined Towners in 2017 and has enjoys all of the challenges and responsibilities that come along. She works well under pressure and loves the comradery with her colleagues.

Eleanor enjoys travelling, spending time with her friends and family and watching psychological thrillers. She also loves reading, tattoos, cocktail bars, animals and going to restaurants.


Gill Little

Front of House

Gill came to live in Hastings when she was 5 years old and has remained here ever since, apart from a four year stint living in Ibiza in the early 1980's.  She has been working as a part-time receptionist for Towners since October 2012.  Before that she worked as an Admin Assistant for a local housing association in their Lifeline department, a post she held for 20 years.  Gill is married with two grown up children and a step son.  At weekends Gill and her husband enjoy getting involved with anything the Hastings Old Town has to offer.  Gill's hobbies include going for long walks with her Cavapoo "Badger", doing crosswords, playing Candy Crush and sailing.


From the North on the A21 (London to Hastings road)

The last village before Hastings and St Leonards is Kent Street. After Kent Street you will come up a long hill (past Claremont School on left) and when you pass under a road bridge you are in Hastings and St Leonards. From here, follow signs to St Leonards exclusively. Eventually you will come down a long hill towards the sea (London Road). Go right to the bottom; just before you reach the sea front you have to turn left. That is Norman Road and we are just along on the right-hand side, the last business premises before Warrior Square. You can park for one hour in Norman Road or variable periods in Warrior Square.

From the West on the A259 (Brighton to Hastings road)

Come through Bexhill and into St Leonards. Stay on the A259 throughout. As you travel along the sea front look out for a distinctive block of flats - Marine Court - which looks like a cruise liner's superstructure. Just past Marine Court there are traffic lights. At the lights, turn left into London Road. Turn second right into Norman Road. We are just along on the right-hand side in Norman Road, the last business premises before Warrior Square. You can park for one hour in Norman Road or variable periods in Warrior Square.

From the East on the A259 (Hastings to Rye road)

Come into Hastings and follow signs to the sea front. Travel west along the sea front, past the pier. Drive past Warrior Square (statue of Queen Victoria on right) and turn right at the traffic lights into London Road. Turn second right into Norman Road. We are just along on the right-hand side in Norman Road, the last business premises before Warrior Square. You can park for one hour in Norman Road or variable periods in Warrior Square.