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About Us

    About John Gray & Co Funeral Directors

    John Gray & Co Funeral Directors has been serving the community of Bangor for over 50 years and was established in Central Avenue in 1961. Today, caring for people is still at the heart of what we do at John Gray and Co Funeral Directors and we continue to provide a truly professional and caring service to the local community and surrounding areas. 

    The teams at our Bangor, Holywood and Newtownards funeral homes will provide advice at every stage of the funeral planning process, and will arrange an individual and unique funeral to help you celebrate the life of your loved one. We have our own service venue on-site. 

    Here at John Gray & Co Funeral Directors we also offer an affordable prepaid funeral plan, Choice, so that you can arrange and pay for a funeral in advance. This will protect your family from rising costs and remove uncertainty about your wishes.

    If you would like to talk to us about planning a funeral, or our Choice plan, please come and see us in any of our funeral homes, or if you’d rather we can arrange a home visit. We’re also available 24 hours a day on the phone so if you need anything please don’t hesitate to call your local funeral home.

    Meet the Team

    Colin McIlwaine

    Funeral Director

    Barbara Wilson

    Funeral Arranger

    Mike Smith

    Funeral Director

    Police Officer with Grampian Police, based in Aberdeen. Mike enjoys the interaction with families; gives him great satisfaction to help them on their bereavement journey enabling them to arrange the appropriate funeral for their loved ones. He most enjoys when he can arrange, then conduct the funeral, giving everyone that sense of continuity. Mike is one of that band of people who enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest. To date he has attended 12 contests which enables him to follow another interest he has in travelling to new countries, meeting new people, new food and embracing new cultures.

    In addition to an interest in Eurovision Song Contest, Mike also indulges himself in Genealogy, having traced family connections back to the year 1100AD. He loves to travel, and photography. He is also developing an interest in Astronomy and has recently been introduced to Bowling (must be getting old!)

    Around 1999/2000 Mike completed a Certificate in Funeral Management course through the Co-op College at Loughborough; he came 2nd out of a class of 40 and was awarded an engraved Rose-Bowl. In 2012/2014 Mike obtained a Certificate in Funeral Practice awarded by the Irish Association of Funeral Directors and received a Galway crystal engraved plate for Outstanding Achievement for being the first student to achieve 100% in all 8 modules of the course. In 2011 the Bangor Branch of John Gray & Co was awarded Community Activity of the Year for fundraising efforts for a local Church building fund.

    Carolyn McCauley

    Funeral Arranger / Administrator

    It is a privilege to be able to support families at a vulnerable time in their lives and be a part of their journey – before, during and after the arrangements. I enjoy being involved in community activities to let others know we are more than just a Funeral Home. I have recently qualified as a Cruse Bereavement Support Volunteer and am studying towards Level 3 in Counselling. I am involved in 7th Bangor Scout Group and am part of the PTA in a local high school. I enjoy walking – especially by the sea, holidays, musical theatre and yoga.

    I have a Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Funeral Arranging / Administration. Awarded in 2012. My colleague and I took part in a community activity with a local church and as a branch we were awarded with Community Activity of the Year in 2011.


    David Cowling

    Funeral Director

    Caroline Grierson

    Funeral Arranger

    I have been a carer for many years, I was a swimming teacher and did a first responder role for the ambulance service.

    Helping families give their last acts of love to their loved ones. It is an honour to be able to help them. I also enjoy the community development side of my role, building strong links locally and supporting local initiatives. I am a mum to two teenage boys. I do a bit of open water swimming, less and less as I get older, the Irish sea seems to get colder.

    Anne Marie Gallagher

    Funeral Arranger

    Worked for 10 years in the passport help line prior to that I run my own business from 1998 to 2006. Previous jobs medical secretary in the city hospital and the hotel industry as accounts and wages clerk. I volunteer with St John Ambulance and have been involved for 8 years. Becoming a mum to my son 25 years ago is probably my biggest achievement and hopefully having and being a good friend.

    Sandra Williamson

    Funeral Arranger

    I find my job very rewarding. It is an honour and a privilege to look after the arrangements of someone’s final journey. When I was school I was third In Northern Ireland twice in 70m hurdles and was presented with my medals by Mary Peters. I’ve been treasurer of a pre-school playgroup in Newtownards for 17 years since my eldest daughter started there. It was only supposed to be for a couple of years! I enjoy going to the gym, cooking, watching Formula 1 and travelling, especially to the United States. I have an NVQ in Funeral Arranging & Administration and also hold an honours degree in Management and Business Studies.

    Brandon McKee

    Funeral Arranger

    I have worked for the company for 8 weeks but have been interested in this line of work for many years. I worked in retail whilst at the same time studying for my Master’s degree from Queen’s University Belfast. I find it very rewarding to give people the solace and the relief that their loved ones are being taken care of in the best way possible as they make their last journey.

    I have a Bachelor’s degree in History from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and a Master’s degree, also in History from Queen’s University Belfast, hoping one day to progress further and obtain my PhD in History. My main passion is sports, particularly football and athletics, however I also enjoy watching television shows and movies, in particular Marvel Studios movies as I am a massive fan of comic books. I also love travelling to the United States to experience different lifestyles and cultures. I have many awards in sports and academia on top of my university degrees.


    Our Values


    We take pride in everything we do. Our aim is that everyone who works for Funeral Partners shares our values.

    Helping People

    Our business exists to help the bereaved to make fitting arrangements for their loved one’s last journey and to provide lasting memories for family and friends.

    We do this with a positive, caring and understanding approach.

    Respect for everyone

    We value diversity and treat everyone with the same respect, courtesy and dignity.

    Professional Standards

    We are a professional organisation and we strive to achieve the highest possible standards in everything we do and to improve upon these standards continuously.

    Accept responsibility

    We accept responsibility for our actions both as a company and as individuals.


    We believe that we can only achieve our goals by working together in partnership with client families, suppliers and our employees.

    Our locations

    We're available 24 hours 365 days a year

    Call 02891271148 visit branch or arrange a home visit