Our Story

Ray Thornalley founded the business 1st April 1981. Working for a local builder as a carpenter and joiner, the opportunity arose for Ray to start up his own funeral business at 24 years of age at Station Road, Clenchwarton.

A year later Ray and Shirley were married and together they purchased 53 St James Street, King’s Lynn where they converted a Newsagent shop into a small Funeral Home. In 1988 they purchased an adjoining property, No. 51 St James Street, where alterations were made to make the two properties into one.

Meanwhile, Ray and Shirley had two children, Andrew and Rachel. Eager to follow in his Father’s footsteps, Andrew spent his adolescent years helping in the funeral business whenever he could during school holidays, washing cars and preparing coffins, before finishing school on a Friday and joining his Father full time on the Monday!

In 1999, Thornalley Funeral Services expanded into No. 55 St James Street and major building work took place to make the three properties into one Funeral Home.

Thornalley Funeral Services continued to grow and the opportunity arose to build a purpose built Funeral Home in Austin Street, King’s Lynn. After a lot of work the new Funeral Home was opened on 4th February 2011 and has continued to strive to deliver the best care and service possible to the bereaved in and around the King’s Lynn area. Meanwhile, Andrew’s wife Abi joined Thornalley Funeral Services in 2012 and works alongside Shirley.

Thornalley Funeral Services broadened their roots in 2016 when they bought Chapmans Funeral Services in Swaffham, renaming it Chapmans & Thornalley Funeral Services and carrying out extensive refurbishments. Both offices run as one big, friendly family upholding the traditional values of respect and dignity.

Two generations have dedicated their life to providing a professional yet personal service that is second to none and now a third generation of Thornalley Funeral Services is on the horizon as Andrew and Abi have two sons who are desperate to follow in their Daddy and Papa’s footsteps!

Photo above: Ray & Shirley with Mayor Frank Barton, opening their first funeral home in King’s Lynn – early 1984



Ray Thornalley with his first hearse – 1981