(L-R) Nepean Valley Funerals owner Jim Mueller and Nepean Belle owner Chris Bennett have teamed up to offer Funerals on the Water
By Ellen Hill for Nepean Valley Funerals Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media
A new business partnership between two Penrith mates has created an opportunity for local residents to celebrate the life of a loved one aboard the iconic Nepean Belle paddlewheeler.
Nepean Valley Funerals, the closed coffin funeral and wake package includes exclusive use of the Nepean Belle paddlewheeler, a non-denominational funeral service, coffin, flowers, celebrant, printed orders of service and condolence pack, with further additions such as a photographic tribute available.
After a memorable and respectful farewell ceremony, the coffin will be removed from the paddlewheeler and friends and family then continue to remember their loved one during a catered wake on a calming river cruise into the private nooks of the Nepean Gorge.
Nepean Valley Funerals owner Jim Mueller partnered with long-time mate and Nepean Belle owner Chris Bennett after the St Dominic’s College old boys sought to combine their love of Penrith, community, the Nepean River and their respective businesses in a joint venture.
Mr Mueller and wife Janet had identified the changing trends of funerals. Although traditional church/chapel funeral services will always remain important, some families now seek a non-denominational “celebration’’.
Incorporating the iconic paddlewheeler on the tranquil waters of the region’s most recognised geographic feature was the ideal solution, offering a unique weekday option for up to 150 guests with traditional customer service and values.
(L-R) Nepean Valley Funerls owner Jim Mueller and Nepean Belle owner aboard the paddlewheeler.
Everyone knows the river,’’ Mr Mueller said.It has so much meaning and holds so many memories to so many people with associations with the Nepean region.
“It might be a case of Dad always loved being on the water’ orMum always wanted to go on a cruise’.’’
While Mr Bennett worked on the Nepean Belle as a deckhand when it was first launched as a tourist attraction in 1982 and bought the business in 2013, Mr Mueller was “kind of born into the funeral business’’, cared for when his mother was at work by an aunt who worked at a local funeral business.
“There are few services that are as sensitive or as personal as those provided by a funeral director,’’ he said.
“We’re helping people through the worst possible time in their lives.
(L-R) Nepean Belle owners Chris and Carol Bennett with Nepean Valley Funeral owners Janet and Jim Mueller
“We aim to make this challenging time as bearable as possible, and our new funerals on the water option on the Nepean Belle will offer family and friends an opportunity to celebrate their loved one’s life at a personal, unforgettable event.’’
Like all services arranged by Nepean Valley Funerals, Mr and Mrs Mueller arrange and attend each one after liaising with all relevant parties including hospital, doctors, coroner, clergy, civil celebrants, cemeteries, newspapers, Births Deaths and Marriages, order of service and DVD providers.
“From the moment you contact us, we will be there for you,’’ he said.
All customer families receive a complimentary online memorial through Heaven Address.
Go to funeralsonthewater.com.au or phone 4722 8222 for more information about this unique celebration of life.
Nepean Valley Funerals and the Nepean Belle are commercial clients of Deep Hill Media