In 1985 following the retirement of owners Bob and Joe Peart the business was purchased by local businessman Graeme Ward. Two years later, the funeral home moved to new premises in Crawcrook, Ryton.
Johnstone and Ward ran the funeral home together until 1994 when Ward suddenly passed away. The business was then subsequently left to Johnstone which he committed to running.
He said: “If the system works, don’t change it. This is something Funeral Partners understands very well.
They approached me with a way for us to focus on serving families while they support administrative duties, including the new requirements by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).”
Sam Kershaw, CEO of Funeral Partners, added: “E. Peart Funeral Directors has a stellar reputation in the area and for very good reason.
“We look forward to working closely with Darren, who has been with the business for nearly his whole life, to ensure the heritage and reputation of the business lives on.”