Our Staff

Our dedicated and supportive staff are here to guide you through this difficult journey. We take pride in doing our absolute best to ensure your needs are met. We are here for you.

Ashley Newton, Alterna CremationAshley Newton

Licenced Funeral Director & Embalmer


Meet Ashley Newton, a licenced funeral director and embalmer and proud owner of Alterna Cremation. Ashley Bestland was raised in the Fort Garry neighbourhood of Winnipeg, where she attended St. Maurice School. At the age of 12, she moved with her mother to Lancashire, England. Upon her return to Canada, she graduated from Sanford Collegiate and was a member of the Canadian Forces Army Reserve. She met her future husband, Shaun, in 2004 and were married in 2008. They currently reside in St. Andrews with two gregarious pomeranians. Ashley enjoys keeping a large vegetable garden and tending to her flock of chickens, and is hoping to add bee hives to her menagerie in the near future. 

For many years Ashley worked alongside her husband, doing the administration for his construction company. From a young age, Ashley always had a desire to work in some capacity where she could help people. She fulfilled this through answering to call to funeral service. A sometimes difficult and closely-knit industry to get into, she got her foot in the door by first working at a large Funeral Home & Cemetery, on the cemetery property side of things. She was soon able to secure a sponsorship as an apprentice Funeral Director and Embalmer, and enrolled in the Canadian College of Funeral Service. After two years of studies, along with 1800 practical hours, she became a Licenced Funeral Director & Embalmer.

Ashley continued to work with funeral services in Winnipeg but noticed that more and more families were wanting simple, direct cremations. Many people were wanting to take back some control in the way that they honour their loved one. That is why she started Alterna Cremation. To provide a simple, alternative to the traditional funeral home. 


Sonia Feakes
Office Manager & Family Care Coordinator


Sonia Feakes has brought tremendous warmth and compassion to Alterna Cremation since 2020 in her valued role as our Office Manager and Family Care Coordinator.

The youngest of five children, Sonia grew up in the East Kildonan neighborhood of Winnipeg. After graduating from Kildonan East Collegiate, Sonia began an administration career at Saint Boniface Hospital that would span over three decades. Her outgoing personality and tremendous work ethic meant that retirement didn't sit right with Sonia. After a few years, she sought a fresh challenge and began a career in an industry new to her at Alterna Cremation.
Sonia and her husband John enjoy their annual retreats to Rincon de Guayabitos, Mexico, bicycling, and spending time with their families, especially their 4 grandchildren.

Sonia is the voice of Alterna. Her voice is likely the first one you'll hear, the one to offer compassionate understanding and gentle guidance in those first few minutes when we learn about your loved one. Her voice would likely be the one nagging you (lovingly) about the impending obituary deadline, the one that reminds you to bring the marriage certificate and the one that just calls a few months later just to check in and see how you're doing.

Unless its February. Then she'll probably be in Mexico, but Ashley will take great care of you in her absence. Sonia never misses a beat or a deadline and is meticulously thorough in everything she does.

Add that to her being an amazing liaison and compassionate ear to all the families we serve, you can see why Ashley calls her the best in the business, because she truly does believe that.
We are a team at Alterna Cremation, and we are so lucky that Sonia is an integral part of it.