Funerals and Memorials

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This page gives an overview of how I create and lead a non-religious funeral or memorial ceremony. If you prefer to talk to me, please give me a call.

A funeral ceremony can take place in a crematorium or outside for a burial such as in a woodland site. If you prefer to have a private funeral with a separate memorial ceremony, this can be in a venue that has a special personal link to your family and be more informal with less time constraints. Ceremonies can be solemn, but also have humour. Some can be quite unusual! All of them are personal.

You can contact me directly or you can ask the Funeral Director arranging the funeral to contact me. As soon as possible I would like to meet you and your family to introduce myself at a meeting.

During our meeting I will talk through options and explain all aspects of the funeral: what happens before, during, and after the ceremony. I will give guidance regarding time considerations and how to bring all the ideas together to make a ceremony that is a fitting celebration of your loved one’s life.

We can talk through the wishes of your loved one as well as yours and your family’s suggestions of what could be included in the ceremony. At our meeting you can give me poems, readings and music already chosen or send them to me afterwards. If you are not sure what to include, I can help.

The most important part of the ceremony is the Tribute to the person who has died. If you would like me to write this, I would like to learn as much as possible about your loved one. We can explore who they were as a person, their likes and dislikes, what they did and what happened during their life’s journey.

This sharing of memories is a very special time when laughter can mingle with tears. The grief and realisation of personal loss can be raw and painful. I understand this and will be sensitive to your circumstances.

After the meeting I will confirm our discussions and outline the order of ceremony. To complete the ceremony I bring together all the contributions, incorporate the music, poems and readings and write the words needed to make the ceremony flow. If I am writing the Tribute, I will weave together the facts and stories you have shared with me. I will ask you to verify I have the correct information and have not included anything sensitive.

I will keep in touch to make sure you are happy with how the ceremony shaping up. I am always happy to answer any queries about any part of the ceremony.

On the day of the funeral I will greet you, your family and friends who are speaking, and answer any final questions. I will make sure everyone involved is at ease with what is going to happen in the ceremony. After closing the funeral ceremony I will be nearby to help with any further questions.

After the funeral I will provide you with a presentation copy of the ceremony for you to keep and for forwarding to others.

Together, we can make the ceremony a special occasion, in remembrance of your loved one.

“Avril worked very hard with the family to make it the celebration we wanted. Excellent service.”


For more information, please take a look at the Humanist Ceremonies webpage:

Humanist Funerals and Memorials