About Colin Swinburn

Colin Swinburn


I live in Beckenham and have been involved in Humanist Ceremonies since 1997 on a part time basis. I live with my wife Isabel and my two boys who are both now young men but still live with us at home. Work wise, I have some expertise in implementing mid range business systems. Currently I am working as a Project Director in Hatfield, rolling out an ERP system across 22 European countries.

I have been an atheist all my life and discovered the British Humanist Association when reading an article in the Independent titled “We name this child all on our own” which was published in 1996. I joined the BHA a year later as a life member, and attended my first local Humanist Group meeting on 9th September 1997 where we discussed “Spirituality on the NHS”. I have since been a member of both the Bromley Humanist Group and the South East London Humanist Group (formerly Lewisham Humanist Group) and am currently the Web Administrator for the South East London Humanist Group having done an 8 year stint as Hon Treasurer.

I started to receive the BHA newsletters and noted that they were looking for people to train as celebrants, so in October 1997 I attended Wedding Training, then Naming Training, and finally in February & March 1999 Funeral Training, where Denis Cobell (who has since become a good friend) was my mentor.

I believe that the important milestones in our life should be celebrated in some way, and that rituals play an important part in our lives.

Ceremonies which mark these milestones should include certain formalities in order to provide our guests with an occasion that they are comfortable with, and they should also be enjoyable and that goes for funeral ceremonies too.

The other thing a ceremony should be is meaningful. By this I mean that the words and symbols used during a ceremony should be in keeping with the principles of the key participants. Having said that, as much as possible the ceremonies should be inclusive so that everyone can take part and enjoy being part of the occasion.

While I support the Humanist movements ethos in terms of taking responsibility for my own actions, and living by the “Golden Rule”, I particularly enjoy seeking to lead a happy and fulfilled life and helping others to do the same.