Denis Cobell & Colin Swinburn at Hither Green Crematorium June 2003

Funerals are our way of saying thank you for a life that we have shared and enjoyed. It is also a time to be sad because the physical presence of the person who has died is no longer available to us. There needs to be a ceremony where we can say good bye to the person who has died, but also to remember the special moments in their lives and to pay tribute to their achievements.

It is a chance for other people to say a few words, even if sometimes this means a short poem or a piece of prose. Ideally people should leave the ceremony with a smile on their face, as they recall their fondest memories of time spent together. It will be in these memories, that the person who had died, will live on.

Almost every funeral involves a meeting with the family of the deceased, and this can be a cathartic experience, but also a chance to share memories in an informal environment. It is then my job to knit these memories into a formal script, which will be provided to you at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Every celebrant has their own style, but we all agree on the importance of making the person who has died the central part of the funeral ceremony. Generally our commissions come through Funeral Directors, but if you would like to chat to me about someone who is perhaps terminally ill, and so the planning for the funeral ceremony can take place as early as possible, then I would be happy to speak to you over the phone.

Thank Yous

I just wanted to write a few words to thank you for all your efforts and hard work in making my mother’s funeral a special memory. All my family and friends commented at some point, about how they enjoyed it and how interesting it had been to learn about my mother’s life, particularly as most of them had known her for many years but learnt things about her that they didn’t know. My daughter said it had been a lovely day, a strange sentiment but true. I felt comforted by everything said, and the music helped a great deal, the fifty seconds was perfect….

On behalf of myself, Mum and my brother, I’d just like to say a big thank you for last Friday. The ceremony was just what we wanted and even though a very sad occasion, we did manage a couple of smiles…

I’m sorry not to have written sooner to thank you for conducting my cousin’s funeral. It must have been difficult as you did not know him and there were no relatives nearby to consult. But you took great care in the preparation, and the resulting ceremony was appreciated by everybody attending. I’m sure it was just as my cousin would have wished…

…We were extremely pleased with how smooth the ceremony was and that is solely due to your professionalism. Your attention to detail was very much appreciated. We have had many favourable comments about the whole event and are sure that there will be more requests for your humanist ceremonies.

Thank you so much for providing such a memorable ceremony for my husband. Everyone was very happy with such a good send off.

I want to thank you for an excellent job. Many commented that they felt it was extremely well done, and some commented that it made a change talking more about Mum, rather than singing hymns and listening to religious stories.

Your part in helping us to remember and celebrate our mum’s life was much appreciated by all the family. You made a difficult day for us easier to bear.