About Dave Gordon Shute

Photo of Dave Gordon Shute

Dave Gordon Shute


My name is Dave and it is my privilege to conduct non-religious funerals. Humanism has some very powerful messages particularly for the current times in which we live.  When it comes to a ceremony as important as a funeral, humanism can have the power to help us come to terms with the very difficult and painful circumstances.  The freedom of choosing words and music not usually associated with religious funerals can make the service far more relevant and “speak” to the bereaved in a way in which church funerals, often,  can not.   I would be able to produce, with your help, a personal and touching ceremony, tuned in with the thoughts and feelings of the deceased and their closest family and friends.


Why choose a humanist funeral?

I have always struggled with finding meaning in church funerals.  Yes, for some, it can be a very comforting and powerful ritual of familiar words and music but it has never, ever resonated for me.  I have found it to be a confusing way of trying to come to terms with someone’s death who was close to me. When, as a teenager, two family members had humanist funerals, I suddenly realised that, for me, there was a more meaningful way to say “Goodbye” to loved ones.

Obviously, these are words drawn from personal experience and everyone has their own experiences and influences.  It is for this reason that I have a very flexible attitude to religion in ceremonies.  After all, amongst even a small group of family and close friends, it is highly unusual to have a consensus on a common belief system.  I am, therefore, open to hymns, prayers and other religious contents which may help produce a more authentic ceremony for the bereaved and their loved ones.


How it works

If you ask me to conduct a humanist funeral for you, I will do my absolute best to ensure that every detail is exactly how you want it.  Prior to the ceremony, I will glean as much information as I can from you about the person who has died, including their life history, important moments for them and what they meant to the people around them.  This will then lead to a “Tribute” which will be read out at the ceremony but I would, also, actively encourage close family or friends to share their thoughts and feelings too. If they are feeling courageous enough, their words, spoken by themselves,  will have immense power and resonance for those listening.


More about me

The roles which I have outside celebrancy are, principally,  in the music world: as a performer, teacher and conductor.  My love of and knowledge of music can, hopefully, be a real help in devising ceremonies that best reflect the wishes and tastes of the affected family.  I live in West London with my family and feel very privileged to be able to do this kind of work with a variety of families all of whom have different needs, circumstances and wishes. The challenge of getting it “spot on” can be a little disconcerting but is one to be absolutely relished.


My contact details are on the right hand side of this page, together with some brief testimonials so please do get in touch with me if you have any particular questions or even if you are unclear what the structure of humanist funeral looks like.  I really would be delighted to do my best to help.  Thank you.