Funeral testimonials

These comments come from some of the cards, notes and emails I have received from families, following the funeral or memorial ceremony for their loved one…

Hi David, I just wanted to say thank you for such a thoughtful leading of Frank’s funeral yesterday. We really appreciated your approach and with the setting, we thought the service really worked well. Frank was obviously such a special person who touched many people and the warmth that he generated come across in the service. Your approach to being a celebrant, and the Woodland Burial Centre’s sympathetic atmosphere, certainly gave me food for thought. It was also touching to realise that Frank’s relationship with your family was a repeat of that which occurred with Sue & Tim’s family previously and with me all those decades ago. Your work is really important. Thank you for all you did yesterday. Stephen

Hello David, I am so grateful for all you did to support myself, Robin and all the family last week [at Beaulieu Cemetery]. I’ve had so many comments from those who attended saying how exceptional it all was. Our mother came from quite a strict C of E family, so it was with some surprise when she told me she wanted a non-religious funeral. What came as an additional surprise to me was how your words very much reflected my own thoughts on life that have never quite fitted with any religious faith. Thank you Mum and you David! Anyway, I wish you well and thank you again for all you did. Very best wishes, Mark Ford & Family

Hello Dave. We just wanted to thank you for your exemplary handling of our Mum’s funeral yesterday.  It was my first experience of a Humanist service and I was so impressed. You had exactly the right tone and made everyone feel very comfortable.  It made such a difference to be led through the service in the way you did.  Every funeral I have attended in the past has been so full of sorrow and so upsetting, but you pitched it just right.  Mum would have been very happy. I hope these words might encourage others to have the same positive and uplifting experience we had. With our very grateful thanks, Angela Orr-Ewing

Hi Dave. Thank you so much for all you have done for us over the past two weeks. The ceremony was just what we wanted and many people have commented on how beautiful it was. I’m sure David would have approved! I expect it was an introduction to Humanist burials for many of those there. Best wishes, Anne Bothwell

Hi Dave. Thank you again so much for for the excellent and beautifully delivered words and the way in which you conducted the ceremony yesterday at South Downs Natural Burial Site. I think David would have been very pleased. Best wishes, Keith Bothwell

Hello David. I would just like to thank you on behalf of my family and myself for the lovely service you did on Friday for Tony. We are so grateful for your kind words and guidance throughout.  We couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate tribute and appreciated the time you spent with us to make this possible. Many, many thanks. Kay, Lara and Dave Kennard

Hi Dave. I just wanted to say thanks for such an amazing service for Dad. We all found your words were perfect and everyone said what an amazing ceremony it was. You helped to give Dad a great send off. Thanks again, DEAN

Dear David. Just a quick word to thank you again for yesterday. Paul and I were very moved by the whole ceremony, led by yourself. The golf club wake was also a huge success where many tributes were spoken about Dad. We were overwhelmed actually. It was great to have met you and seen you in your professional mode. Very best wishes to you, Gail and Paul

Dear David. We just wanted to say “thank you” again for such a thoughtful and life-affirming service. We greatly appreciate the extra work you put in to help make things go as smoothly as possible. Many of our guests made a point of saying that they found you very positive and reflective of Dad’s love of life. We feel it was a lovely day that really captured Dad’s joie de vivre. To have a Humanist philosophy to help shape the landmark moments of life is hugely valuable and comforting and we are grateful to you for helping us find our way at a difficult time. Best wishes Jo & Neil

Thank you David.  You did a great job.  Several people asked if you knew Joan, such was the quality of your presentation. You contributed much to what was a memorable day.  Well done. Peter Scott

Dear David. Paula and I would like to thank you for the lovely tribute that you read out at Mum’s funeral ceremony yesterday.  Everyone in attendance said that it was a very fitting celebration. Your recommendation of bagpipe music was perfect, there were three Scots at the ceremony none of whom recognised the music, but all thought that it was beautiful. My friend was very taken with the quote from Herbert Read about the tree as a symbol of life as she was wearing her tree of life pendant and held the pendant while you read his words.  The poem by Vita Sackville-West, I have now read several times and in the context of the tribute I think it was a marvellous choice. As you said in your tribute, we hope to find peace and comfort in our memories. Many thanks and best regards, Andrew Emmerson & Paula Emmerson

Dear David. Thank you so much for conducting the celebration of Keith’s life [at New Forest Crematorium] so sympathetically and with such sensitivity. We have had many messages from friends and relatives who watched the ceremony remotely to say how moving and dignified the service was. Those of us who were there in the room really appreciated how you made the celebration such a positive and life-affirming tribute to Keith, who was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend and colleague. We all miss him so much. Kindest regards, Kate Swift

Hi David. Thank you for sending the soft copy of your words. We gave you such a lot of information and how you managed to transcribe, condense and put it all so eloquently, I’ll never know! You did a wonderful job and we’re so very grateful. It was the nicest celebration of someone’s life that I have ever been to. It was so upbeat and it really depicted the person that Lee was. Thank you again for all of your patience with us, with all of the to-ing and fro-ing of texts and emails in the run up to our dear Lee’s funeral. We have really appreciated your kindness and understanding. As you may have already gathered, Lee was a very special guy! With very best wishes, Jo Gibson

Hi David, I just wanted to say a really big thank you for Monday. While never an easy day, sharing memories of mum and seeing some of her closest friends and talking with them was both warming and hard at the same time. Everyone was very complimentary about your work. Thank you, it made a difficult day that bit better. Wishing you all the best, Nick Gill

Hello David, just wanted to say thank you for yesterday, it went incredibly smoothly and the service was beautiful, everyone said so. Kind regards, Ann Walker

David, thank you for your highly professional and brilliantly delivered celebration for my brother-in-law, Frank Hughes. Peter Sketchley

Good morning David, Thank you so much for helping us in creating such a wonderful service for Dad yesterday. Your eulogy hit exactly the right note and captured Dad perfectly. Everyone, without exception, thoroughly enjoyed it (as much as you can) and we all made the most of a lovely catch up at the Luzborough afterwards after so long not seeing extended family and friends. Kind regards, Lorraine 

Good evening David, I know we spoke briefly after the service, but I just wanted to send an email to again express my gratitude to you for the tribute which you crafted and read out yesterday for my Dad’s service. Even though I felt that I knew the words after having gone through the draft so many times, and after meeting you I knew you would do a brilliant job, you brought it to life in such a way that it exceeded my expectations in every way possible. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us in person to really get to know Dad, and for creating such a wonderful service for him. Everything went perfectly and I am so glad that we were able to create such a fitting send off for him. I had a lot of compliments back at the wake, everyone said how much they enjoyed hearing all about Dad’s life and the way in which you told his story; it truly was a celebration of his life. Thank you again for creating something really special, and even though it was a very difficult day, it is a memory I will be proud to treasure. Kind regards, Jenny

Dear David, I would like to thank you for conducting a beautiful ceremony for my brother. You led the service with utmost care and grace for which I am most grateful as is all of my family. We all commented afterwards on how your thoughtfully chosen words and your sensitive approach struck the exact tone. Our grief is particularly intense given the nature of his death and the ceremony that you crafted certainly helped me on this complicated journey of coming to terms with his passing. I know that my mother, too, found solace in your words. The poem by Brian Patten that you read to us was particularly moving and transmitted an uplifting message that will continue to inspire in the weeks and years to come. Again, please accept my sincerest gratitude. Best wishes, Catherine Proux

Dear David, I just wanted to drop you an email to say thank you for your service on Thursday. Many people commented on how well-run and fitting the service was for my dad, and how your manner and approach contributed so fittingly. I appreciated your easy manner, and for helping to make the lead up, and the day as stress free as possible. Thank you again. Warm wishes, Celia Chambers

The service was well received and I congratulate you on your sensitivity in interpreting David’s character and life in such a moving way. Despite the challenging circumstances wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic it was important to include all perspectives on David’s life from other family members and to give them a chance to contribute, particularly my three siblings as they were so sadly unable to attend. I feel that this was achieved by your capturing of the nuances of David’s life and times. We are grateful that Giles – at AH Cheater – was able to recommend such a professional and understanding celebrant. With best wishes and thanks again Martine & Mark

Hello David, just to say thank you again for putting our words into such a lovely ceremony for Mum at Hinton Park Woodland Burial Ground. Everyone has commented on how positive it was, and all found something comforting in the words you chose. I think the thing that most of the younger people commented on was your reference to the ‘ripple effects’ that one person’s life has for generations to come. The transcript you gave me will be sent to more far flung relatives who were unable to participate due to time zones and distance. Very Kind Regards Betty

Hi Dave, I just wanted to say how grateful we were that you were Mum’s celebrant. It was the best send off we could have asked for. Many people who were at the funeral and watching the webcast said how good you were and how moving. Ray wishes me to send his thanks again to you and to let you know just how pleased he was with everything. Thanks Dave Sue Foster

Hi David, I just wanted to send a message of thanks for the wonderful reflection of Mum’s life you read today. It was superbly read by you and everyone commented on what a great service it was. Many thanks again and I wish you a restful Christmas and a happy new year. Kind regards Mike Abraham

Just to say a huge thank you for conducting John’s funeral in such a quiet and comforting manner. The comments about John’s life were so well delivered; a character, he had a great sense of humour and adventure. You were an oasis of peace and calm in this maelstrom I feel I’m in. Take care, stay safe. Kind regards Chris Campbell

I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to thank you for your lovely service for Dad’s funeral on Tuesday. We really appreciated the way that you took the time to understand Dad and wrote the service in a clear and thoughtful way. Your visit to Mum’s really did help to start to put her at some ease as to how the service would happen. I’m sure this is your approach with all the families you work with but it really does help and make a difference at a very difficult time. Kind Regards Ben

A huge thank you for leading the service for my husband John Nye yesterday. You captured the essence of my John so well. Sally, Bill and I felt comforted and supported by you. After the service, our family and friends commented on the warmth and dignity of your contributions to our very sad day. Thank you again Elizabeth

Thank you so much for being the ‘king pin’ in Tony’s farewell service. You did us proud. Your words and conducting were superb and you made a very sad occasion very special. Tony would have approved, which is the main thing. My very best wishes Ann W-W

I just wanted to say a very big thank you for such a fitting and beautiful service for Callum. It was perfect and I know we did Callum proud. With Best Wishes Reena Baksh

Thank you so much for helping us with Mark’s funeral and for being there. I have sat and re-read the ceremony script you gave me several times and it does bring me comfort. The ceremony was a positive experience and having the folder reminds me of that. Kind regards Sue Yorke

I hope you will excuse my delay in writing this letter to thank you for your kind and outstanding work in planning and leading the ceremony for Jack at Test Valley Crematorium on June 3rd. We would have been lost without your guidance and help and the whole family were impressed with the professional and detailed nature of the service. The restrictions in force at the time meant changes in normal procedures which affected us all. Our chief regret is that we couldn’t have with us more family members, his friends and ex-colleagues who wished to come. As you know, Jack liked funerals and I’m sure he would have been impressed by this one. Thank you for enabling us to give him what he wanted. Yours gratefully Maureen Forster

Just a quick note to say thanks for yesterday. The reading was lovely and a fitting send off for my Dad. Kind regards John Shingler

Dear Dave, I just wanted to thank you for the lovely service you gave us for Bert yesterday. You have a unique talent for putting lives into words – or words into lives – and it was a great comfort to us. I think you & Bert had a lot in common, i.e., a deep understanding and love of the written word. You did him proud. Thank you so much. Yvonne, Andy, Jamie & Claire

I just wanted to thank you for conducting such a lovely ceremony for Peter on Friday at Basingstoke Crematorium. Everybody I spoke to thought it was a wonderful reflection of Peter’s life. I’m sure Peter would have approved! Best wishes Barbara, Liz, Alix, Caroline, Rosalyn, Chris & Helen

Time seems to have flown by and I can’t believe Mum’s service was a week ago. Just wanted to say a big, big thank you for capturing Mum, her wishes, the tone and delivery of her celebration of life. It was exactly how/what needed saying about her. I worried that my Aunt, her sister, might not get it, but she couldn’t sing your praises enough. She said it was very fitting. I’m sure Mum would’ve approved and given a big thumbs up too. Gloria Prince

I should like to thank you most sincerely, for the way in which you conducted Veronica’s celebration of life today. We had a congregation of well over 100 people, many of whom, at the wake, expressed how they were impressed with the proceeding, largely due to you. As far as the family are concerned, you exceeded all our expectations. I guess you can’t imagine how the family felt, relieved to have such a competent rendition of Veronica’s life; many in the congregation had been part of it, at one time or another. You brought back to life many of the happy memories they shared. This is the first time that I have had the courage to employ the services of a Humanist celebrant for someone whom I have loved, and I am very pleased that I did in this case; you couldn’t have been better. You may have no idea as to the comfort your words had on family and friends and I can’t think of words that really encompass the brilliant way in which you ensured that the service progressed, in our view. Forever indebted and please, please keep up your good work. What a splendid alternative, and YOU DO bring comfort for those left behind, believe me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Graham Hollier

Mum and myself would just like to say, on behalf of all the family, thank you very much for the lovely service you provided for my brother Mark. It helped to give people a little bit of insight to the whole of his life since he was a child, as many only knew him from work or hobbies or school.  It was light and uplifting, and from the previous ceremony you did for our Dad, it was not something we were dreading.  Many people said it was lovely and have said this is what they would like for themselves one day.  The copies of the ceremony you gave to Mum and Lisa afterwards were very much appreciated. So, Solstice Greetings and best wishes for the New Year from… Molly, Karen, Paul & family

It has been a few weeks since my sister’s ‘celebration of life’ and I wanted to email you to express our thanks and gratitude as a family for delivering the perfect service for Tami. You were able to capture Tami’s personality, sense of humour and the essence that identified her as her. We did not want to shy away from Tami’s lifestyle and life choices, and in your words, you delivered the perfect service both for Tami and for us as a family. You were able to capture Tami as she was, whilst respecting the sensitivity for those present.  Many of those present commented on the positive nature of the ceremony and that it was unlike any ‘wake’ or funeral they had been to before. Your warmth and respect was felt by those present and several asked for your details to potentially conduct services for them in the future! I would like to thank you personally for the time you spent with Poppy and me which, without doubt, contributed to the personal aspect of your address – it was as though you had met Tami previously. Both of my parents, and Cara, have also asked me to express their thanks. Many thanks David for your guidance, advice and help in letting us say goodbye to our mother, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, grandmother and aunt. With the very best wishes for the future. Gary Wright

I can’t thank you enough for the huge input, effort, care, consideration and empathy that you contributed to making my Dad’s send-off so very ‘fitting’ for the man he was. It was no easy feat assembling a ceremony that recognised the valiant, decorated hero who hid within the modest Yorkshireman – and David, he truly was the most frustratingly modest man; we never got to bask in his achievements, right up to that recent 75th commemoration day in Portsmouth. I was not familiar with ‘celebrant’, but I am so very pleased to have found you and to have you walk the family through to a perfect conclusion for our father. You are a skilled listener and a master at subtly, gently guiding your client to the conclusion they desired, but did not know how to achieve. With much thanks and admiration for your skill and professionalism. Caroline & siblings

Thank you for the lovely ceremony for Mum at Bournemouth Crematorium. We think it went really well and had a lot of nice comments about it afterwards. Laura Whiteman

I think feelings are unanimous that Father’s funeral went pretty well; it was definitely less sombre than many I have attended. You put across his narrative, our laments and the anecdotes in such a nice way. So, thank you on behalf of our family for a job well done. Chris Moore

On behalf of all my family, may I thank you so much for the wonderful, caring and professional way you guided us through the preparation and execution of Julia’s Day. You emanated a feeling of calm and strength, that enabled me to deliver my poem and make sure I could fully take in the memory of the day. Thank you. Mark Higman

Thank you for being the celebrant for my mother’s funeral at Harbour View. Several people came up to me afterwards and said that it was the most moving and caring ceremony they had ever attended. One chap even said it had convinced him that this was the type of ceremony he hoped for himself, and had immediately shared that thought with his wife. Both Jane and I wanted to say thank you. We really valued talking with you at the planning stage and during the funeral itself. Your words were well chosen and spot-on for the type of ‘send-off’ we envisaged. While marking someone’s departure from life is always sad for those left behind I think, between us all, we managed to capture the love and laughter that was a big part of mum’s life. Best wishes for the future. Shaun Dunphy

Many thanks for how you did the ceremony last Saturday at Test Valley Crematorium. I didn’t get the chance to say properly at the time, but we are very grateful for how dignified and appropriate the service was, and how true to Helen’s beliefs and character. You did it perfectly. A number of people came up to us in the afternoon to say how much they liked the way you did it. Toby Tyrrell

A quick note to thank you for the lovely way you conducted Mum’s funeral.  I think we gave her a fine send off and everyone spoke well and captured the essence of her character. Martin Salter

A week has gone since my Dad’s funeral. Just wanted to say how well you did your job… from talking to all of us lot, putting it together, communicating it all and then presenting it all so eloquently. At the wake, family and friends came up and said what a good send off.  Best wishes, Linda & David

Just wanted to pop you a note to say thank you so much for leading our celebration of my mum’s life yesterday, at Harbour View. You captured her life perfectly and set the perfect tone for what we wanted for the ceremony. Everyone went away with great memories of my mum (and a few things they didn’t know about her too, I think) and so many people came up to me and commented on how well you’d lead the ceremony. It is a great skill you have there so thanks for doing that for us, it was great. All the best and many thanks Sarah Johnson 

Thank you very much for the wonderful ceremony for my father on Wednesday. It was conducted in a professional and sensitive manner, and the family were all very pleased and felt you captured the essence of him so well. Always a difficult time but we felt at peace following the ceremony. Ann Crathorn

A very sincere “Thank You” for the way you conducted Mum’s funeral on Monday. The service was so beautiful and the memory of how the day went will be comfort to us all as we move forwards with our lives. It was indeed a service of celebration and thanksgiving, due in no small part to the time and consideration you had put into its preparation and delivery. Everyone who was there has said how well it went – someone even said they enjoyed the service, which is not a comment usually associated with funerals! You even managed to put in some of the little details we had spoken about when we met the week before, and which I had completely forgotten we had mentioned. Thank you so much for your help and guidance and all you did on the day. All this attention to detail and the sympathetic yet uplifting way in which you led the service put us at ease and enabled us to relax at what could have been a very tense and uncomfortable time. From all the family and friends of Mum, again a very sincere and genuine “Thank you”. The Milnes family, Milford on Sea

Many thanks for your help in making Roy’s funeral a ceremony to remember. I haven’t been to a funeral with standing room only – we counted 102 people. Everyone thought your presentation was brilliant. I am glad when Shirley and I gave the thumbs up; we certainly made the right choice. Thanks once again Ursula Galway   

Thank you for making Mum’s day very special. Sally & family

Thank you for the wonderful ceremony for my brother Raymond Rowe. A sad day, but made much easier for everyone with your kind words.  Thank you once more. Rose Dibden

I just wanted to drop a quick note to thank you for your wonderful skills in leading the celebration of my Dad’s life yesterday at Southampton Crematorium. My daughter’s remark later the same day truly encapsulated the way we felt. Her words were “That is how I want my own funeral to be, I will definitely have a Humanist (celebrant) too.” I have no doubt that you are aware that you made a huge difference to the day for us, the celebration was both beautiful and dignified.  You managed to capture the essence of a man who you had never met.  I know that Dad would have been grinning from ear to ear knowing that he sang at his own funeral. Once again thank you so much for doing such a magnificent job. Sue Tunnacliffe

I know we said thanks yesterday, but just wanted to say again, on behalf of both Mum and ourselves, a big thank you for the way you conducted Eric’s funeral and the words spoken. It was exactly what we wanted, and many commented on what a nice tribute it was to him. Wendy & Andy Upton

I am a regular church-goer, but that was one of the most moving funerals I’ve ever been to. Mourner on the flower terrace at Southampton Crematorium afterwards…

Just a quick note to say thank you so much for the ceremony you gave my mum Wink Janes at Southampton Crematorium. Your lovely words and manner made the funeral a wonderful memory. We have had many comments from friends that it was ‘the best’ service they had ever been to. Sophie Easton

Thank you so much for the moving tribute you gave about Dad today. All the family said how lovely it was to hear stories of Dad’s life which you delivered with true empathy. Viv, Lin & family

In all the ceremonies I’ve seen here, that was the best. Comments from a bearer at Hinton Park Natural Burial Ground

Just a short note to say a huge thank you the tribute you both prepared and delivered today at Ces’s funeral. The feedback and positive comments we received were extremely complimentary. Your expertise and delivery were exceptional, as was the consideration you gave to the content. Please accept our heartfelt thanks for making a very sad occasion a celebration of Ces’s life; you perfectly encapsulated his personality. Margret, Fiona, Paul, Heather, Ralph, Darci & James

I would like to say a heartfelt thank you for your inspiring celebration of Dad’s life at his funeral. A very close friend of mine who attended the funeral remarked that although she had never met my father, she went away feeling that she knew him. I would not have changed a thing and it left me feeling proud of my father and immensely grateful to you David for taking so much care and consideration. Kate Dyson-McIlroy

Now that things have calmed a little, I wanted to write a thank-you to let you know how much your service for Tony at Wessex Vale Crematorium touched  us all. Everyone, without fail, said what a wonderful, beautiful, lovely (or whatever adjective they used) service it was. It was so personal for Tony and we all remembered him in so many ways.  Thank you so much Andrea Tizard 

Thank you so much for conducting Dad’s ceremony yesterday. You captured our memories of him perfectly and several people at the wake commented that it was the best funeral they had ever been to and that they would like something similar for themselves! Paula Davis

On behalf of my myself, my brother, and father, I just wanted to say a big thank you for conducting such a nice service on Friday and for all your kind support throughout this difficult time. Your writing of, and patience with, the script and your kind and warm presentation of those words were very much appreciated. All the family commented on the wonderful way you captured the life of this much loved mother, wife and grandma. Thank you so much. Andy Campbell

I can’t thank you enough for leading the lovely ceremony where we all remembered Robin’s extraordinary life. You helped us through the disturbing experience that was [so suddenly and unexpectedly] losing a beloved brother, father, husband, friend and colleague. All the family and friends remarked on how sensitive you were and how much understanding of Robin you had despite having only met Pat and me once. Robin would have been very touched and extremely satisfied by the ceremony; so once again, thank you so very much. Heather & family

You really deserve a very big thank you for the beautiful way in which you conducted Dad’s ceremony yesterday at Hinton Park Woodland Burial Ground.  It proved to be a very good balance of poignant and cheerful elements – and as a family we could not have been happier with the way it all went.  There was continuous, positive feed-back from all the folk who attended, and that only goes to prove that you did a fabulous job on our behalf. Thanks for giving us all such a memorable day for Dad. Peter Greenhalgh

I wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful ceremony you conducted for Mike at Bournemouth Crematorium. So many people have spoken to me and said that they were pleased with the Humanist approach. To hear the music played so loud was a spine-tingling experience and the first sing-along funeral they had ever attended. On Friday, Sharlene brought Mike’s ashes home in style. He was driven in a Mercedes sports car, with the roof down and the Vangelis track blaring out. Mike would have loved that. Brilliant! Thank you so much for your efforts in turning a very traumatic day into one of wonderful and loving memories of Mike, which will stay in our hearts forever. Pam Harding

Brilliant! That seemed to be the general consensus of the way you dealt with the celebration of Lilian’s life yesterday at Hinton Park Woodland Burial Ground. We were all very impressed and very moved by the occasion in that wonderful setting. Many thanks also for the beautiful printed record of the ceremony which in itself is a work of art that I shall treasure. Best wishes for the future and thanks again for your help at our traumatic time. Francis McKeown