Ed Hardy


Organising a funeral or memorial ceremony for someone you love can be hard. Not only are you unlikely to have much experience of the process, but you’re probably not in the best frame of mind to give it the time and thought it needs, either. What kind of ceremony is right? Where should you hold it? What should you say? Who should be involved? What about music, poetry, readings? Are there rules about how it should all be done?

And of course the COVID-19 pandemic makes things even more challenging. Things may change but at the time of writing ceremonies are going ahead, albeit with special guidelines designed to keep everyone as safe as possible: attendances at ceremonies are restricted, and in some locations the length of ceremonies is restricted too. It’s extremely hard to sit apart and refrain from embracing and other physical contact, but it can be done. If people don’t feel comfortable attending ceremonies in person – or are prevented from doing so by new attendance rules at crematoria – they could watch them from home: most crematoria have the facility to webcast or record ceremonies.

If none of these options appeal you could always delay a memorial or celebration ceremony until things are back to normal: I’d be happy to talk you through the different ways you might do this: just call me on 07753 679050, or email ed.hardy@humanistceremonies.org.uk.

Most people start the ceremony planning process by choosing a funeral director to work with. This can be the easiest option as a good one will make sure all the paperwork is done properly: you can find your nearest funeral directors by searching online. There are plenty of resources available online to help you, and a good place to start is the Natural Death Centre.

Once the basic legal requirements are taken care of, the rest is completely up to you – and this is where I can help.  I’d welcome the chance to talk you through the options available: I’m experienced in all sorts of humanist and non-religious ceremonies from those at traditional crematoria to woodland burials, and from ashes interments to joyous celebrations of life held in venues as diverse as village halls, public gardens and art galleries. I’ll work closely with you to create the perfect ceremony, making sure you achieve just the balance of celebration and commemoration that you want (you might just need to  wait a little longer than usual given the current circumstances).

Call me at any time on 07753 679050, or email ed.hardy@humanistceremonies.org.uk – or ask your funeral director to contact me, if applicable.




I live in Liphook in Hampshire with my wife and two children. I was born in Nottingham, grew up in Torquay in Devon, and went to University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. My ‘first career’ was in advertising and marketing agencies, working with businesses all over the world – but for the last ten years I’ve been dividing my time between marketing consultancy, freelance journalism and my work as a humanist funeral and wedding celebrant.

I conducted my first ceremony more than twenty years ago, then over the years found myself being asked to do more ceremonies for friends and family. I found the process of meeting people and creating ceremonies so rewarding that eventually I trained with Humanists UK and am now a fully accredited funeral and wedding celebrant.

I’m constantly amazed by how powerful just talking can be as a part of the process of coming to terms with the death of someone you love – and I never forget what a privilege it is to work with people when they’re experiencing such challenging and difficult times.





“Ed, thank you so much for being our celebrant at Dad’s memorial service. So many people that attended have told us what a good choice you were. You quietly and unobtrusively brought dignified calm to our day whilst understanding that we did not want anything stuffy. You were the perfect combination of professional and relaxed and you had us covered when copies of readings were forgotten and were a particularly reassuring presence just before when we were especially nervy. I found you really easy to communicate with throughout the whole process and very willing to be led by us without ego or judgement. You were discrete and clear and reliable and have a lovely sense of humour. You have inspired at least one of the attendees to become a humanist celebrant too! “

Sam Cole


“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your contribution to my mother’s service on Tuesday. Everyone I have spoken to, including those who watched over the web cast, thought the service went very well and that it was completely appropriate for my mother. I really thought that your words set absolutely the right tone for the service . Thank you so much for all the help you gave us with the organisation of the service and for your role as master of ceremonies. If you are ever asked for a reference or recommendation, we would be delighted to provide one.”

Richard Grant


“We wanted to thank you for making Friday so special for us. The service was exactly what we wanted to celebrate Mike’s life and to remember him. We really appreciate that you ‘got us’, and understood exactly what we wanted. Your expertise and support was invaluable: we’ve all watched the Webcast many times and will treasure your script.”

Wendy Adams


“Thank you so much for doing such a beautiful service for our mother, Imogen. You made a potentially very difficult day so easy with your kindness and lovely eulogy. Our family and friends commented on how personal and special the service was.”

Sophie Smallwood


“Now that I’ve had time to recover and get my breath back I want to thank you very much for everything you did to make Dad’s funeral exactly as I wanted it to be. You put the words together perfectly and your suggestion for using a verse from the song on the Order of Service was absolutely right. Thank you again for all your help and support.”

Becky David


“I just wanted to thank you again for officiating at my mother’s funeral on Friday. Now I’ve had time to process a bit I’m so pleased we had a funeral full of music and flowers, with contributions from different family members, and with some properly significant thought-provoking content from you. I also appreciated your emotional engagement.”

Kaye Godleman


“We really can’t thank you enough for the way you helped us give Dad the perfect send-off today. You appealed to everyone, whatever their faith or belief system: everyone told us they thought the combination of  the content of the service, you as celebrant and the location really did Dad justice. Thanks also for the beautifully bound copy of the ceremony script; a lovely surprise which we’ll hold close to our hearts.”

Andrew Morris


“I wanted to thank you once more for the excellent service you wrote for mum’s funeral. So many people came up to me afterwards to say how much they had appreciated it, and for me personally I feel we gave her the best possible send-off. Your delivery and pacing of the service was just right, but also your diligent research into the finer details of mum’s life made for a really interesting story. The printed transcript of the service was an extra detail I wasn’t expecting, and very much appreciated – such a lovely touch.  I would not hesitate in future to recommend you to any friends or family looking for an alternative humanist funeral or wedding service.”

Viveca Koh


“Anne and I would like to thank you so much for officiating at the interment on Friday, it was just perfect. Also, a huge thank you for all the work you did for the funeral. You were so kind and thoughtful in your words, it just captured mum and dad’s lives perfectly. Having never attended a celebrant service before we were all very impressed by it and will certainly recommend anyone who is undecided, to you. You were brilliant, thank you! “

Joy Steel


“Just a note to once again thank you for yesterday. We all thought it was a lovely service and that you were brilliant.  You did a great job in presenting the service and we could not have been more pleased.”

Angus Kinnear


“The service was all that I had hoped it would be. Ed made it humorous and worded the eulogy with much thought. A smile rather than tears for everyone.”

Pamela Chandler


“Thank you for your central role in yesterday’s cremation service for Charlotte. We all agreed that you were just the right person to take us through a heart-breaking but memorable service. You added just the right mix of gravity and understanding – we could not have been blessed with a more suitable celebrant.”

Ian Garnett


“Thank you for all your hard work and kindness at what became an increasingly difficult time for us all. Many people of all ages and backgrounds at the reception commented on how perfect they thought the service was and how well they thought you carried out your role, delivering such a sincere and touching ceremony.”

Karen Humfress


“Thank you for all you did yesterday: it was, as my Dad would say, a ‘first class performance’. Thank you once more.”

John Conner


“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for conducting the ceremony for us. It meant so much to us to have somebody who had clearly listened so well to our recollections of mum, and represented them in such a well phrased, balanced way, with more than a hint of humour too. I would also like to particularly thank you for the delivery of my daughter’s poem, which, to me, felt just right.”

Tina Harris-Ross


“Thank you so much for being the perfect celebrant. Your balance of gravitas, emotion and warmth was exactly what we needed, and we loved it.”

Marc, Matt and Vi Eldridge


“Your ceremony was quite lovely. Great choice of readings, and a perfect tone.”

Tim Corrie



Call me at any time on 07753 679050, or email ed.hardy@humanistceremonies.org.uk – or ask your funeral director to contact me, if applicable.