Hello – I’m a humanist celebrant and I take funerals in the Surrey and Hampshire area.
Brought up in Elstead, Surrey, by atheist parents who valued community involvement highly, I attended the local C of E state schools. The music and language of daily assemblies and annual festivals are some of my happiest childhood memories, but even at a young age I was aware that the religious content was often not relevant to me and fellow pupils who were non-religious or of different faiths.
It’s important to me to deliver ceremonies where all who attend can participate equally and feel their presence is both valid and valued. I’m often asked how I would feel about some religious content being included, and my answer is that I’m generally happy with whatever feels right for the person we’re celebrating and their family. I’m always pleased if others wish to suggest or read any words that are meaningful to them in some way, and when hymns are appropriate for the person being remembered I’ll always join in singing (making sure I’m well away from the mic, for everyone’s sake). Some of the most moving ceremonies I’ve been a part of have included a diverse mix of heartfelt contributions, including traditional prayers, so I encourage anyone who has something to add to do so, and I’ll always discreetly step in to read for anyone who feels unable to when the moment comes. For those who are less sure of what they would like in the way of readings and poetry, I’ll make suggestions and work with you in selecting just the right thing.
I love meeting new people and hearing their stories, and regard the opportunity to capture the essence of a person’s character in celebrating their life as a privilege. Although losing a valued friend or family member is never easy, the chance to share memories through the ritual of a funeral ceremony is often an important stage in coping with grief, and one of the things I most enjoy about humanist ceremonies is that each is as unique as the person it commemorates.
I’m familiar with most of the local crematoria in the area, and I’m lucky to be based close to the idyllic GreenAcres Heatherley Wood park and not far from Clandon Wood Natural Burial Ground with its stunning glass pavilion, and the Shamley Green Woodland Burial site. I always enjoy taking ceremonies in the great outdoors, no matter what the weather brings. If you’d like to consider an environmentally-friendly alternative to cremation, you may like to take a stroll around these peaceful places – the staff are always very welcoming.
I studied English Literature at Exeter University, and then worked in marketing before my children were born. My other freelance work now is mainly with both professional and amateur musicians. You can read more about why I decided to become a celebrant here.
“I knew from the outset that you were the perfect person – Dad would have loved you, and you him. You have a real gift for getting across the warmth and energy of the script without taking it over.” Jessie Rogers – Celebration of Life ceremony for Rex Lane, January 2018
“Hannah was so engaged and genuine, it was almost as if she was a family friend. Everyone said the ceremonies they attended were perfect” M Howes – Cremation and Memorial ceremonies for Sylvia Codling, November 2017
“Please thank Hannah for adding just the right note” Charles and Carol Howe – Celebration of Life ceremony for Pat Hewett, July 2017