Your help and guidance in the preparation and  your role on the day all helped to make it something special. You dind’t know Tom or us, and came into our live at a terribly sad and stressful time, but you brought a calmness and compassion along with your professionalism and knowledge which enabled us to trust you to lead us through.

Funerals are always difficult occasions but my role is to make the ceremony as fitting, appropriate and comforting as it possibly can be. A funeral that really reflects the life and personality of the person who has died can bring great comfort to their friends and family. I know this first hand as we chose a humanist ceremony for my dad.

I’m so glad that more and more people are realising that there is an alternative to a ‘traditional’ funeral service which, after all, often only really suit those who have lived ‘traditional’ lives.

I certainly think that every funeral should have warm and tender moments – and perhaps some laughs too – as well as being an opportunity to gather together to say goodbye and to express grief. Getting the right balance between formality & personalisation and laughter & tears is crucial.

It’s my job to work with those closest to the person who has died to create a ceremony that’s has exactly the right tone and content for the particular situation. On the day I’m there to hold the ceremony together and, when needed, to quietly guide those who are participating.

I’ve also had the honour of working with a number of people who have wanted to plan their own funeral to some extent when they have been given  a terminal diagnosis. The occasions that have followed have made for some of the most moving – yet ultimately uplifting – ceremonies of my celebrant career. It’s makes such a difference being able to tell mourners something like “He knew he was dying and, much as he didn’t like it, he was practical to the end and so spent some time talking to me about exactly what he wanted today to be given it was needed at all“.

Your celebration was so personal, it was clear that you’d got to know Mike really understood him and the family – it was note-perfect. Thank you very much indeed for making it such a memorable and ultimately happy occasion. It was just what he would have wished.

There is far more scope to personalise a funeral than you might realise. Most ceremonies music chosen by family or friends, for example. Many include non-religious readings and poetry (I can advise on these if you don’t have any immediate ideas) but this certainly isn’t compulsory.  Similarly, some funerals include contributions from those close to the person who has died whereas others have no other speakers. Having choice about these factors – and so many others – is at the heart of a humanist funeral. And it’s all so important as, after all, we only get to say goodbye to those we love once.

And remember that there is no requirement for funerals to take place at a cemetery or crematorium: an increasing number of people choose to separate the cremation/burial from the time that they gather everyone together. This works really well as it gives people more time to arrange the event, enables them to hold it somewhere much more pleasant and fitting and also means there are fewer time restrictions on the day.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to know more. Please note that I am office based some of the week and unable to take personal/mobile calls, but I will always get back to mobile messages and emails within 12 hours.

My charge for a funeral is around £210-£250 depending on the distance involved.