I am a Humanist celebrant living in Bristol and working across the South West region. I lead wedding and partnership ceremonies and conduct funeral and memorial services.
I’m also a wildlife filmmaker. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a passion for and a curiosity about the natural world. It led me to study zoology at university and eventually into a career in natural history television. I’ve worked for broadcasters as diverse as the BBC, ITV, Five, Discovery, National Geographic and Animal Planet. I’m also a writer and I occasionally present and produce radio programmes about the natural world for BBC Radio 4. I have a particular passion for lions and gorillas.
I feel that my work as a celebrant brings together my skills and experiences in a meaningful and unique way. Listening has always been part of my job as a filmmaker and I enjoy hearing about people’s lives and experiences. I find it rewarding to write the personal tributes that celebrate the lives of loved ones and which lie at the heart of a Humanist funeral ceremony, and also about the stories, hopes and aspirations of those about to embark on the wonderful adventure of partnership and marriage. I feel privileged to be able to work with people at what are important life-changing moments in their lives.
I have always felt instinctively that this life is the only one of which we can be sure and our best hope of happiness is to live it in the best and most positive way we can. This, for me, is what Humanism is all about. I’m truly grateful for all the people who have come into my life and shared with me something good – whether love, kindness, compassion, integrity, wisdom or simply friendship. I think these are among the greatest gifts we all have to give and in the end, they are what make life worth living.
“Thank you so much for leading our wedding ceremony. It was perfect… the natural setting, the informality, the laughter and the more serious contemplation of the meaning of our commitment. It all came together so wonderfully. Lots of people said to us how much they enjoyed the ceremony and how personal it was. It was a really fun process developing it with you as well – we really enjoyed our meetings and discussions. Thank you!”
Why Did I Become a Humanist Funeral Celebrant?
This is something friends often ask me. My answer is a personal one and is rooted in my own experience of death. My father died, what felt to me, very much before his time and I found coping with his death very difficult. He was not religious and in organising his funeral I spent some time with the Humanist celebrant in my home town. I was moved by her approach to the funeral. She went to great lengths to incorporate everyone’s memories and thoughts into the ceremony and I found her a great source of comfort. I also felt that my father would have enjoyed the ceremony she had written for him very much – and that meant a lot to me. His funeral was uplifting and a celebration of his life and achievements. Many of those who attended talked to me about how moved they had been and also inspired. I always felt that at some time in the future I would like to do for others what this celebrant had done for my family and me. It took me a few years to finally make that commitment but I completed my training with the British Humanist Association in 2008 and led my first funeral in early 2009.
“It’s taken a day or so for me to compose my thoughts after Friday. Although it was, for me, the most traumatic day of my life, I really would like to thank you for the wonderful service you gave. Continue to do what you do as you have a very special gift. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”