I live in Todmorden, West Yorkshire and am part of a national network of men and women who have been trained and accredited by the British Humanist Association to write and conduct non religious ceremonies. You do not have to be a Humanist to use our services but simply prefer to have a non religious ceremony.
I originally trained for the stage so have a love of English and confidence and experience of public speaking, I then retrained as an Occupational Therapist and went on to spend many years working in mental health services. The experience this gave me of working with people and helping them to achieve their personal goals has been a great basis for celebrant work.
I have been a humanist for some time and, like many other celebrants, became interested in training as a celebrant following disappointing experiences at conventional weddings and funerals, and some inspiring and moving experience of humanist ceremonies.
One of the most rewarding thing about my work is that I meet so many lovely people and have the privilege of helping them to realise their dreams for one of the most important days of their lives.
Humanism is based on the idea that we can give meaning and value to our lives by doing what is best for people and the natural world, and that we can use reason and evidence to help shape our ethical decisions, without belief in any supernatural power. Its core values of tolerance, respect and empathy are ones I try to live my life by.
My first experience of Humanism was at a friend’s wedding service several years ago. I was struck by how appropriate the ceremony seemed for the couple, and how they were able to say exactly what they meant to each other, without the constraints of a traditional service. My partner and I subsequently chose to celebrate our own marriage with a Humanist ceremony, as well as the naming of our two children.
The more I learnt about humanism the more I realised that I had always been a humanist, I just hadn’t known what to call myself.
And as an accredited humanist celebrant, I have the honour of helping people through the landmark events in their lives, working with them to craft personal ceremonies that reflect their personalities and beliefs. I find myself in a job that never ceases to amaze and inspire me, and I count myself very lucky.
I live in the North of Sheffield, which is convenient for access to many parts of the Yorkshire and North Midlands region- and I would also be happy to travel to ceremonies abroad, should that be your wish.
For many years, I worked in the public sector as a Probation Officer, concentrating on training & developing staff. As a trainer, I developed a firm understanding of how to engage people, and deliver well-planned & executed material. This care & attention to detail has proved most appropriate in offering ceremonies which are not only comforting or celebratory, but which will also “work” on the day- most important to ensure that all runs smoothly & satisfyingly.
All of my life I have had a commitment to social justice & the value of the human- so it was a natural choice for me to join the British Humanist Association in 2007, and thence being inspired to train as a Celebrant when I attended my niece’s Humanist wedding, which I found very personal & engaging. I am accredited by the British Humanist Association to offer Weddings & Partnership Ceremonies, Funerals & also Naming Ceremonies.
I consider working as a Humanist Celebrant to be an absolute privilege. From meeting you, your family & those to whom you feel closest, I learn about your dreams and aspirations for your wedding, your feelings about the person you have lost and whose life you wish to celebrate, or your hopes for the happy future of the new life who has entered your family circle. My first meeting with you will enable you to share your wishes, feelings and for me to learn about what is most important to you. I will then produce a draft script for your ceremony which we can discuss and amend as you wish; I never dictate, and always remember it is your ceremony, although I am there, if required, to advise you on readings, poetry, music, how to involve others…and to make suggestions as to what may work best. In years to come, when you re-read your script from your special day, I aim to ensure that it truly captured the occasion, and those at the heart of it.