Regrets: I’ve had a few…

If you follow my blog, you’ll know I was delighted to be nominated, and then shortlisted for the Vows Awards a couple of weeks ago: that was entirely thanks to the many couples who voted for me to show their appreciation for the ceremonies that I conducted for them. I have been a celebrant for twelve […]

Are we mourning or celebrating?

I’ve been a celebrant for a dozen years now, and over that time, the character of funerals has undoubtedly changed.  Two years ago, the BBC ran this story based on an ICM survey, in which it found that 54% of people wanted a ceremony that was ‘a celebration of life’. Almost as many wanted to […]

A celebration of the life of Dr. Gilbert Forsyth

One of the joys of my work is the relationship that comes from working with families over time.  Our meetings may well take place in different places, but whether it’s the naming of a child, a marriage, or a funeral, we are always talking about the same subject: the importance of love in our lives. […]

Grieving: it’s time for Option B

I was very moved by this interview with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in The Observer, where she talks about how she coped with going to sleep beside her 47 year old husband, and waking up to discover that he was dead.Journalist Decca Aitkenhead is one of our best writers, and while she wasn’t entirely won […]

Hatches, Matches and Dispatches

I’m a big fan of Get It On, the nightly request show on BBC Radio Scotland, presented by Bryan Burnett and a rolling team of producer co-hosts. They do some great themes, and tonight’s was a belter: A few days ago, they were talking about doing a theme on music for funerals, so I sent him a […]

In Memory of Bill Purves

What do we mean when we say someone’s a character? It’s a word with many nuances, but I can think of no-one about whom it is more appropriate than my neighbour of twenty years, Bill Purves.  I live in a mews and when I first moved here twenty years ago, there were still two working […]

Kay and her Amazing Animatronic Cat

I conducted the funeral of a friend’s mother last week. Kay was what we Scots call a ‘douce’ lady. She was retiring by nature, very sweet and kind, although she had a bit of a wild side too: she loved dancing to blues music and the Rolling Stones! She spent her last couple of years […]

A Funeral for a Humanist

I know it sounds odd, but it’s not often I’m asked to conduct a funeral for a humanist.  Lots of people want a humanist ceremony, but what they really want is, “something that’s not religious where we can talk about the person that we love”. We did that for Leslie too: his son Ian delivered a […]

Funeral Photography

Sounds wrong doesn’t it? It’s just not done. But I think it should be. Katische Haberfeld is a photographer and advocate of ‘death literacy’ and she wrote a good piece in the Huffington Post that sets out her argument. You can read it here

It’s Officlal – or is it? Humanist Weddings More Popular than Church of Scotland in 2015

For some time now, the media has predicted that 2015 would be the year that humanist weddings became more popular than religious weddings. The Registrar General of Scotland recently published their annual statistics, which show that to be the case. Today’s edition of Christian Today says “Humanist weddings outstrip Church of Scotland weddings for the […]