I was a producer and director for twenty-five years before I trained as a celebrant in October 2005. Since then I’ve conducted more than 1,000 weddings, funerals and naming ceremonies and find that being a celebrant is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Most people first encounter humanism when they attend one of our ceremonies, but it's still not a widely understood word. So when people ask me 'what do humanists believe?' this is what I say. Humanists believe we should behave towards other people as we'd like them to behave towards us, that we can live good and worthwhile lives guided only by compassion and reason, and that there are more things that unite rather than divide us. Or as we say in Scots, "We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns" - we're all the same under the skin. As well as being a celebrant, I am the Honorary Humanist Chaplain to the University of Edinburgh.
One of the attractions of a Humanist wedding is that you're free to say in your own words why you're here, where you're going and what you're promising, and I will help you create a ceremony that reflects who you are, and what you think and feel.
Taking the time to think about why you’re getting married, and deciding what you want to tell your family and friends, is what will make your wedding so special - as so many of the couples I’ve married have been happy to tell me.
I’ll help you make your wedding ceremony truly unique, a memory you will cherish for the rest of your lives.
To find out more, please check out my blog
Conducting a funeral is the most demanding part of our work, but it’s also the most rewarding. It is both a privilege and a serious responsibility to celebrate a person's life.
I am always moved when someone comes up to me afterwards and says, “You got him (or her) just right – that’s what they would have wanted.”
Because we focus on ‘the life lived’, with all its joys, triumphs and disappointments, I know that everyone can relate to our ceremonies, whatever they believe. And because we celebrate that life, I love to see people laughing, and realising that it’s OK to do that in a humanist funeral.
You can read more about my approach to my work in my blog here
Some things people have said about my Ceremonies
“Thank you for such a fine service: everyone I spoke to commented just how moving it was, Everything went perfectly, and your very thorough preparation showed."
“You really got my Dad, and delivered a service he would have been proud of. Everyone we spoke to said “that’s how it should be”. Most people said they wanted to clap. We have a great void in our lives without our Dad, but doing him proud is an immense help in coping with our loss.”
“The day went really well and we actually all came out of it feeling really positive and uplifted. I have never felt like that after coming away from a religious funeral - quite the opposite in fact.”
I'm delighted that naming ceremonies are becoming more popular, as they’re great fun and can be very inspiring!
What I like best is hearing why the parents have chosen a particular person as a guide-parent; it makes it really clear how much they value that person and want them to be an important part of their child’s future life.