For trulypersonal farewells
Cremations and burials – Memorial services
Scattering of ashes – Plan your own
Covering Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire
If you want a funeral ceremony that truly reflects your loved one, their character, their interests and passions, their life’s experiences, I would like to help you. A funeral should be as unique as the person it is honouring and, as a professionally trained Funeral Celebrant, that is what I aim to deliver.
I will meet with you to support you in planning the perfect farewell, that is exactly as you would have it be. You will have the opportunity to check the full content beforehand, and will receive a beautifully presented souvenir folder with the complete script afterwards.
In capturing the essence of your loved one, the whole ceremony will allow those attending to reflect on the impact of this special person in their own lives and beyond.
Cremations and Burials
Whether you decide on a cremation or a burial there are many choices to be made which a Funeral Director can help you with. When it comes to the content of the ceremony, you and I will explore options for the inclusion of music, poems and readings, and religious content if it is desired. We will consider how family members and close friends can be involved in the service. I can help you understand the implications of such things as whether or not the curtains close, what can be placed in or on the coffin, and what symbolic gestures could be included. I will conduct the ceremony and deliver the eulogy.
For various reasons it can happen that a burial or cremation occurs swiftly, with few people in attendance, and a memorial service is a way of allowing more people to pay their respects some time later. These can be wonderful events, and a fitting tribute to your loved one. They can happen in a location of great significance or familiarity. Often they don’t have the time constraints of a busy crematorium. People can be drawn in from all areas of the life being remembered.
Scattering or Interring of Ashes
You might wish to have this brief, final ceremony for your loved one. It may contain echoes of the funeral, of value both for anyone who could not attend but also for those who could. The final resting place can become a special location where family and friends can come to spend time with their memories.
Planning Your Own
Perhaps you would like to plan your own funeral. This is an increasingly popular service. I would assist you in planning your own ceremony and present you with a copy of the full script which we would both keep in a safe place. Let your loved ones know it exists. If I am able to deliver your funeral when the time comes then I will – otherwise I can recommend a colleague and give them all that they need to carry out your wishes.
Civil Funeral Celebrant
One of my passions is Family History. Taking the facts of a person’s life and from them discerning their story, their character, their essence, is something I have been doing for my ancestors for years, and I find it fascinating. As a celebrant, the element of my job I love most is meeting with a family and hearing all about their loved one. I am in a role where I am surrounded by love, which is so inspiring. I consider my responsibility to assist and support you through the days preceding a funeral to be at least as important as the manner in which I conduct the service itself.
When it comes to funerals there is virtually nothing you can’t do, nor anything you must do. Most often I find, however, that people are keen to follow quite a traditional format and I advise them on how to adapt that to something that is personal and meaningful. When families are able to write and deliver tributes it makes for a wonderfully warm and intimate service, yet I understand that sometimes the words are too hard to find (or certainly to deliver!) and so I am there to tell your loved one’s story if you desire. All elements of the service are bespoke for your loved one.
I have a degree in History and a background in education but it was the work I have done in the voluntary sector over many years that drew me more to this vocation. Varied roles had already given me experience in event planning and public speaking, but most crucially in listening to people and supporting them. All these are skills which I have honed during the 100+ services I have conducted.
I have trained as a Funeral Celebrant with Civil Ceremonies Ltd and gained a Level 3 Diploma.
I have been delighted to receive a nomination for this year’s AOIC Celebrant Awards.
Well – your ears must have been burning yesterday afternoon from all the people who told me what a lovely service it was – a few people said it was the nicest funeral service they had been to.
I can’t thank you enough for your kindness, your insight, the way you made the whole process as easy as possible and the beautiful way you threaded Andrew’s life together. You never met Andrew yet it felt as if you knew him.
You have also given me the wonderful gift of seeing his life as a whole rather than focusing on the final few months of his life. As you know there were many times he drove me to distraction – but I find myself really missing him.
Finally I’m also very grateful to say that the service has brought me peace.
Thank you again – you have an amazing talent.
Following an Interment of Ashes
Today was so lovely, thank you so much for being there with us and for making it so special.
When Mum died so suddenly, I never thought I would find two very special people that I would call friends out of all this sorrow. You two have been just glorious from start to finish and anyone that ends up with you looking after them in the future will be so very blessed xxx
(The funeral director also mentioned is Lindsay from Legacy Funeral Services, Leighton Buzzard.)
Gemma was the celebrant for my Mum’s funeral on 24 February. Having never had to arrange this before, it was all so new to me. Gemma made me feel so relaxed and spent ages finding out about Mum with myself and her partner. She knew exactly what questions to ask and how to get the best from us. On the day of the service, her calm support and encouragement, and genuine warmth was a real bonus for me, as I’d chosen to speak “Our Story” at the service.
Then only a few days later, a beautiful envelope arrived with the whole service and a truly touching letter.
Gemma made everything so personal, so easy and so wonderful.
Thank you xx
I attended the lovely service yesterday at the Bierton Crematorium for R___ N___ and I just wanted to say thank you for giving such a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. It was quite the most heartfelt that I have ever been to and the room was definitely filled with love and happy memories of R___, a quite remarkable lady from all accounts and perfectly brought out in your eulogy.
You had obviously got to know the family so well and clearly helped them come to terms with their loss, whilst giving them courage to declare their love. Well done! I was so glad I came.
A BIG thank you for what you did for Mum yesterday ….. you are a lovely celebrant. It is certainly a specific and wonderful skill that you have, to be able to put together [from our chat] a very personal send off.
I just wanted to say a big thank you for yesterday from all of us. You made the ceremony so perfect, and really captured exactly what we all needed from the day. Albeit a hard day, you really made it a good one and allowed us all to look back fondly on an amazing man’s life. I couldn’t have asked for better.
Thank you so much for the service yesterday! It couldn’t have been more perfect and you conducted it so beautifully and sensitively. Everyone who commented to me had nothing but praise for you and said it was obvious you had gone to great lengths to “get to know” Ray. He would have definitely approved!
Just a note from all of us to to say a massive ‘Thank You’ for all your hard work in making Steve’s service so personal and special to our family. The time you spent with us ‘getting to know’ him was important and you seemed to get the measure of Steve’s character perfectly. The service was beautiful and a real celebration of his life, just as we had hoped. The opening and closing words written by you were of comfort to us. Many of our friends have commented on the candle ceremony and how they felt it was Steve’s mischievous side coming out lightening the mood!
A special thank you for reading my tribute so well, not as easy task! You read it with care, compassion and just in the way I intended with humour and love.
We have received the transcript in the post with your lovely letter and wild flower gift along with your best wishes. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to another family in need of a celebrant with professionalism, care and sensitivity.
Jo, Rachel & Amanda
I just wanted to say a big thank you for the wonderful job you did at Sid’s funeral today.
It was a fantastic tribute, which everyone really loved and most of all, Sid would have liked it too. Lots of the family and friends actually thought you knew Sid as your delivery was so personal and insightful and real. We all actually felt like you were one of the family.
Your patience, calming, thoughtful probing and professionalism along with such kindness and empathy made this difficult day much easier to prepare for, deliver, and get exactly right, and we all found comfort knowing you were there making everything run so smoothly.
You have been a real pleasure to work with and we all pass on our thanks and appreciation to you, for the wonderful job you have done for us.
Caroline & Dave & Palmer Family
I cannot thank you enough for the beautiful day you orchestrated for our lovely Gail.
So many people came up to us and said what a heartfelt ceremony it was and how amazing you were – you really captured Gail’s essence and you bought her spirit into the room with us, and for that we are so thankful. Everything you said was beautiful and true to Gail. So dignified and respectful – she would have really, really loved it.
Every little thing you did was so personal and perfect – the message of good luck the night before was so thoughtful and the [keepsake script] was so kind. We will never forget Gail’s special day.
Thanks again for everything, we will smile through the tears even brighter knowing that her final journey was as beautiful as it possible could have been.
I just wanted to say thank you again so much for today, it was such a lovely service and everyone felt very included. I’ve heard back from many of the people who watched online and they all loved it too.
We appreciate the kindness you showed us and your caring attitude really helped us get through such a sad event. You gave Ma a great send off, we can now start looking forward.
Your empathy garnering all the information beforehand, and your beautiful & sensitive way with words made the eulogy extra special, and a difficult day easier to bear.
Thank you from all the family.
I wanted to thank you so much for the wonderful way you handled the Service yesterday, you made it so touching and personal especially for me, it made me feel very close to Alan. Everyone said it was one of the best Services they had been to. I would certainly recommend you!
Once again, thank you so much for making a difficult day for me so much easier.
Thank you again for such a lovely service, in fact a lot of people told me it was the nicest one they had ever attended, and that you had captured my dad so well.
I wanted to send you a quick note to thank for all of your advice and help. Alan’s Celebration Service was perfect. You were able to sequence Alan’s life, capture those values he held, indeed the very essence of a ‘good man’, to present them perfectly. I found your Farewell Address particularly moving, as did others who commented to me.
All in all a thoroughly professional presentation. And thank you for the encouraging smile when it came to my own participation.
A heartfelt thank you from all the family for your guidance and for how beautifully you conducted the service. We all deeply appreciated your presence. It was as if you were part of the family. Many thanks also for the transcripts and thoughtful gift. With much gratitude.
What a beautiful ceremony you conducted for us. I so appreciated your professionality, kindness and attention to detail. You are obviously in the perfect profession.
I just wanted to thank you so much for being so lovely today, and for making a sad day less sad. And for all your help getting ready for the day. We really appreciated it. Thanks again.
Thank you so much for all you did for Mum on Thursday. Please accept heartfelt thanks on behalf of extended friends and family who were so pleased how everything came together – you received very positive reviews from those watching from afar as well as those present on the day! Also a big thank you from me personally for pulling everything together and for adapting the various tributes into a very fitting eulogy for Mum. Finally, we were very touched to receive your letter this morning with the full transcript so, again, thank you for that special effort – it is much appreciated.
Where can I start?
You were so brilliant.
You spoke with such sensitivity and happiness in all the right places.
You have such a clear and unique voice.
I felt as though I was there and you were part of the family,
The whole service portrayed Auntie Valerie to a T and was very professionally carried out with great dignity.
And thank you so much for looking after G___ who was Auntie Val’s closest neighbour and friend.
Thank you once again
I am writing to thank you, on behalf of our family in Hong Kong, for your invaluable contribution to the service. Your sincerity and empathy was evident throughout – indeed you spoke as if you were actually one of the family! Jeannie, I’m sure, would have been delighted. I received similar comments from others who watched the webcast, here in Hong Kong; a moving delivery, which fully preserved the dignity of the occasion. Also worthy of mention was your flawless organisation of the event – very professional. Thank you Gemma, you made a special occasion very special.
Thank you so much for a lovely service, you certainly captured our mum, it was very moving and emotional as expected.
Thank you for the copy of the service too. I will keep this and when I feel ready, I will look through it again.
My dad was really moved by the amount of time and effort put into both. He still chuckles about the “Piss pot helmet” and “bit of a cow” 😁, this has certainly helped when the overwhelming grief hits!
We will be planting the seeds and look forward to seeing some beauty in the coming months.
We wish you well in the future, you are certainly the best we could’ve hoped for to tell Mum’s story.
My first meeting with Gemma was on line due to lockdown but I felt completely comfortable with her.
She asked a variety of questions which made it easy to talk about my mum and her life. The tribute Gemma wrote as a result of our meeting was absolutely beautiful and captured my mum perfectly.
Gemma was very supportive throughout the whole process and although the funeral was obviously very emotional it was also a very personal experience which brought me peace and comfort.
Gemma is a kind, compassionate and intuitive person – I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Gemma was recently the Celebrant at our dads funeral. We couldn’t have wished for a nicer, kinder person. Gemma gave our dad the send off he deserved and we couldn’t have wished for a better person. We would recommend her 100%. Thank you Gemma.
Heather, Peggy and Julie
On behalf of everyone who attended and everyone who watched via the link, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for preparing such a wonderful service in honour of (my husband).
Your words were written and spoken with true affection, as if you had known him well. You became one of our family and helped us through this most difficult of days.
Thank you so much
After initial meeting
Thank you for today’s meeting. I was very impressed with you and how you handled everything. You were very warm and kind and really listened to us.
(Upon receipt of draft)
This is a joy to read and I love the way you have cleverly threaded a cricket theme throughout. The last line is brilliant!
I want to sincerely thank you for supporting us during one of the most sad times in our lives… It meant a great deal that you were able to deliver the service in such a personal way. It seems hard to believe now that you never actually met my Dad! I certainly felt reassured on Tuesday morning when I saw you at the helm (or perhaps I should say the wicket!). I can’t thank you enough Gemma.
Thank you for today, and the support and guidance you have given us over the last week. We are sure that Dad would have approved of the service. I think we all “did him proud” A very happy – sad day
Just a quick note to say thank you for all you did last week to help make our final farewell to Uncle Dave so special. You did a great job.
Hazel, Lee and Katrina
Gemma writes beautiful services and delivers them with incredible attention to detail and compassion. We will certainly recommend you again. Many thanks for all of your help going forward.
Legacy Funeral Services
Thank you for helping us say goodbye on Thursday to D___ A___. We thought you did an excellent job – not least at capturing some of the character and colour of D___’s personality. You helped make a difficult day better. Oh and the red dress was fantastic! D___ would have approved.