Funeral Celebrant Cornwall

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Melanie Richardson

Funeral Celebrant in Cornwall

Liaising with bereaved families and funeral directors, to arrange and conduct tailored funeral services throughout Cornwall and West Devon.

My Story

I am an independent funeral celebrant, covering areas throughout Cornwall and West Devon.  After a varied career in event management, I fulfilled a long-held wish to relocate to the southwest of England, and along with my partner David, moved into our farmhouse on the edge of Bodmin Moor at the end of 2017, where we live with our three cats: Margo, Lenny and Bob.

Embracing all things Cornish, we threw ourselves into the local folk scene and I now dance for a local Morris side, an Appalachian dancing side and enjoy a variety of musical folk nights in the local hostelries. Our new life also gave me the opportunity to train as a funeral celebrant, something I consider to be a vocation, rather than a job.

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Funeral Celebrant in Cornwall

People are often surprised when they discover what I do, but it is an unbelievable privilege to meet with people at often the most difficult time of their lives, and be a trusted guide on an emotional day.

I spent some years working as a listening volunteer with the Samaritans, and my experiences taught me that many are not skilled at coping with, nor talking about death. It’s a natural part of life, as is birth, but we often shy away from broaching the subject, particularly with the recently bereaved. The funeral of a loved one is our final public tribute to someone we have lost, and I work with the family to ensure that the ceremony is fitting and honours their memory.

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The Funeral Ceremony

I meet with the family to discuss all aspects of the ceremony: music, poems, tributes, readings plus all of the elements that make it a unique event. The ‘family meeting’ is an opportunity for all involved to share memories and plan the details of the day. This has been described by families as a cathartic experience, having given them the opportunity to talk openly and freely about the person they have lost, often accompanied by laughter, tears, photographs and numerous cups of tea.

From the information gathered, I write a tailored ceremony which is submitted to the family in advance, giving them the option for requesting amends, should they wish. On the day, I greet the family, lead the ceremony and liaise with the Funeral Director to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Afterwards, I leave the family with a presentation script of the ceremony as a keepsake.

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What Can Be Included in the Funeral Ceremony?

A question I am often asked by families, is about what they are ‘allowed’ to include in the ceremony. The answer is, within reason, whatever they would like. There is no set running order. One family may request multiple pieces of music, another might prefer time for family tributes, whilst another may wish to focus on a photo slideshow and reflection time. It really depends on what is right for them.

Whilst I specialise in non-religious ceremonies, I understand that religious influence is embedded in our everyday life. This often brings great comfort, particularly to the older generation, so I am flexible when asked to include The Lord’s Prayer or a hymn that is particularly meaningful to the family.

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