Thursday, 18 July 2013

UK Society of Celebrants: Newsletter – July 2013

Hello to All Our Newsletter Subscribers

Well, the weather is certainly with us for Family & Funeral Celebrants alike. We have had reports that our Family Celebrants are particularly busy this summer and the weather also helps to engender that “feel good” factor.

Celebrant Training
Due to the renewed popularity of our Distance Learning Celebrant Training Courses, we are withdrawing the Personal Tuition Celebrant Training Courses from August 1st. Personal Tuition Celebrant Training will continue to be available ONLY to new Franchise applicants.

Celebrant Tales
Many thanks for all the entries to our “Celebrant Tale” competition. Jade Gracie from Manchester is the winner for June 2013 and she has already received her £25 Amazon voucher for the following tale. Thanks Jade.

“Geoff a widower, of Anglo-Scottish decent was 60 when he died suddenly after a short illness on July 1st. He leaves behind a close & loving sizeable family. Geoff’s funeral was held at a popular and beautiful East Lancashire crematorium, which was less than 1 mile away from his home, from where, he and the mourners all processed to the crem.

The bereaved chose to have a themed funeral, where everyone was asked to attend in colourful summer clothing (weather permitting) including myself as the Funeral Celebrant. The theme was a tribute to Geoff’s favourite hobby of SCUBA Diving in sunnier climes.

The funeral was held on July 8th and the weather did not disappoint. There were approximately 120 mourners who all complied with the dress theme. The venue for the funeral ceremony at the crematorium was light and bright and all the windows were thankfully wide open, providing a welcomed breeze. At the front was a life sized picture of Geoff in his SCUBA gear, sporting what I can only described as a tartan onesie and smiling eyes, under water, swimming with a large blaupunkt ray. Scary, funny & beautiful at the same time.

The funeral ceremony itself was a joyous & upbeat occasion celebrating the life of a popular man until the non-religious benediction. The family wanted Amazing Grace, by a Scottish singer that Geoff adored, to be played in the background during the benediction and the time the mourners left the ceremony. I introduced the song and gave the agreed cue to the crematorium staff to “press play” but nothing happened for about 10 seconds, except non-verbal communication being exchanged between me and the staff. (the cd player had died)

After this pregnant pause, from nowhere and at considerable volume the unmistakeable drone of a set of bagpipes filled the room from outside one of the open windows. The piper was playing Amazing Grace. An air of disbelief was palpable which quickly turned in to raucous laughter then slipped into a few tears being shed.  In a split second, I decided to carry on regardless.

Even with the PA turned up, it was a struggle for me to be heard doing the benediction above the haunting bagpipe lament, but no one seemed to notice. It was certainly the first time I have had to speak over, live bagpipes and laughter at a funeral ceremony.

Later the bereaved commented that the ceremony could not possibly have gone better, they wished they had thought of having a live piper in the first place – in hindsight I agree.

For your information – the ceremony immediately prior to Geoff’s was an all Scottish affair and they had the piper (Andy McVeigh) play their choice of music. Andy was stood outside in all his finery with his pipes, having a crafty cigarette, where he overheard Geoff’s ceremony and realised that there was a problem with the final piece of music, he stepped in  – spooky, or what!

I was honoured to be invited to Geoff’s  “wake” – needless to say, the theme continued. Geoff’s garden played host to a wonderful beach party. When I say beach, there was a sandpit in the garden that Geoff had made for his grandchildren and several “water blasters”.

I think the whole day was one to remember and that Geoff’s family and friends got to say goodbye in style, thanks in no small part to the benevolence of one Andy McVeigh.”

Anyone wishing to submit their “Celebrant Tale” for next month’s newsletter must do so by or on 15th August 2013. A £25 Amazon Voucher will be awarded to the winning Celebrant.

That is Not Us!
It has been brought to our attention that there is a “new kid on the block” in that there is a new celebrant services provider with a similar name to the UK Society of Celebrants. We do not have a problem with this; however, we affirm that to the best of our knowledge there is no relationship, professional or otherwise with the Celebrant Society.

UKSoC Go Mobile
If you are minded, please have a browse round the UK Society of Celebrants website. We have now produced a version of the website for mobile devices & listed all of our related blogs under “BLOG”. It is our intention to run a series of regular resource articles on each of our blogs, relevant to each area of Celebrancy practice.

Guest Writers
Once again, invitations are extended to you all to submit celebrant related articles/ guest blogs / editorial for inclusion in either our newletters or blogs. Of course, all submissions, when published online will be “back linked” to you and you will be given credit on the post.

We have been sounding out a number of our UKSoC  Members about the possibility of introducing a Premium Android Tablet  (Sony Xperia S/Z) which contains all you need to practice as a celebrant and much more. The package includes  writing libraries, script templates, music, celebrant training aids, bespoke – work specific cloud, blog, facebook, skype & twitter interfaces, celebrant specific apps and Office Pro. Everything would be setup pre-delivery and is only available to UKSoC Members. The cost is anticipated to be between £250 & £400 depending on which device is adopted.

We have 4 such tablets currently on trial – any suggestions from fellow celebrants would be most welcome i relation to content and cost.

That’s it for this month. Until next Time. Be Well.

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