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June Hearsey

My name is June Hearsey and I am an Independent Funeral Celebrant.

Eight years ago, I began my own business "A Fond Farewell" my background in bereavement spans almost 30 years having worked for Carlisle City Council in Bereavement Services as manager and which covers the crematorium and cemeteries in Richardson Street, Upperby and Stanwix.

I hold a Diploma of the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management which includes subjects at HNC level in Bereavement and Cemetery and Crematorium Law.

A funeral service is the chance to say farewell to a loved one in a meaningful way and should reflect the individuality and uniqueness of each person. It is my aim and always has been to ensure that I offer a sensitive, respectful and personalised service for all my families at one of the most difficult times in their lives.

Although most of my services are secular or non- religious, I am more than happy to include prayers, hymns and bible readings should the family so wish.


Music can play an important role in the service and can bring back so many memories of happy times spent with your loved ones. I conducted my own dad’s funeral and we sang two of his favourite Nat King Cole songs, as I looked out at his family and friends everyone was smiling as they sang along, remembering how he loved to sing.

I am here to help in any way I can, I can offer guidance and support to ensure you have the funeral service that you want, the choice is yours.

Derek Donaldson

My name is Derek Donaldson and I have been working as an Independent Funeral Celebrant since 2011 having previously worked as both a Funeral Director and then as a Crematorium Technician.


However, it was in 1991 when I officiated at my first funeral service as at that time I was employed by the Methodist Church in Carlisle as a Pastoral Assistant. Since then I have also been employed as a Probation Officer.


Carlisle born and bred, I have lived in the city all my life.


I am happy to take either religious or non-religious services, to meet with the families wishes. 


We only get one chance with a funeral and I do everything I can to ensure that the service meets with everyone's expectations.

Andrea Keenan

I'm Andrea Keenan and I am a heart led celebrant,  living in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, with my husband and daughter. I began my celebrant career in 2020, and despite the difficulties we faced throughout that year, I know it's the best decision I have ever made.I am thankful every day to be able to do my work, collecting stories, sharing joy and experiences,  supporting and guiding people throughout pivotal life moments.It's my belief that someone's story should be treated with the utmost care and compassion. We all bring a different energy to the world and it is such a privilege for me to meet people and be trusted to tell a story, with care and love.

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Benet Waterman

My name is Benet Waterman and I am a fully qualified Independent Funeral Celebrant.


As I am not bound by any one particular approach to the funeral, this gives me a freedom in supporting those planning the Funeral Service and helps to ensure that the personal wishes of the person who has passed are fully respected and their life honoured.


Our society continues to grow and change in relation to personal views on matters of faith and death and dying, and increasingly people are looking for ways to 'say their own farewell' in their own way. Indeed, many people now plan their own Funeral Service.


I believe that just as we get only one chance to make a first impression, so we have only one chance to say our final farewell in a sensitive, respectful and personal way and for this reason I am wholly committed to personalised funeral services.


It would be my privilege to support you.

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Vikki Pounder

I am Vikki Pounder, an Independent Funeral celebrant.  In 2010 after attending a Grief care course in my local Church, I was given the opportunity to study a funeral course through The Church of Scotland.  Due to other work commitments of running my own shop I did not take any services until 2017 when having no local Ministers to conduct services in the Church I agreed to support the local Funeral Directors. 

Through this I came to understand what a privilege it is to help a family at one of the most difficult times when a loved one dies, and to work closely with them to organise the best and most suitable service whether that be non-religious or have some religious influence.  


Your service for your loved one is extremely important, so I will spend time with you to understand the person who has died, their likes, their family ties, work, hobbies, any little quirks you would be happy to mention, and anything that influenced their lives and your life with them. With this I can work with you to offer guidance and support and ensure you have a service which is relevant to the wishes of you and your loved ones. 


I would be privileged to support you through this most difficult time.

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Stuart Stokell

My name is Stuart Stokell and I’ve had the privilege to have been involved in the funeral industry since becoming the organist in the crematorium of my home town, Hartlepool at 17.  Since then, I’ve played for in excess of 2,000 funerals both in churches and crematoria and have been officiating as a celebrant since 2015. 


I hold a first class degree in Performing Arts and spent 13 years as a university lecturer specialising in singing.  I’m also a pianist, choral conductor and organist.  I was thrilled to have received the B.E.M. in The Queen’s New Years Honours 2021 for ‘Services to the Community in Brampton, Cumbria’.


After arranging and speaking at the funeral of my best friend back in 2012, the funeral director said that I had a delivery that really brought people in and that I really should become a funeral celebrant.  After a couple of years and a rethink in my career, I decided that indeed it was something that I wanted to do.


We’re all different and I believe passionately that because of that, no two funerals should be the same.  A funeral ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the life of someone you care deeply about and by sharing fun and happy memories in a relaxed, approachable and friendly way can take the dread of the ceremony away and turn it into an event that you’re proud to put together to honour your loved one.  


The ceremonies I lead tend to be very much life focussed and are often humorous - although still respectful, of course - and have been described as; “life affirming, uplifting, fun, quirky and unique” and the greatest compliment of all is that I’m regularly mistaken for having known the deceased personally because of how they’ve been captured in the ceremony. 

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Jaqui Thompson

Hello, I’m Jaqui and have loved living in the Scottish Borders for almost 10 years with my husband, Paul and our cat, Willow. I am a huge animal lover and a keen up-cycler.  I always have something on the go and my husband checks the calendar to find out if I am available to cook dinner, or if it is his turn, again!


After many years in the corporate world, I decided to make a change and do something I feel is more rewarding and meaningful.  Becoming a celebrant is a long-held ambition and I am delighted to have achieved accreditation in this wonderful career.


I am a creative writer with a flair for bringing personal stories to life.  Through listening to you tell me about your loved one and the memories that are most meaningful to you, I will create a personal ceremony which will reflect the person we are remembering, capturing the essence of who they were. 


As an independent celebrant, there are no restrictions on the content of the ceremony. You may choose to include something to reflect your loved one’s heritage, beliefs or other life journey. However you choose to remember your loved one, I will help you to celebrate their life.

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Kirstie Jackson

As a professionally training Funeral Celebrant, I will help create a truly personal funeral ceremony that is exactly as you wish it to be. It will be based entirely around the wishes and values of the family and will be a completely bespoke service. I will write a service that will honour and celebrate each person’s life.


As a civil celebrant, I am happy to include religious elements such as hymns and prayers if requested. Often families don’t want a religious service and want it less about God and more focused on the deceased. I am able to add content that cannot  acknowledge different faith paths too.


Not everyone wants the same type of funeral and I will meet with you to discuss the ceremony fully. You will be able to
check the content before the service and I will give you a full copy of the service afterwards to keep.

The ceremony will capture the very essence of the person and tell the story of the life that has been lived.

Glynis Milburn

My name is Glynis Milburn and I am an Independent Funeral Celebrant.

After retiring in 2013 from being a Lay Minister in the Anglican Church, during which I either officiated or assisted at many funerals both in Church and Crematorium,  I was asked by several friends to officiate at their loved ones funerals.  From there Funeral Directors contacted me and I was eventually persuaded to take on the role of an Independent Celebrant.

Saying a final farewell is one of the most traumatic and stressful times in life, I am here to try and take some of that stress away.  I always put myself in the families place and would like to think that I give them the respect, sensitivity and care that I would wish for myself. I meet with the family or whoever is organising the funeral and get to know them and also to find out as much as possible about the person they have loved and have now passed on.  That way I can tailor each funeral as personal and memorable as possible whether it is a Christian or Secular Service, the family’s wishes always come first.

I am only a telephone call away at any time, to offer support, guidance and care, through and after the service. It would be an honour and a privilege for me to assist you through this time.

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Kerrie Low

With life there is death and sadly there is so much to think about during this difficult and emotional time. Saying goodbye to a loved one is no easy task. 

Utilizing the skills of a Professional Funeral Celebrant can help immensely. As an Independent Celebrant, I will work closely with you and your Funeral Director to ensure respect, dignity and understanding at all times.

Creating an end of life service is an emotional journey. I will take the time to listen and capture what is really important to you at this sad time.

To create a personalized tribute, I will write the funeral service from the heart, accurately depicting the deceased to pay tribute to their life.


As your Celebrant, my role is to ensure that you and your family feel safe and confident in my ability to deliver a service that will support you.


I will guide you and give structure, and I’m there to offer assistance with choosing appropriate readings and music if needed.

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Phil Kenyon

My name is Philip Kenyon, I am an Independent Funeral Celebrant and member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants.

I was born in Lancashire, have lived and worked throughout the country and now
live in Lockerbie Dumfriesshire, with my wife and daughter.

I retired following a forty year career in retail management. Many of the skills I developed over this time help me to support families now at their time of need.

With an interest in public speaking, I am an active member of our local Speakers Club, and was its President in 2022. I volunteer for the Annandale Community Transport Service when I can. A keen but average golfer, I enjoy travel and am currently learning Spanish.

My motivation for being a Celebrant today, is borne out of the personal experiences of how past family funerals have made me feel. I believe the most rewarding and memorable services are where family and friends are involved either in the preparations or on the actual day.

As an Independent Celebrant I can tailor a service to respect those of all faiths and those of non. Some services may be totally non-religious where as others may include prayers, hymns, or poems to personally reflect an individual’s spirituality and beliefs.

Most importantly, each service is created individually. I actively encourage all those who wish to take part in the service to do so by way of spoken, written, musical or photographic tribute, alternatively families may like to participate simply by choosing appropriate music or poems.

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