Award winning moment for Viv O’Neill

Funeral celebrant Viv O’Neill was presented with the Institute of Civil Funerals’ (IoCF) prestigious Marilyn Watt award at the annual conference at the Yarnfield Conference Centre in Stone, Staffordshire.

An informative and diverse programme – covering subjects from high profile funerals to funeral poverty, modern day ‘Neolithic’ burial to the emergence of the funeral celebrant, disaster deployment to body donation – was launched by the weekend’s keynote speaker, Alun Tucker, Executive Chairman of SAIF, who highlighted the rapid change which the funeral profession is undergoing.

In explaining the increasingly complex arrangements that funeral directors and arrangers have to make to meet their clients’ better informed expectations, Alun endorsed the high standard and quality of the funeral ceremonies which IoCF celebrants provide. Alun also highlighted the professionalism with which IoCF celebrants work to meet the needs of families who want a unique funeral that is personal for their loved one.

Delegates enjoyed a presentation dinner on the Saturday evening when their hard work and dedication was acknowledged with a number of certificates and awards.

The final presentation of the evening was the prestigious Marilyn Watts award. This award is donated annually by the IoCF President, Anne Barber, and was instigated by her in memory of her close friend and fellow founder member of the Institute. Marilyn was renowned for her acceptance of ‘nothing less than perfect’ in the quality of the funeral scripts written and delivered by IoCF celebrants and was dedicated to the work of the Institute.

Each year the award is made to an IoCF member who has demonstrated equal commitment to the Institute and worked with professionalism and dedication.

Viv O’Neill is based in Cambridgeshire and has been a member of the IoCF for 10 years. Over that time, she has provided the very best in civil funeral ceremonies and has represented the Institute at industry events; organised the IoCF annual conference for three years; served as a council member; supported the training and mentoring of new celebrants and IoCF members and has been a fierce defender of the Institute’s high standards.

Speaking on behalf of the IoCF council of management, Chair Christine Ogden said: “Viv has always been dedicated to her work as a funeral celebrant and is well respected by the funeral directors with whom she works. She has been, and I hope will continue to be for some time to come, a brilliant ambassador for the Institute.”


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