Celebrating sucess: National Celebrant Awards

The first National Celebrant Awards were presented at the National Convention for Celebrants on 27 September at Kettering Conference Centre in Northamptonshire.

Despite it being the first year of the awards there were hundreds of nominations, giving the judges a very hard task. At the awards, organiser Anne Barber, Managing Director of Civil Ceremonies Ltd, praised every single celebrant nominated and said that the standard had been extremely high.

The judges in the Funeral Celebrant category were Fran Hall of the Good Funeral Guide, Natasha Bradshaw of Mortlake Crematorium and the ICCM, and Graham Lymn, interim CEO of the NAFD.

The award for Most Promising Funeral Celebrant went to Fiona Brown. The judges felt that Fiona gave each of her families something extra and were impressed by the little things that showed how much she puts into her work.

The runner-up in the category for Most Promising Funeral Celebrant was Christine Mabbott who received a number o f nominations from both funeral directors and families. The judges felt her time spent with families and attention to detail made her a very close runner-up.

The winner of Influencing the Wider Profession was Emma Curtis. Emma received many nominations from those who recognised her effort in launching Celebrant Support to assist celebrants with CPD and further training.

The runner-up in the category Influencing the Wider Profession was Kate and Kate Celebrants. Not only do Kate and Kate run a coffin club but nominations stated how they work tirelessly in their local area to empower people and give them the funeral they really want.

The winner of Outstanding Funeral Celebrant was Rosalie Kuyvenhoven. Rosalie had nominations from both funeral directors and families, but what set her apart was that some of her nominations came from funerals in very difficult circumstances. This caring and sensitive celebrant was a clear winner for the judges.

The runner-up of Outstanding Funera l Celebrant was Wendy Coulton. The number of nominations Wendy received shows how much she is respected in the Plymouth area.

The Celebrants Convention

The 2018 Convention was packed full of workshops on various aspects of funeral celebrancy that delegates could choose for themselves. The day was kicked off with a lively presentation by James Norris, founder of the Digital Legacy Association, giving information that was invaluable, both professionally and personally, about what happens to online assets when someone dies.


Workshops included ‘More choice than coffee’, presented by Wendy Coulton who inspired delegates to find the right place for a funeral ceremony.

The new Funeral Celebrancy Council ran interactive sessions on the ‘Future of Funeral Celebrancy’, exploring the role of the celebrant and standards of practice.

Actress Melanie McHugh concentrated on poetry-reading skills in the workshop to ‘Upskill your Poetry Delivery Technique’ and a hugely successful Death Café was run by Emma Curtis, who also held a session on how to host and facilitate your own meeting.

Social media expert Steve Castledine explored ‘The three most important things to know about social media’ while accountant Duncan Childs discussed ‘Financial efficiency for your business’, answering many questions about tax and other accounting issues.

Rosalie Kuyvenhoven asked: ‘Are you a Dementia-Friendly Celebrant?’ and presented the workshop on dementia awareness.

Throughout the day, delegates also had the opportunity to visit the exhibition area in between the workshop sessions. In the closing session delegates overwhelmingly supported the workshop-style format, so this will be the blueprint for the 2019 Celebrants Convention.

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