Celebrating life events

sarah willisPlanning a funeral may sound like a strange choice of subject for the Girls Around Town but, as this week’s guest Sarah Willis explains, a civil ceremony is first and foremost a celebration of the life of the person who has died.

As a member of the Institute of Civil Funerals (IoCF), Sarah has conducted literally hundreds of these ceremonies since she became a civil celebrant in 2007.

Described by the IoCF as funerals “driven by the wishes, beliefs and values of the deceased and their family, not by the beliefs or ideology of the person conducting the funeral”, they sit between a religious service and a humanist funeral.

It’s Sarah’s job to help the family plan the ceremony and work with them to choose the music, readings, poems and even slideshows. “At the heart of it all is a written tribute to the person who has died, telling the story of their life and celebrating their character, beliefs and achievements,” she says. “So a civil celebrant needs to be a good writer and storyteller, able to speak well in public and above all to be a good people-person.”

Sarah is also called upon to help celebrate other life events, such as naming ceremonies and renewals of vows – to find out more, tune in or listen online when Sarah joins June, Tina and Sue between 10am and 12 noon on Sunday…