photo credit Liz Baker Photography
How my son inspired me to become a celebrant
In 2015, during my pregnancy, my husband and I decided we wanted to celebrate our son's impending arrival but being non-religious we weren't entirely sure what options were open to us.
Having a large blended family it was also a rare opportunity to get everyone together under one roof so we wanted the occasion to feel special.
We settled on a humanist naming ceremony, appointed guideparents, wrote our own promises and took part in a sandblending.
My background had always been focused on people and community - I previously worked with young offenders and most recently adults with learning disabilities.
Over recent years social care work became more about funding and targets and I felt this was getting away from my aspirations to live my life in a positive way by supporting others. As my contract in my social care job was coming to an end, it felt an appropriate time to re-evaluate what was important to me.
I really enjoyed the whole process of planning my son's naming ceremony and felt passionate about helping others celebrate life's milestones so with a little encouragement from my husband I applied to train with Humanists UK.
The rest, as they say, is history.
As a celebrant
I have been a celebrant for 4 years. My celebrant style is relaxed and friendly with a sprinkling of humour. That being said, I take my lead from you!
I am trained, accredited and insured by Humanists UK (find out more about our rigorous celebrant training here)
I am also DBS checked meaning you have peace of mind about the professional service I provide.
Please note, I do not use balloon/lantern releases or animals (except pets, service dogs and emotional support animals) but I will work with clients to find alternative symbolic actions that still fit their brief.
Outside of celebranting
I am a trustee and director of the board for Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service.
I organise mental health events to reduce stigma and isolation.
I am on the steering group for the interfaith Light For Leeds at Abbey House Museum/Kirkstall Abbey, representing humanists.
I am part of the Walk of Art (Horsforth) team.
I am a Postvention Practitioner for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Suicide Bereavement Service i.e. I support people bereaved or affected by suicide, I work to prevent suicide and also work to reduce stigma around suicide.
A whole bunch of stuff, not in any particular order:
reading, Disney, plants and flowers, getting out into nature for walks, handmade jewellery, museums and galleries, the 1950s, anything colourful, macrame, vintage, Alice in Wonderland, cake and tea, tattoo and henna art, African art, photobooths, feminist/female body art and photography, body positive/fat acceptance art, poetry, animals, people!
I have been a humanist since I was around 8 years old although I didn't know there was a name for it! I discovered the label 'humanism' in my early 20s with a sigh of relief that I had found folks who looked at life the way I did, despite others making me feel a bit of an oddbod for it!
I try to live my life as positively as I can; I strive to treat others with dignity, respect and compassion and think about the ways in which I impact on the planet and future generations. I believe in using my time here on this planet to do good and be kind. As Samwise Gamgee said,"there is some good in this world Mr Frodo, and it's worth fighting for"