Celebrating love and life in Scotland is the most amazing and rewarding ‘work’ that I have ever done. I love going home and abroad too to conduct personal humanist weddings, vow renewals and elopements. Elope to our garden on the beach at Ayrshire!
I’ve been a Celebrant for over 18 years and conducted over 3000 ceremonies of different kinds. Over the years I have been in front of around 300,000 people - it's a lot when you add it up!
I speak advanced (nearly fluent) Spanish and passable French and Italian which is welcome in ceremonies quite often.
Celebramos vuestra ceremonia en Castellano, Una boda humanista en español.
In the past I managed to escape working at the Scottish Government where I advised the Health Minister on ‘involving people’. I am now a consultant on the same topic, which means I can have a posh freelance job title (lol) and be flexible to do what I really want to do – celebrate life and love!
What Celebrate People means to me
I do not like labels - even the 'humanist' limiting one. People are people and who they are is precious and unique and I respect that we are all different. Celebrating People to me means being human and all that that means – caring, spiritual, compassionate, listening, sharing, being as kind to the earth as I can be, truly embracing diversity and ‘difference’, challenging barriers to inclusion
Conducting funerals is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. To be there for people, to really listen and try to understand how I can do my part to remember their loved one’s life. I believe everyone has the right to be remembered, even celebrated, no matter what they have chosen as their life’s path. When people say ‘it’s like you knew her’ or ‘He would have loved that’, then I feel that I have done the best I can do to let the healing begin.
I am also a qualified counsellor psychotherapist and Cross Professional Values Based Supervisor, supporting those in the helping professions, so very experienced in grief issues and end of life issues. I love especially to be involved in the celebrations of life of people who have had additional barriers or challenges for example people with learning difficulties or LGBT+ people. Equality is my passion - complete equality - not just a little bit.
I’ve been a celebrant since 2007 and I love it! I started by offering families support with their loved ones' funerals, couples with celebrations of commitment and naming ceremonies.
In 2010 I had the great joy of conducting my first legal marriage ceremony. I am now so excited about the being able to marry all people. I conducted one the first humanist lesbian wedding a few minutes after midnight when Scottish equal marriage became legal on 31st December 2014! I married my good friends Chris and Jooles shortly after Gerrie and I were married, then Gerrie married Aynsleigh and Chloe. It was a momentous occasion and I can highly recommend getting married! It's fantastic!
I am self-employed and all my work involves people at its centre. My life’s career focuses on equality, disability, health and social care. For me this complements my work as a celebrant, really helping me understand people from their own life experiences. In 2016 I was awarded "Scottish Gay icon Award" for my decades of disability and other equality work. I was very proud! Then I received a CBE in the New Years Honours List 2019 for the work I've done on Human Rights for disabled people and LGBT+ people. That was a shock and I am honestly humbled!
We live in a big rambling house on the beach at Prestwick Ayrshire and travel between there, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire, and Dumfries and Galloway. On occasion I travel all over Scotland so get to see many parts of our beautiful country.
In the rest of my life I am also busy but above all friends and family are important to me. My partner Gerrie and I have been together for nearly 25 years years and we have seen our five children grow in to wonderful young people – beautiful too but I’m a biased mother!