Rosalie Kuyvenhoven – Winning the National Celebrant Award

About the National Celebrant Award

I was proud and stunned to win the National Celebrant Award in the Category ‘Outstanding Funeral Celebrancy’ in September 2018. National Celebrant AwardHundreds of celebrants had been nominated for the prestigious National Celebrant Awards which recognised outstanding celebrants in wedding and funeral categories. Winners were announced at the National Celebrant Convention for Celebrants. This took place 27th September 2018 in Kettering. What it meant for me to win the award Winning the award was in particular special to me. This is because I was nominated by families I have been working with over the last year. They took time and effort to write detailed testimonials. Examples of how I had supported them in the most difficult times of their lives truly moved me. The following words where shared by the judges: “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. One for a stillborn baby which said ‘She filled the process of saying goodbye with beauty and light and most importantly understanding. Her words are part of how we now remember our baby and will remain so into the future.” Photo of Rosalie Kuyvenhoven winning her National Celebrant AwardI design funeral ceremonies around the person who has died and their family, using a modern and creative approach. I believe a good funeral helps mourn a death, pay tribute to a life lived and can give comfort for the time to come. The award was a true recognition for the work I do. It is also an encouragement to continue to explore alternative ways to embrace death and grief as normal parts of life. To find ways to create a space where feelings and thoughts that come with a loss can be expressed in a truthful way. My journey so far I create and conduct bespoke and inclusive ceremonies for any life event. Since childhood I have been fascinated by the big questions of life and how people use creative expressions to make sense of the profound experiences life throws at them. I studied theology and trained as a minister. However, the church felt too exclusive for me as I wanted to support people of all beliefs and none. Yet, celebrants were yet to be invented back then! For various reasons I changed careers to become a management consultant. I worked for 12 years in the corporate world before my life took a new turn after I had trained with the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants. Becoming a celebrant felt like coming home. It’s a job where all my interests and skills come together. Furthermore as it’s a relatively new profession, there is much room for development and innovation. I founded 'Rituals Today’ in 2015. Then in October 2017 I took the leap to dedicate my time and energy full-time to celebrancy. In addition to creating and conducting ceremonies and rituals:
  • I host Death Cafes
  • Co-host grief training for professionals who work with the bereaved
  • Facilitate Dementia Friends sessions
  • Give talks on the future of funerals and ceremony design.
If you’d like to learn more about my work please check out my website www.ritualstoday.co.uk

David Miles – Funeral Celebrant of the Year

The Good Funeral Awards 2018

I was thrilled to be named the Good Funeral Award Celebrant of The Year 2018 last September. The Good Funerals Award Winner 2018Having been shortlisted alongside those Celebrants who I would considered more experienced, I was totally humbled and honoured to win the award. Despite me winning, I felt I represented a group of brilliant people who provide a unique service to celebrate the lives of unique people. Together, and alongside other Funeral Professionals we are all working to show the ultimate respect to those who have died. It means so much to have been nominated in the first place. Added to the endorsement by the judges, the kindness and respect shown from colleagues within the funeral service (who said such kind things when they knew I had been nominated), as well as my partner and friends has been amazing. I would not be where I am without the initial training and belief from Terri Shanks. Back in 2014 I was a very nervous newbie who entered the room and participated in the Funeral Celebrancy course. My respect and thanks to all at The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants and other Celebrants for their ongoing support. Funeral Celebrant, David Miles, winner of The Good Funerals Award Winner 2018My Background My background is Nursing and Social Work but I had always had an interest in bereavement since my mother died in the 80s. I later trained as a Funeral Director.  When I found Celebrancy, all the skills, knowledge and experience I had gained along the way fell into one place. I am passionate about and love my role which I have been doing full time since April 2017.  Being entrusted to support families when they are most vulnerable is a responsibility I don't take lightly.  Meeting families for the first time is a pleasure. I love listening to their stories and have learned so much about the rich lives their loved ones have experienced. I have understood far more about real social history which taps into my love of history at school. My Work Then comes the creative part. Sitting in front of a blank computer screen to put a persons life into a narrative excites me. That creativity comes in all different shapes and forms from working with a theme. Like linking Abba hits to different parts of the persons life. Or taking the congregation on an imaginary road trip to the places the person had been.  Each ceremony must reflect the person and the biggest compliment (more than the award) is being asked 'How long have you known them?'  as people leave. Yes as a human being, I have made mistakes (like saying mammories instead of memories at a funeral.) I felt the blush from head to toes! But I always learn and hope I show ultimate respect for the Deceased person and their families. The funeral itself is team work.  Every funeral is different and being able to work alongside different Funeral Directors, teams and different crematoria staff is essential.  Together we create a funeral as if it the only one happening. My motivation is and will always be to serve the memory of those who have died and those they leave behind.  The Good Funeral Award received will always be treasured alongside the experiences and learning gained from Funeral Celebrancy. This is a service I am thrilled to be associated with. So I look forward to continuing on this journey. For Further Information, visit: www.davidmilesuk.com.