My name is Jo Walker and i am a funeral celebrant. I am based in South Cambridgeshire but am happy to travel to Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, and Essex. Having worked accross the Counties in my previous and current role, I have a good working knowledge of services and support.
Having retired from the police service in 2019 after 30 years I wanted to find a role that would keep me within public service, working within the community and supporting and helping people through difficult times.
During my time within the force I was a Family liaison officer and as such have worked with families through trauma and bereavement for many years, nationally and internationally. I understand the grief, complexity and difficulty that the death of a loved one brings. Everyone deals with grief and trauma in a different way and it is really important to me that you are supported during this time.
I have worked with coroners and funeral directors over the years, and maintain relationships in my current role with these services. I am well versed in the processes and procedures required and can support families who often understandably find this extremely difficult and confusing at times, particularly in coroner cases, where the death was sudden or unexpected.
Having experienced many funerals, it is so imprtant that the ceremony reperesents the families wishes, and it is my job to ensure that families have a bespoke, true account and tribute for their loved one.
The responsibility of delivering a fitting tribute to your loved one on behalf of the family is an absolute honour and priveledge, and together we will provide the very best service for your loved one.
1989 - Joined Herts Constabulary, Posted to Welwyn/ Hatfield.
1999 - First Herts Officer appointed to the new role of Family Liaison Officer (FLO). Op Alfalfa, a murder without the body ever being traced.
1999 - 2003. Regular deployments as FLO to families following a variety of deaths and major incidents, including Hatfield and Potters Bar Rail Crashes
2003. Selected for training as Family Liaison Co-ordinator and trainer. Tactical lead for Hertfordshire in this arena.
2005. Seconded as National Family Liaison Co-ordinator to Operation Bracknell, The Disaster Victim Identification operation to Identify, Repatriate and Inter those who lost their lives as a result of the South East Asian Tsunami. This involved meeting with families who could not understand how the processes could not be expedited.
I continued to perform duty working as and training FLO/FLC’s alongside my role as a Detective.
2010 - 2013, Detective Inspector, Head of Child Protection. This demanding post thrust me into leading investigations in to Sudden Infant and Child Deaths. Practising and supporting the Family Liaison Role in this field of investigation was testing, demanding yet rewarding.
2014. Detective Chief Inspector, Senior Investigating Officer, Beds, Cambs and Herts Major Crime. An essential thread of any modern investigation, involves working with and respecting the families of victims.
2017. Promoted Detective Superintendent, Head of Major Crime. Responsiblity for the strategic direction of the deparment allowed me to enshrine the principles of respect, openess and honesty for The Families.
2019. Retired as a Sworn Officer. Engaged as Eastern region DVI Co-ordinator. Trained as Funeral Celebrant.
My experiences as outlined, have given me an understanding of the processes leading to internment following death. They have also enabled me to sit with bereaved and work with them to achieve the best possible outcome from a heartbreaking situation.
Although new as a Celebrant, I believe my life experiences will equip me to deal with all manner of deaths. Whilst my preference would be a cheerful goodbye to a loved one, I have the confidence, and ability to lead families no matter how traumatic and upsetting their loss is.
You may be reading this at a time of sorrow and loss, I am here to help you celebrate the life of your loved one in accordance with your wishes, beliefs and values. I served as a Police Officer for 30 years, practising as a Family Liaison Officer for much of that, I know how important it is for families and friends to hear a bespoke, true tribute for their loved one.
Each funeral should be unique, reflect the character and life of the person who died. I will visit family and friends, hear your stories, support you through grief, build on your thoughts and wishes to make sure we best remember your loved one.
I will make all arrangements for you, conducting the funeral on the day. Choice of music, readings, poems, the venue, all for consideration and by no means restricted to tradition and protocol. Whatever it looks and sounds like, I want us to say farewell in the most uplifting and positive way possible.
The responsibility of delivering a fitting tribute on behalf of Family and Friends is an honour and priviledge. Together we will create a memorable experience.