Funeral Celebrant in West Sussex
Hello, my name is Jonathan Hughes, your funeral celebrant in West Sussex/Surrey and surrounds and the owner of Elderwood Celebrants. Born in the UK, I spent most of my school years and until recently, my working life, in South Africa. Last year I returned home to England and now live with my partner, herself a renowned celebrant, in the picturesque village of Copthorne in Crawley.
Much of my professional life was centred around sales, added to which I undertook a number of personal development courses, including person centred counselling, grief counselling, emotional intelligence and project management. I love reading and my literary hero has to be Sherlock Holmes - so much so that I even used him in my celebrant training!
My previous career was exceptionally people-focussed, and these skills proved invaluable as I embarked on an exciting new chapter - studying with the UK Society Of Celebrants and qualifying as a Funeral Celebrant. Thomas Campbell said, “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die” and so I put great store in delivering a personalised ceremony that reflects the values, beliefs and preferences of the deceased and their loved ones. Of paramount importance is working closely with the family, listening to their stories and memories and incorporating them into the service. This creates a meaningful and heartfelt tribute and ensures that the service is a true reflection of the person’s life and provides solace for the bereaved.
I endeavour to deliver a eulogy that strikes just the right balance between solemnity and warmth, ensuring that the ceremony remains dignified and impactful. While funerals are typically sombre occasions, I strongly believe that there is a place for humour during the ceremony which serves as a powerful tool for healing and celebrating the life of the deceased. Humour, when used respectfully and appropriately, can help alleviate tension, provide moments of relief and invoke fond memories and laughter amid the grief. It can be a way to honour the unique personality and spirit of the person who has passed, showcasing their ability to find joy and bring smiles to others – let’s face it, we English do love a good laugh!
Music is also an incredible tool to help remember the life of a loved one. A favourite song or musical montage makes for a highly poignant shared experience. I can never listen to The Eagles singing “Hotel California” and not think fondly of my own father who passed away in 2001 at the age of 59.
Why Elderwood Celebrants? The symbolism of the elder tree is rich in meaning and significance including regeneration, forgiveness, stability, protection, healing and prosperity. Elders are often found in the grounds of cemeteries and have long been associated with death and rebirth. In many cultures, the elder tree is thought to be a gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead. No matter whether you believe in its magical properties or not, you have to admit the elder tree makes an evocative emblem for a service which deals with the sensitive issue of ensuring a fitting farewell.
While each individual’s journey through grief is deeply personal and subjective, I know that by incorporating my training, perspectives and insights, I can create a dignified, meaningful and heartwarming ceremony which is respectfully crafted to give you and your family solace and your loved ones the send-off they deserve, I look forward to chatting to you and if you would like to learn more about me, please feel free to visit my LinkedIn profile page below.