Saturday, 17 May 2014

Staffordshire Celebrant - How to choose your Celebrant

So, you've decided on having a Celebrant to perform your ceremony. Where do you go first? What do you need to know?

In the UK there is no requirement for formal training to become a practising Celebrant. This will probably change as the use of Celebrants in the UK increases, as it is rapidly doing!

Your first question I would suggest should therefore be "Who did you train with?". I trained with The UK Society of Celebrants and received first class tuition. This resulted in a Diploma and a membership card being issued. My advice, no training? No booking.

How busy is your chosen Celebrant? A good indication is that they are very busy and booked well in advance. Hopefully not too busy to fit you in though. Book your Celebrant at the same time that you book your venue and other professional services.

So where do you find your Celebrant? If you search the Internet with something like "(your town) celebrant" you should get some results. Many of the better Celebrant training companies have directories of Celebrants to make it easier for you to find one. Ask family, friends and colleagues, they may have used a Celebrant's services and be able to recommend someone.

Once you have made contact get to meet the Celebrant face to face. You may get an impression over the phone or the Internet but meeting in person is always preferable. Skype or a similar video calling facility may be a suitable alternative if distance is an issue.

As I mentioned earlier there are Celebrants and there are Celebrants. Doctors, Dentists, Builders, Plumbers. you name the trade or profession, there are good and bad in all of them, Celebrants are no different. 

Some Celebrants do the job as a 'filler' and work full time in an office or factory. Will they give you the time and attention you need? Some are not formally trained. Will they be up for the job? Very often these two scenarios are found together.  

You need a Celebrant who is trained, focused on the job and prepared and able to meticulously plan and produce your event faultlessly.
They will help ensure your ceremony is personal, well planned and will have considered things all options and eventualities. 

Even though a ceremony can be short, there are many aspects to consider which a professional and experienced Celebrant will make sure are covered. 

Don’t be afraid to ask how many ceremonies your Celebrant has done. If they seem unsure of things or aren’t very helpful you may want to meet with some other Celebrants before making your decision! 

Some specialise in Weddings. Namings and Renewal of Vows Usually referred to as Family Celebrancy. Other specialise in Funeral Celebrancy. 
Some, like myself are training in both family and funeral Celebrancy and can cover all ceremonies.

If you don't like the Celebrant you have contacted, then don't book them. There are enough around to give you a choice and it is critical that you enjoy a close and pleasant professional relationship. You will be working very closely together so you need to get on.

Most Celebrants will charge a fee for their services in preparing and presenting your ceremony. The prices they charge will vary according to their experience and professionalism. The old saying “you pay for what you get” can be very true in the case of Celebrants and you may want to consider putting aside a reasonable budget to make sure you get the right person. When talking about price, make sure you know the full cost including any extras you choose.

Having the right Celebrant will help ensure your ceremony will go smoothly and become a memorable day whatever the occasion, happy or sad. 

My advice? Book a full time, professionally trained one.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Stephen Sutton - My Tribute to a brave and selfless man

Stephen Sutton was probably one of the bravest and philanthropic individuals this country has or possibly will ever see.

As of today Stephens’s original £10000 fundraising target has achieved over £3,500,000! And continues to grow daily helping The Teenage Cancer Trust continue its good works with our young people in need.
Stephen was born on 16 December 1994, I am proud to say we share the same birthday.
He attended both primary and secondary school in his home town Burntwood.
Stephen was always very active in sports and a high achiever academically attaining straight A’s from the Chase TerraceTechnology College. My understanding was that he had been interviewed by Cambridge University where it was his intention to study medicine. Stephen withdrew his application when he found that his cancer was in fact incurable.
After his diagnosis, Stephen began participating in charity events to help raise funds and the profile of The Teenage Cancer Trust and followed this with his very own website and blog in early 2013. Stephen was also very prominent on Facebook and Twitter.
With unexpected but very welcome support the funds target soon rose to £100000 and a little later £500000!
A short while ago in March of this year the goal was raised to an unbelievable £1000000. Stephen never seemed daunted by the increased targets he just drove himself harder to hit it.
Stephen has received fantastic support on his journey by such notable celebrities as Jimmy Carr, Jonathan Ross and in particular Jason Manford. Jason donated £10000 personally and gave over an entire months proceed from his new comedy club in Birmingham. He subsequently launched the now viral #thumbsupforStephen on Twitter. 
 Stephen hit his £1000000 target on 23rd April after his now famous Thumbs Up selfie was broadcast on Twitter, which he believed would be his last.
Ever the fighter Stephen was discharged from hospital on 2nd May and got straight back into his PR role meeting with The Prime minister that same day! Stephen was still fundraising on 4th May when he was a participant in a Guinness World Record for the most people making a heart shaped gesture. As you will imagine it was set as a new world record, Stephen didn’t ever fail to achieve.
Sadly Stephen, despite his incredible strength of character and determination still couldn’t beat his dreadful illness and on 14th May in the early hours of the morning he slipped away from us all forever.
Stephen I’m sure will however live on.
He will live on in the hearts and minds of those whose lives he touched.
He will live on in the great work of The Teenage Cancer Trust 
He will live on here in his hometown of Burntwood who will never forget their most famous Son.
He will of course remain in the hearts and minds of his parents and family and my heart goes out to them as a parent and grandparent myself. I simply cannot imagine how they must feel right now but hope that with the passage of time the pain of loss eases and this will be helped by Stephens’s legacy to the world of kindness and pure selflessness.
Stephen. We will not forget you. You were a very special person, one that only comes along and touches our lives on very rare occasions. Sleep well in peace.
Stephen Sutton (16 December 1994 – 14 May 2014) Truly a great man.