“Empathy, poetry … and a sense of humour”
Now just embarking on my sixties, I have come to this profession late in life. Before this I had a very varied career and have lived in different cities and countries, something that has helped build an ability to relate to people in all sorts of circumstances.
I have known my share of loss – the death of close friends and relatives. And I have attended numerous funerals and memorial services, both good and, sometimes, very bad.
Having helped put together eulogies and memorials for friends and relatives and having been the celebrant at my own father’s memorial, I realized that this was something I wanted to do professionally. I trained with Neil Dorward, Scotland’s first Civil Funeral Celebrant, earning the Certificate with Distinction from his company (Bespoke Civil Ceremonies now the Celebrant Training Academy) in 2018.
The key qualities I bring to this work are empathy, an ability to listen and a talent for story-telling. A keen sense of humour coupled with the ability to judge when this is appropriate. Above all, a strong belief in the power of the spoken word. I am a member of a creative writing group, and I take enormous pleasure in reciting poetry and stories.
As a gay man, I have a special understanding of the sensitivity often needed when conducting ceremonies for LGBTQ people.
I’ve now been working as a celebrant since early 2019 – you can read more about my experience and training. And if you would like to know more about me and where I work don’t hesitate to get in touch or watch this short video interview made by my fellow celebrant, Angela Maughan.
(Y por último, hablo español….)
Michael Hannah, October 2019