Daisy Chain Celebrant
Rebecca Lee-Wale

Coronavirus Update

Due to these unprecedented circumstances the way a Celebrant works has had to change. I appreciate your understanding that safety must come first.

I hope you find the following information helpful. Please be in touch with further questions. I would love to help you wherever I can.

Weddings and Life Ceremonies

As Registry Offices are Council owned and run most of them have closed until further notice. You may be able to apply for a simple ‘two + two’ marriage under extreme circumstances (terminally ill for example).
However, we can still discuss your wedding, vow-renewal or naming ceremony to be prepared for the future when gatherings of family and friends can happen again safely.

 

Funerals

The restrictions and guidelines are changing daily. This is not only how your Funeral Director works, but also at each crematorium, cemetery and natural burial ground.

I am working within the guidelines to keep myself, my family and you as safe as possible.

Therefore, I am unable to make home-visits to discuss your wishes, however I am available on the telephone, email, Facetime, WhatsApp, and Zoom.

When we do meet on the day of the service, please do not be offended that I am not shaking hands, and it is heart-breaking I cannot provide a hug of comfort. I will still be there to take over and assist with reading of tributes.

Following the service, I am able to email a PDF copy of the full service for you to share with friends and family or to print to read at a later date, or keep in a memory box.

  • Please do not come to a service if you have any of the well-publicised symptoms, are self-isolating or are in a high-risk category.
  • Not more than 10 people are allowed to a service and please keep the recommended distance from each other (6.5 feet or 2 meters) and to limit the risk of infection to everyone.
  • Allocated service times maybe shorter than normal.
  • There are no hymn books or funeral service books.
  • Please ensure you take away with you any tissues and personal effects.

At many locations:

  • No family members are to carry the coffin.
  • No-one is allowed to approach the coffin (any personal items, flowers and messages must be placed on the coffin before entering the Chapel).
  • The curtain (if there is one) will be closed at the end of the service.
  • Remembrance rooms and some memorial gardens are currently closed.

As I have always said, please do research and phone around to make sure you find and choose a Funeral Director that you are happy with for both cost and attitude. Also, you are not bound by your ‘closest’ Funeral Director or Funeral Location. It’s your choice.

Please look online for an Independent Funeral Director who can often offer flexibility and transparent fees. Please contact me if you would like any advice or look at www.goodfuneralguide.co.uk.

Webcast and Recording

Some locations are able to offer the service of a Webcast or Recording – usually if they have the Wesley or Obitus music system. At some locations this service is currently being offered free-of-charge, at some there is still a fee. However, due to demand, the service may not be ‘web-cast’ LIVE but will be available after 48 hours as a download.

If your location does not have the facility you can always set up a phone/tablet to record the service for yourself and others.

You may wish for family and friends who cannot attend the service to all unite ‘online’, perhaps all listening to the same music and reading the same poem or lighting a candle or planting seeds at the same time. Visit www.angelanddove.com for ideas.

Flowers

Many people would still like a floral tribute, but many florists are closed and supplies of flowers are low. However, there are options.

Firstly check your local independent florist and support a small local business. Mine is www.roseandmary.co.uk

Secondly, supermarkets and grocers still have flowers – choose ones you like and add a ribbon. Even simple daffodils will work. Buy them a couple of days before the service and they will be open, beautiful and shining bright.

Finally, there are always artificial flowers that can be a keep-sake. Not all of them are tacky. Check out the beautifully crafted www.pompomfactory.com or make your own.

Unattended Direct Cremations

This is when the deceased is taken directly to the Crematorium. There is no hearse, no ceremony, no family/friends present. You will receive the ashes back when ready.

This may be very difficult and upsetting to think of. However, sadly, at the moment it’s the ‘living’ that have to be kept safe. The utmost respect and dignity is still taken with the deceased.

Some families are already choosing this option. They feel if they cannot all be together to have the funeral and farewell as they wanted then they will wait until they can hold a big memorial.

It is a possibility we will see a change to mandatory unattended ‘Direct Cremations’ only during the COVID-19 crisis.

There are ways to work with this situation to still have a sense of ceremony and mourning.

In some circumstances a Celebrant can still be present with the coffin to say some words of comfort, a poem, read a tribute, say a prayer or blessing, and read final words of farewell for the Committal. This will depend on your Funeral Director (Independent Funeral Directors will be more flexible on possibilities and fees).

This short but sincere service may be able to be web-cast or recorded. You may wish for family and friends to all unite ‘online’ and light a candle at the same time, perhaps all listening to the same music and reading the same poem. You can collate memories from everyone into a document to share and read.

Plans can be made for a memorial in the future when it is once again safe for everyone to gather.

As a Celebrant I can still lead a Memorial or Celebration of Life in the future. You can have photos, a eulogy, tributes, poems, readings and music. We can still create a personal event in loving memory.

You can then choose the perfect location. Perhaps your home, garden, golf club, cricket club, in a park, a function room at a hotel or even a restaurant.

Look at www.angelanddove.com for ideas and inspiration.

Ashes

At a time when a full gathering at a funeral isn’t possible, and restrictions are in place, perhaps find some comfort in thinking about what you might do with the ashes of a loved one.

The best resource online is www.scattering-ashes.co.uk. The website gives guidance, regulations, links and ideas. You don’t need to keep ashes in a cupboard or on the mantle piece. Many people opt for a simple scattering or internment of ashes for which I can still create a simple and sincere ceremony. However, you only need to keep a little (a teaspoon or so) to create jewellery, paperweights, fireworks, or even sent into space! There is no reason why ashes cannot be split within a family or taken to various locations.

To give you an example of my own mum:
“I went to collect her from the Crematorium, and firstly I didn’t know there would be so much (she was only a little lady!). At home in the kitchen, as my sister and I looked on, my husband separated her between two empty coffee jars!

She ended up being scattered around the pond on the common where she grew up, where her brother was also scattered; on the south coast beach scattered by her best friends; she came to New Orleans, a trip she was meant to be joining me on and we held a small scattering at the bayou; and then I planted some of her in a pot with a small rose bush in the garden”.

I even have some of her in a painting of which you can read more about here: www.intuitiveoils.co.uk/ashes-to-art

In the Press

On the evening of Thursday 26th March 2020, I was called by an Editor of the Guardian Newspaper asking for me to write of my current experiences as a Funeral Celebrant. As there was so much to say the piece was, as expected, edited down, however the following article was published at Midday on Saturday 28th March 2020.

New restrictions on funerals are adding to the heartbreak of bereaved families – Rebecca Lee-Wale

Mothers Day

In 2019 I was honoured to write and deliver the Mothers Day service of remembrance at Mortlake Crematorium. I was looking forward to attending this year to remember my own mum as usual but due to the Corona Virus, understandably the service had to be cancelled.

I realised there were many people at home, who would still like a time and space to remember and so I took the plunge for my first ‘Facebook LIVE’ mini memorial from my little back garden. It’s under 15 minutes, however I didn’t realise the phone had to be ‘portrait’ not landscape! Lesson learnt.

Here it is on Facebook.

A Poem

The Day We spring Cleaned The World – by Louise Gibbons

My daughter asked me to record a video of the poem that brings her comfort in these uncertain and confusing times. (March 2020).

You can watch is here on Facebook

Finally

Grief affects us all. You are not alone. There are many support groups available and I can recommend www.thegoodgrieftrust.com as a starting point to guide you to the most relevant and nearest support group to you.