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Sarah Burley

Celebrant

I am a story teller. I talk about life, not death.

Through their memories and my careful curation, I allow families to remember their loved one and say goodbye in a truly personal way.

Phone 0774 055 4231

Email sarah@sarahburleycelebrant.com

Reviews Trustpilot

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about

WHAT I DO

If you are preparing to say farewell to someone you love, I am here to reassure you that you can do so in a way that is entirely personal to you and the essence of your loved one. I can gently guide you to plan a ceremony which remembers the joyful times and allows you to celebrate their life, while allowing for the sorrowful moments as you mourn their loss and reflect upon your own feelings.  As a funeral celebrant, I will provide you with the flexibility and choice to create a truly unique occasion that will leave you feeling that you have given your loved one the best possible farewell.

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ABOUT ME

When asked how I would describe myself, I always want to do so through the words of a song. I’d like my own loved ones to think of me as forever surrounded by the symphony of my life stories.  I can be vibrant and bold,  and simultaneously reflective and calm. Above all, I would describe myself as joyful with a deep sense of inner peace.  With many years’ experience of event management, both in theatre production and catering, I am uniquely placed to ensure smooth running services that provide a fitting epilogue.

When I’m not planning or taking a ceremony, or talking with clients, I can usually be found walking in one of the local parks, with my beloved spaniels, or singing with my fabulous band. We’re not professionals, but we have loved making soulful, bluesy, jazzy music together for over ten years.

Originally from Dulwich in South London, I have lived in many places, but settled in Hampton in 1995, raising my daughters and working with my husband in the events business, for over 25 years.

I have a BA Hons degree in Theatre Design and as much as I love being on stage and performing, my younger years were spent working behind the scenes of many West End productions and films. Backstage and as a costumier, my role was to ensure the stars of the show were reflected in the best possible light.  I have always continued with the same ethos, because everyone has their own stage and everyone deserves to be the star of their own life story.

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WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

From our first communication, my focus is on creating a bespoke service that fits your wishes and needs, while respecting the wishes of your loved one.

Together we will discuss how to celebrate or commemorate the person who has died. We will plan the service together and I can help advise or suggest suitable music, spoken tributes, poems or any religious passages that you may like to include.

We will then take time to talk about the life of the person you are commemorating so I can write or help you with a eulogy that encapsulates the fullness of the life they lived and not just the loss felt by those left behind.

On the day of the funeral, I  shall arrive with plenty of time at your chosen venue and ensure the service runs just as we have planned. I can lead the way, read the eulogy, or take a more subtle role, so you can say your own farewells, in your own way. 

TALK TO ME

Whether you are already planning the funeral for a loved one, or just want to talk about the options and your own wishes, please feel free to call me when the time is right for you.

If you are looking for supplementary services, I also provide funeral catering. After 30 years running an event catering business, my husband and I still love to assist families with wake planning, funeral catering, venue sourcing and perfect menus. We can ensure that following the funeral service, you can arrive home or into a hired venue, knowing the food and drinks will be ready as you walk through the door. 

LEAVE A REVIEW

If you would like to leave a review about my celebrancy services, please feel free to do so, by email, on Trustpilot or on Google.
 

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WHAT IS A CELEBRANT?

Being a celebrant is about so much more than just standing in a crematorium reading someone’s CV and reciting a few words of wisdom. That’s not what I do.

Really. It’s not.

Similarly, meeting a family when they’re at their most vulnerable is not just ‘tea and sympathy’ which would be insulting to their grief and situation.

Being a celebrant is a voyage of discovery. It’s about truly getting to know a person I can never meet, though the memories and experiences of others. Often family members are feeling utterly bereft and sometimes traumatised by the experience of their loss. Being a celebrant is about understanding those emotions and calmly and kindly helping them to think beyond themselves until they are able to remember the complete life of their loved one. It’s about finding that person and bringing the essence of them with me, finding a meaningful connection, so I can stand in front of their loved ones and talk about life, not death.

 

My difference

If a bereaved family say they want to celebrate the life of their loved one, then you don’t want a celebrant who focuses solely on their death. I’m not the type of officiant who tries to make a funeral service into a grief counselling session. The feelings of loss are already there, without me adding to them.

When families and friends walk out of my service, they usually (and hopefully) believe that I knew their loved one really well, even though we’d never met.

They should walk away thinking of how they loved the person we’ve celebrated, about their life’s adventures, remembering with joy all the incredible times they shared. Yes, we shall have a formal commendation of farewell. There can be prayers and hymns or an entirely non-religious ceremony. That’s a family’s decision.

I’m a story teller of real lives. I’m a presenter, a speaker, a writer and a lover of life and music and joy.

I take the time to weave an elegant script that will truly capture the essence of a person, because I take the time to find out about that person, from their family and friends. A funeral is not about reading a cv. It’s about how they lived, how they felt about the world. I’m a celebrant who will honour the life of a departed loved one, respectfully and with an uplifting spirit. It’s always about honouring their life, after their life has been completed.

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Lucy: Dec 2022

I just wanted to say…thank you so much for the most perfect service for Ma. You were wonderful and the day could not have gone any more fittingly. Everybody agreed that the whole essence of [C] was beautifully captured by yourself and we can’t thank you enough for that.

Naomi: Dec 2022

Hey Sarah, thank you again for yesterday. I don't think we could have nailed a more appropriate send off. Thank you for curating it so perfectly.

Nick:  December 2022

Sarah was such a wonderful match with us, she captured Dad so well and gave him the tribute we felt he deserved, thank you for pairing us with Sarah

Jon Nov 2022

"The celebrant was phenomenal, the dignity and grace and character she brought to the room - wow, I've never seen anyone like it before lead a funeral"

Tom Nov 2022

"Sarah, it is so supremely important to me that we give [H] the right send off and tribute and I'd like to say here thanks for all your efforts in this incredibly short time. You have saved me."

Selina Sept 2022

“The service was wonderful and everyone commented on it xx thanks again Sarah for 'nailing it' for us. My auntie was so pleased with the send off, and [Z] and I didn't want to let her down.... Everyone I've spoken to  have said what a good job you did.”

Mrs C March 23

It has taken me longer than expected to send my thanks to you for your pivot role in the funeral service for [D]

But that does not diminish the depth of my appreciation.  

I will have many happy memories of the day, and these will outline the tears.

Christine

I have had many comments about the authenticity of the service and how it captured [him] so well. I echo these and thank you. 

If you would like to see reviews posted publicly, you can find me on Trustpilot

Lynn June 23

On behalf of all my family, thank you so much for creating and delivering such a beautiful ceremony and eulogy for my Dad, Sarah. I know he would've loved it all and you completely nailed it.

Ann     June '23

I wanted to wait and watch the webcast when it was uploaded before I thanked you.  I felt quite remote from the service and wasn't really taking it in on Monday.  I know everyone said how lovely it was and what a great delivery of the eulogy you gave. I can now agree you delivered the eulogy beautifully, also the whole service and recordings were lovely, so can't thank you enough.

Deb July 23

You just couldn't have captured her any more accurately.   Everyone said that they would have thought you actually knew her ..........that's a great compliment for the way  you understood her
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