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Penny McCarthy Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire
The death of someone we love is one of the most painful experiences we ever have to face, and saying our farewells in a way that instinctively feels right, allowing us to express our feelings of loss and sorrow, while also honouring and celebrating their life, is an important part of the healing process
I’m a qualified and experienced Civil Funeral Celebrant, working with bereaved families to create funeral ceremonies that fulfil these needs.  Every part of a ceremony I co-create with a bereaved family is individual, designed to reflect the personality and beliefs of the person who has died.
From the words of welcome which open the ceremony, to the words of comfort which close it; from the telling of the story of a life that has been lived, to the words of farewell (sometimes called the committal), spoken as we let go of the life that has ended. From words of wisdom drawn from the work of great writers and poets, to music that was significant to the person who has died, or which expresses an important sentiment. And when words aren’t enough, using symbols that have the power to express more potently what we feel - an open book, the lighting of a candle (where permitted by the venue), the placing of objects important to the person who has died.
A good funeral is like a journey. We arrive, feeling lost and in pain, perhaps unable to really accept that the person we loved has died. Through words, music and symbolic actions, we acknowledge the pain and loss we feel, we honour, respect and celebrate all that was good about their life before formally saying our farewells. And funerals aren’t necessarily all sad - as we remember the life of our loved one and all the joy we shared with them, there will be smiles, too, and even laughter.
And when we ‘get it right’ we leave at the end feeling changed, somehow better, lighter. We’ve acknowledged the importance of the life our loved one led, the impact they had on us. And along the way we’ve let go of some of the pain, and begun the process of coming to terms with a life without their physical presence, knowing too that, in a very real way, they will always be with us. Many of my clients say afterwards that they were dreading the funeral, but in the end it was a good day and they felt comforted by it.
Simple dignified farewell, or joyous celebration of life.
Religious, spiritual or completely non-religious.
However you choose to do it, it’s a privilege for me to travel part of your journey with you
and help ensure that your loved one receives the funeral they - and you -  deserve,
and I’ll do my utmost to help you achieve that.


From the time you spent with us at the house getting to know the sort of person G was, to the day of her funeral and after, my father has complimented your superb professional and personal approach to what you do. The fact you listened and were tactful and sensitive to family issues. You didn’t rush us, and the exercise of telling you all the fabulous things about our amazing Mum helped us all. The fact that you were able to paint a picture of G in your service that was so very true of her character and personality, and with the greatest of respect to her. We would like you to know how grateful we are to you.
‘Just a line to say thank you so much for the support you gave us before and at the crematorium for J’s service. Your phone calls and emails to me helped enormously as I had never had to do anything like this before. Your support and compassion were second to none.’
‘The tone you set was perfect in every way. It was not too sombre nor too joyous, it held a middle ground which was exactly what I was looking for. It was respectful and was a true reflection of  D.
The praise from all who attended was universal and it has certainly raised a question in many minds about how they would like their own funerals to be conducted.’
‘We have a mixed bag of friends of different beliefs and views on life and they all seemed to have come out more uplifted than downcast. It was what it was meant to be - just a celebration of life as C and I have always thought it should be.’



I hold the highest level qualification for Funeral Celebrants in the UK, the Level 3 Diploma in Funeral Celebrancy, am fully insured, and am a full member of the Institute of Civil Funerals which requires rigorous ongoing assessment of my skills and knowledge as a Celebrant

Areas covered: Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Staffordshire

Affiliations: Institute of Civil Funerals and the Good Funeral Guild. I have also adopted the Funeral Celebrancy Council’s Celebrant Accord.


Fees: Funeral ceremonies £250
          Memorials: £300
          Scattering/Interment of Ashes £100
          Funeral for baby or child under 16: Expenses only


Telephone 07849 208924

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The New Natural Death Handbook fifth edition is out now, this book is a must read for everyone. Completely revised and expanded into a boxed set of three books... Read more

Credit to Will Whipple (photographer)



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