Celebrants in Brighton & Hove

We are very happy to work with a Minister or Celebrant of your choice however we currently work some lovely individuals and who we think are the best funeral celebrants in Brighton & Hove.

All of our recommended celebrants put together meaningful, relevant, helpful, creative, and person-centered funeral ceremonies that help us to deal with acknowledging and accepting that someone has died.

What is a funeral celebrant?
Funeral celebrants will facilitate the funeral that you’d like to have based on your beliefs, not theirs.  The funerals they put together are created especially for you.  They can include elements of religion such as prayers and hymns, if that’s what you want. The celebrants we work with spend time talking at length about the person who has died before putting together the funeral.

If you or someone you know feels capable of leading the funeral service, you can do that.  You can put together the funeral yourself or appoint a celebrant to assist you with certain elements such as how to structure it.

There’s a whole spectrum of celebrants with different styles and offerings.  We’ll be able to recommend someone who we think will be a good match for you.  We can put you in touch with any of the celebrants below.  We recommending having a chat with them to see if they’re the right choice for you before appointing them as your celebrant.

If you’d like to talk through ideas for the funeral ceremony, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Frances Tulley

I have lived and worked in Brighton for 25 years but originally came from Croydon. I live with my husband and have a grown-up daughter. My previous career was in dental hygiene, where I developed a special interest in working with people to reduce their anxiety and fear of dentistry, and trained others in working with anxious patients. For this, I twice  received Dental Hygienist of the Year awards. I also have a Diploma in Holistic Aromatherapy.

I was brought up in a strict Christian family, but for the last 40 years have   followed my own spiritual path of respect for our world and for each other. I have a very open approach to people’s beliefs and a philosophy of tolerance. I have lost my parents, ex-husband, family members and several friends, and have witnessed grief and sadness in different ways. I took an active role in  arranging my father’s funeral a few years ago; my interest in funerals, and what makes a good funeral, grew from there.

I believe that funerals should be people-centred. There is a growing movement towards families being more ‘hands-on’ and taking an active role in  funeral  arrangements and the ceremony. This can be a very positive step in the healing  process. I am a member of The Natural Death Centre, which is a charity that helps people to make informed choices about what is right for you and your family. The taboo and fear of talking about death in our society is slowly beginning to change. I hold regular Death Cafes in Brighton, to encourage  people to enter into such discussions, and to start taking control of their own life (and death).

I was recently privileged to be a finalist in the Celebrant of the Year category  at the Good Funeral Awards, a prestigious event in the funeral world.

Linda Hodgson

Image of Linda Hodgson

My name is Linda Hodgson and as an Independent Life Celebrant, I help people create personal and individual funeral, wedding, vow  renewal and baby naming ceremonies.

I started out personalising funeral services back in 2000, it was for my father’s funeral, and I did not want the service to be a functional  farewell.  So I sat with my Mum and my brothers and we talked about his life, he was a quiet man my Dad, he rarely talked about his life before us, but with the help of my Mum, I wrote a poetic Eulogy.  I managed to find the strength to read it out at the service, and then we sent him off with a great rendition of Glenn Miller, his favourite  music.  I felt we had celebrated my Dad’s life and the courage he had displayed in the last few years, with an affectionate Goodbye.  As the years went on, I did the same for other family members. It was whilst I was returning from a holiday in Turkey in 2014, that I read a  magazine article and discovered that I could actually train to be a Celebrant, and I was inspired to step out of the  highly stressful world of Advertising, into a world that I find much more meaningful and fulfilling.

Most of my working life was spent as a Strategic Director,  I was responsible for helping businesses to understand people’s everyday lives, and what I loved most was meeting people, finding out about their lives, showing them consideration, kindness and gratitude as they told their  stories.  It is this love for people, and my ability to  listen, capture their spirit, and bring them to life for others, that has prepared me for my role as a Life Celebrant.

Aileen Smart

Accredited member of the Institute of Civil Funerals.

My background centres on working with people. I have worked as a counsellor, management consultant and lecturer. When the opportunity arose to help plan and take part in the funeral of a close relative, I knew I had found a new career. I trained as a funeral celebrant with Civil Ceremonies UK in May 2018.

Many people today are looking for far more choice when they plan a funeral. They want their loved one at the centre of the ceremony.  My role is to support you and work along-side you as you make decisions about the kind of funeral ceremony that you want. A ceremony that enables you to say farewell to your loved-one in a way that is unique and personal to you.

To gather people’s precious memories and stories and to incorporate these into personalised ceremonies is an honour and a privilege. I will visit you at home, or at a place chosen by you. We can explore exactly what you want.  I will create a ceremony that reflects what you want to say. I can offer advice with poetry, readings, music choices and symbolic gestures. You may choose to include religious or spiritual elements, or you may wish to have a completely non-religious ceremony.

The death of a loved-one is experienced in a highly personal way, within the context of a society that is  sometimes uncomfortable with death and dying. I have experienced the death of my own loved-ones and work in a way that is respectful of the many different ways that we react when confronted with grief and loss.

I am delighted to work for Bungard Funeral Directors, a long-established and progressive family run company, who acknowledge the need for bereavement support for their families and who provide a package of        supportive after-care.

David Harland

I am an experienced celebrant based in Brighton, and I conduct services in both East and West Sussex.

I have had the privilege of taking many funeral services, both religious and nonreligious for a wide variety of families and individuals in the Sussex area for the last 10 years.

I believe it is very important for families to be able to say farewell to their loved ones in whatever way is right for them, and it is my honour to be able to help them in this.

It has been wonderful to be able to stay in contact with many families over the years, and to say farewell to a number of loved ones with them.

Jennifer Sanders

I’m Jennifer Sanders, a trained visual artist, independent celebrant and interfaith minister.

The loss of both my parents, my sister, and several close friends gave me the ability to explore not only grief and sorrow, but also curiosity, celebration, love and humour in difficult times. When my father died, I felt a profound need to honour him, and to acknowledge all parts of his life, sharing my memories with others and exploring their memories of him, to create a powerful communal experience. That was the day I realised that I wanted to help others commemorate important life events. That was the beginning of my vocation – today I use all these elements of my life, as well as my spiritual counselling experience and bereavement work, to create funeral services that honour and celebrate the life of a loved one.

For the past six years, I’ve had the pleasure of helping people create funerals and other life events that put love at the heart of the occasion. You may want a religious ceremony, or one with no formal religious connotations, or an eclectic spiritual mix. A calm serene service or a lively, laughter-filled celebration. Whatever your beliefs, I bring all my experience including my own spiritual searches, to the process of working with you to craft a unique ceremony that will meet your needs and make wonderful, unforgettable moments.

When I’m not creating ceremonies and services, I can often be found at Saddlescombe Farm, helping people reconnect to nature through creative activities. My two rescue dogs, known as ‘the poppets’ are constant companions whether I’m in my vegetable garden, trying to follow a sewing pattern, or out on a walk with friends.

Recently, I needed to find a celebrant for my mum’s funeral. What I wanted from that person was very simple. They needed to be somebody I’d be comfortable sitting down and having a cup of tea with, somebody with whom I could share my innermost thoughts and feelings. That’s who I try to be when I work with people – the person you’d love to sit down and have a cup of tea with, and whom you’d trust with the most important things in your life.

Jon Riley

My name is Jon Riley and I am a Funeral Celebrant in the Sussex area. I am a member of the “Fellowship of Independent Celebrants”.

Back in my early adult years, living on the beautiful Northumbrian coast where I grew up, I was heavily involved in community work and really felt at home helping folk when they needed it. Spring forward a year or two (many, actually) and the move to beautiful Sussex in 1992. I continued with my community work and eventually became a Funeral Director, another position that gave comfort to families in their hour of need.

Being a funeral Director is a rewarding job that needs dedication, attention to detail and real compassion. I honed what skills I learnt and in 2016 I decided to dedicate my working life to being a full time Celebrant. It really has become my vocation and I have never looked back. I truly feel privileged and humbled to be a small part of Bungards Funeral Services, helping families at a difficult time. 

I love living in the Brighton area. I often go rambling on the Downs and really miss taking Bella, my late mutt of a beautiful dog for walks. I see so many places on my travels in East and West Sussex that are gems and I want to go back to. So many places to walk and relax. It’s a truly wonderful area. I quite often return to the beaches of Northumberland and once a year go hill walking in the UK for a holiday. The Lake District being my favourite. In the winter months there is nothing better than a good book to read. I like all sorts of genres, travel, historical novels, non-fiction or good  fiction.

I have always considered myself to be a caring person with my feet firmly on the ground, as they say. My main focus is to help people as much as I can. This has been an invisible thread in my life and I consider it a privilege to do so.

Claire Bradford

I’m Claire Bradford, a Sussex-dwelling, award-winning independent celebrant and all-round people person.
I want to know your story – what makes you laugh, what makes you cry, what gets you up in the morning and what keeps you awake at night. Your dreams, your secrets, the things you ache for. I want to know about your loved one and how your heart thrums for them. And I want to put all of this into a beautiful ceremony for you.
But before you let me in to your story, you probably want to know a
bit about mine.
As well as being a celebrant, I’m also a writer, speaker and occasional broadcaster. I believe that just about everything is better with tea and cake. I’m a mum of two girls, a happy wife and an incurable mush-bucket. I hate coffee, pushy salespeople and those muddy, obstacle-ridden runs that are currently the fashion. I love (non-muddy) running (slowly), trashy tattoo programmes and my rescue dog Stanley. Oh, and Facebook (some might say too much), learning Kung Fu and listening to big storms outside when I don’t have to go anywhere.
Based in sunny Worthing on the south coast, I conduct ceremonies in and around the Sussex area.
I’m a member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants and the
Wedding Industry Award’s National Celebrant of the Year 2018.