Non-religious funerals have become much more widespread in recent years and there have been other important changes in the way our society and culture approach death and dying. As independent funeral directors and celebrants, we are committed to giving families choice and encouragement to plan funerals in line with their own beliefs and values.
We believe there are many ways to hold a funeral service. Gone are the days when a funeral had to be taken by a church minister. We undertake religious and non-religious funerals and it is worth pointing out that many so-called non-religious funerals have a significant spiritual aspect but no particular religious affiliation.
We are three people from different professional backgrounds who have a shared interest in following a new approach to funerals. We like green and eco funerals but these are not the main reason why we formed Greenwood Funerals. Our priority is to listen carefully to what families want and help them make it happen whatever they have chosen. Offering a service to the community is as important to us as running a successful money making business.
We are Angela Ward, Peter Macfadyen and Charles Kemp.
Charles writes: I have lived in Frome for thirty years and for most of that time I have worked as a spiritual healer and counsellor. Ten years ago, I embarked on the training to become an Interfaith Minister and I was ordained in 2010. In my work I have encountered many different aspects of death and dying. Becoming more involved in non-religious funerals as a celebrant and then as a funeral director feels like a natural progression in my own life.
As I grow older myself and face my own mortality and as I continue to work in this field, I am learning to respect the enormity of death and the impact it has on people’s lives. Sometimes sad and deeply painful, it can also be transformative and uplifting. I see my role as being that of a person who offers a helping hand to those who are facing their own death or the death of someone with whom they have shared their lives. It can feel rather like being a gatekeeper who people encounter at a critical moment in their lives. My job is to support, guide and accompany them for a brief while on their journey through and beyond death.
Peter writes: I came to Frome from Cornwall to help found an international charity that supports the rights of disabled people. Since then, my children have been born, left, and in one case returned to run a local bakery and I have been centrally involved in Frome’s community in many ways. The most obvious of these has been as a town councillor (serving as both mayor and leader) during a time when we have worked hard to drag local politics out of the Victorian era.
In that respect, my training and work as a funeral director has many similarities. I was inspired by my mother’s truly awful funeral over 30 years ago, which did nothing positive to help our family move on from her early death. What struck me most was the complete mismatch of the life she lived and the support we were offered. My greatest pleasure in working with Charles and Angela is in providing funerals with congruence. And, in the same way as my role as a local politician, I see this as a service in the community, rather than a business.
Charles writes: Angela is a very experienced funeral director and celebrant. She started GoSimply Funerals with her partner, Kevin. GoSimply Funerals is an award winning funeral company which until recently provided Greenwood Funerals with their undertaking services. Angela brings warmth, kindness and respect to all aspects of funeral work. She has been training funeral celebrants for many years and she has a relaxed confidence in the way she creates and leads funeral ceremonies. As a professional singer, she has been able to enhance many funeral services with her beautiful soprano voice.