Making the best of life’s big event

Testimonials & Links

Testimonials

I live in South Africa and when I heard my father had passed away, I had to make arrangements super swiftly to get back to the UK. Upon my arrival, I asked my father’s carers if they had any recommendations for a humanist celebrant. “Rob Hazell’s your man”, said one of the carers and, having also asking dad’s neighbours, they also suggested Rob. We arranged to meet and I could immediately see why Rob had been recommended. We spoke for a while, me regaling stories about my father, Rob taking notes but intently listening. What transpired at Dad’s funeral was beyond any expectations I might have had. Rob captured the very essence of my dad in that short time we met just a few days before. I couldn’t have been happier and know that my father would have loved what had been said of him. Rob is charming, professional and empathetic and has a natural gift for doing what he does. I honestly couldn’t recommend him highly enough. We all want the very best for our dearly departed, so call Rob who goes the extra mile in so many ways to give your loved ones the send off they deserve.

The presence and delivery of Rob Hazell at our mother’s funeral was most impressive. We could not have imagined meeting a better Celebrant of Life and we are very grateful for the quality of his performance. He is a very genuine and understanding person with a profoundly human dimension and a unique ability to listen, he is truly compassionate. Moreover, he is a person of great sobriety, very friendly and easily accessible. His reassuring presence was like the friend we’d always known and whose presence was so precious. His ability to synthesize, his writing qualities and his capacity to deliver with emotion and soberness were admired and appreciated by many members in the congregation. I had the impression that he knew my mother and that he loved her. We could not have wished for a more beautiful ceremony. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Yesterday’s service felt exactly right for mum and for us. You are obviously a very good listener and wove those little stories and throw away comments we made into mum’s tribute. It felt very personal and it was good to sit and listen to it. Some of her grandchildren also commented on how they didn’t know all those stories from mum and dad’s past history.

We are writing to pass on our sincere thanks for the lovely reading that you recited for my family and friends last Wednesday. The words you used were so touching & my mother mentioned how you had picked up on certain subjects that we had talked about at our meeting with you prior to the funeral, and the poem you rewrote summed up Dad up to a “T”. That same evening, my eldest son pointed out how much his grandfather would have loved your speech and asked whether you had known him as it was so personal and touching. By the way, others also commented on how touching your words were and how Derek would have loved it!! Thank you once again for making the day so special.

How to communicate quite how wonderful Rob was as a celebrant! Having had no previous experience of employing someone in that capacity, we weren’t sure whether we would feel comfortable. Also my late husband was quite an orator himself as well as having led a very multifaceted life so we were nervous that someone from outside the family would be able to grasp, summarise and communicate effectively his talents and life achievements. Rob immediately put us at ease, was a wonderful listener as well as asking thoughtful questions and making great suggestions for how we might construct a very personal, emotional but also uplifting service. We were also astonished at his ability to gain a rich understanding of my husband’s life, compose a eulogy which was so ‘right’ both in content and tone, and to deliver it on the day with such professionalism and yet so personal and appropriately humorous in parts. Rob invariably got high praise whenever anyone complimented us on the funeral service, and many have asked for a written copy of the eulogy.

Myself, my Brother and family wanted a unique celebration of our Father’s life. Rob spent a good deal of time with us to fully understand not only his life, but also his loves and persona. Rob absolutely portrayed this in his service and, so much so, that it was as if Rob had been his friend for many years. Rob also embraced with gusto our unique ideas to make it lighthearted and contributed with his own ideas. I cannot recommend Rob highly enough and we are indebted to him for giving my Father the send off his life deserved.

May I reiterate that no one could have spoken more evocatively of our mother. You truly caught her spirit of love, understanding, mischief, warmth and kindness. She had a wonderful giggle and was also nobody’s fool. This you portrayed without falling into the trap of mawkish sentiment. Your words, with their warmth and humour, will be treasured by us all. I do not underestimate the pressure placed upon you by your chosen role, so please don’t consider me impertinent if I sign off as I do in letters to my friends and family: Please consider yourself hugged.

I just wanted to write some words of thanks for the wonderful way you conducted Dad’s service. It was a great comfort knowing that someone with such experience was helping us out. With the few details we told you about Dad’s life, you worked absolute marvels with both your script and delivery. It takes skill to weave a life into a story on paper, but it takes magic to conjure the words into living, breathing shape and colour. You have a rare talent for the latter. It is a testament to your power that a number of Dad’s friends asked us how many years you had known him for! Dad would have thought that was very funny! Thank you so much.

Dear Rob, Alison, Richard, Peter, myself and everyone who was at Poole Crematorium to celebrate Barbara’s life on Wednesday thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the quite wonderful way in which you contributed to the event. When you visited Richard and myself at home it took us only moments to know that you were the right person for us! You achieved a balance between sadness and humour and by the end of your visit I felt as though a huge burden had been lifted from our shoulders. Wednesday worked flawlessly thanks to your sensitive practical approach and I actually enjoyed being ‘told off’ in public, by you for watching the clock! You have a richly deserved reputation for real professionalism in this field and the best compliment that I can pay you are the comments made to me by many people at the reception – ‘Aren’t you lucky to have such a super family friend to take the service’. Thank you Rob. Barbara would have been proud of us at the ceremony. John.

Rob, your contribution was flawless. Your ability to get a sense for both the mood of the occasion, and also for Dad as a person, was remarkable given the relatively short time that you spent with Ann and me. As I said yesterday so very many people assumed you were a relative or family friend, and I guess you can’t get a better a reaction than that. Please add this to your website – we’ll all be very happy to think that other families could benefit from what you have to offer.

Dear Rob, When you left my parents house after your visit last week, straight away I felt relief and much more happy that we had found the right man for my fathers service. We were not disappointed. I cannot begin to tell you just how grateful to you we are for the way you conducted everything, right from that initial meeting, the amazing service you gave and right down to you even sending an email to us after the service…. and the West Ham tie, Brilliant!! We have had so many people from the service saying to us that that was the best and most uplifting service they have even been too. People have also been asking us what your connection was to my father as what you did was so personal and heartfelt, that they thought you knew my father beforehand! They have also been looking at your website and lining you up for whenever they may have to call on you! We could not have asked for a better man to conduct my dad’s service. You truly have an exceptional gift Rob and you have been of great comfort to my mum, sister and I in one of our darkest times. The service was exactly what I’d hoped for and more. I cannot begin to thank you enough. Please don’t stop doing what you do.

Thank you for making Dad’s send-off such a lovely celebration of his life. Mum and I felt we had known you for years when you left after our first meeting, and we knew we were in safe hands. Your kindness and understanding shone through and, although we hope we don’t have to meet again too soon, be rest assured you will definitely be called upon if needed!

Rob, we want to thank you for a sincere, thoughtful celebration of my wife’s life. You presented it with such heartfelt warmth and honesty, beautiful, memorable. Exactly as Lyn would have wanted it to be. All comments made by family and friends, very positive including “That’s what I would like when it is my time to go“. And “Who is Rob?” The answer: Stranger, Mate, Friend. All of these to me, above all a very gifted man called Rob.

From the moment you started speaking I was gripped! I’m used to dealing with “live” performances but I have to say you gave one of the best ever! The fact that you had taken so much trouble to find out all that information about the year of my Dad’s birth and all your other input was both touching and interesting. You also seemed to gain such an accurate insight into my father’s character that I am sure you had some kind of spiritual communication!! You really did him proud and instead of being sad I actually enjoyed the service – it was perfect and that is down to you.

I would like to thank you for the service you conducted for my husband on Friday. Although it was difficult to take it all in on the day, i have just read your service and you ‘did him proud’. Friends and family commented on how lovely the service was and wanted to know all about you and where we had found you! You made an unbearable day full of lasting happy memories.

Words cannot express how special you made mum’s send-off yesterday. You had a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face in exactly the right places, especially when I was wobbling a bit! The comments afterwards from our guests would make you blush – they all thought it was an outstanding ceremony with so many wonderful memories of mum.

I just wanted to say the feedback we got from all the family was that we marvelled at the way you linked our service together with our tributes and poems, you made it such a personal affair for and I can’t thank you enough for all your support and comfort. You are an amazing person, Rob, and we are so privileged to have met you. You do an incredibly difficult job, with a smile and it’s so welcome to us all at such difficult and challenging times with many decisions needing to be made.

Dear Rob, just a note of thanks for yesterday. Your words entirely captured who Dad was. The respect you paid him was greatly appreciated. You made something we were dreading into a true celebration of Dad’s life. It set an uplifting tone which carried on at home. Everyone said your words couldn’t have been more perfect and the delivery was exceptional. People didn’t want your story of Dad to end which none of us have experienced at a funeral before. We just wanted to thank you for what you did, your empathy and the gift you have for your work.

Rob, I want to thank you for such a sincere, thoughtful service. It was beautiful. Just what my brother would have wanted and just what we wanted. You delivered it with such honesty and warmth. I wish I could relay to you all the positive, lovely comments from everyone who was there today, and I have had several emails already mentioning how much the service portrayed the brother we knew and loved.

Many thanks for all your work, Rob. Your words struck just the right chord. All of my brother’s friends and neighbours were very touched that they were mentioned (and the cats) and felt that you summed up the man that they knew. They were pleased to learn that he had had an interesting and varied life before his later demons took over. Dad was much impressed too, he was pretty nervous with not knowing what to expect. It helped him to remember his son that we used to know. You managed to restore to my brother some dignity that was missing from his sad ending, and I thank you for that. You have a real aptitude for this work, Rob, and I shall certainly recommend you. Once again, many thanks.

Rob, I believe that sometimes when you need someone or something special it just appears, and by us seeing you at my brother-in-law’s service you were presented to me like a gift. I will be forever grateful to you Rob because you captured the very essence of my husband and it touched me and so many people.

Thank you for making our brother’s send off the nicest I’ve ever witnessed. You so brilliantly captured his spirit. In doing so you’ve helped the rest of us rationalise something we couldn’t manage ourselves. You clearly have a genius for picking up feelings as well as listening and hearing what is and is not said. I really can’t thank you enough for turning today into something, for me, quite magical.

Thank you so much for all you did for Mum’s funeral. You were a great help to us. You put together the information about her life very well, and changed Mum from the failing old lady she became and put her back in our minds as the busy, lovely person she was.

Rob thank you soooo much for yesterday. I just wanted to thank you and say you truly have a gift. Please never stop doing what you do. The service was just spot on for mum and included all her unique traits. There was something for everyone and it was noted by all at the wake. We were all very touched and feel Mum had the send off she deserved, a lot of that was down to you. We really can’t thank you enough!

Hi Rob, Thank you so much for all that you’ve done. The service was full of life and good times and that’s what my mum would have wanted. As emotional and as hard as it was, you set a great tone and made it a happy occasion. Many people came up to me and my sisters and said how they had never been to a service like yours before, recounting brilliant moments of someone’s life. They said how touching it was and how it was a great way to hold a funeral, and preferred it to a more traditional service. It will always be a day I remember but thanks to your help, it will be for all the best/right reasons.

Hi Rob, I cannot express how you conducting that service yesterday made it what it was. Everyone said you were the best person for job and it was the best funeral they have ever been to! Thank you for your support throughout the entire time. Truly, thank you, it was the best day! Not often u say that about a funeral but it was everyone’s response to a great send off!

I just wanted to say a huge thank you. Yesterday, although very difficult, was just perfect – you managed to sum-up R so well. My two daughters and I also found the morning you came to chat to us very cathartic – just to be able to chat about some memories – some daft but personal, fun and happy.

Firstly I personally thought your service was excellent. Our kids gave you the thumbs up as well (which is something!!). Many thanks for being so thorough and your attention to detail which was spot on! You even managed to see things in our lives that we hadn’t even thought about such as our Cockapoo dog who lit up Dad’s life when we visited. Once again well done mate.

Links

Fellowship of Professional CelebrantsI was trained by the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants.
http://www.professionalcelebrants.org.uk/funerals.html

 

 

 

SAIFThe Fellowship of Professional Celebrants is an associate of The National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors
http://www.saif.org.uk/

 

 

 

NAFD

The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants is an official supplier to The National Association of Funeral Directors.
http://www.nafd.org.uk/funeral-advice/funeral-advice-home.aspx

 

 

 

Many funeral options are explained in clear language at > The Good Funeral Guide
Find information about coping with bereavement & local support > Bereavement advice from The Counselling Directory