Natural Burial Grounds

Where would you like to go when your life is over?  Donate your body to science, be cremated or be buried in a Natural Burial Ground?

Natural or Woodland  Burial Grounds are similar to cemeteries, however, with one key difference, they are managed according to ecologically sound principles, to create beautiful, nature-rich areas without the formality and memorials of traditional cemeteries.  Natural burial grounds are places full of natural life and offer an ideal environment for peaceful reflection, within nature.

I have performed ceremonies with only bird song and the rustling of trees for music.  There is no rush or time limit and the bereaved can plant bulbs or trees to commemorate their loved one.

I recommend ceremonies at these local grounds:

Funeral – a Celebration of Life

What is a funeral really for?  A funeral has to do three things. First, and simplest, it must enable everyone to say farewell, in the way that best suits them. Second, it should show the love, affection and regard in which your loved ones are held. And third, it gives time to remember the person they were. 

Celebrate a life by holding on to your loved ones in your thoughts: there is no need to part from them too hastily, talk about them often, repeat the words and sayings they used, and the jokes they made, and enjoy your memories of them

Too Soon

There really are no words adequate; no words can come near, to soften the blow when we are faced with the shock of an unexpected death. But how much more so when that death is of a child.

A Flower Bud

A flower bud, holding so much beauty and expectation

Perfect in shape and colour and size

But sometimes it never opens.

So like a young child who dies

So beautiful in shape and form

Holding so many expectations for a future journey shared together

But it is a journey never to be taken

Never known

A journey which is cut off short and unfinished

A bud which never opened

Tessa Wilkinson

Memory Table for Funerals

Create a Memory Table at the ceremony to celebrate all the hobbies and achievements that meant so much to your loved one.  I recently performed a Funeral for a carpenter who, over many years, had made a large collection of small wooden animals.  His wife handed out them out at the end of the ceremony to everyone’s delight.  A perfect memory of such a wonderful man.


Afterglow is a beautiful poem and a popular ending to a funeral or Celebration of Life ceremony.  Over the years I have collected many poems which I always share with families when we plan a funeral together for their loved one.  Poems and music are emotive parts of the ceremony and stay in the mind for a long time afterwards.

Celebration of Life – with a PARTY!

To make it a successful event, plan the Celebration of Life as you would a party, but make it the party of a lifetime. You may wish to organise this with friends and loved ones.

Either way use this checklist to make your event a celebration of your life.

• Food: select samples of your favourite cuisine, your special dishes;

• Drink: provide your favourite wines and beers and maybe sparkling wine for a toast;

• Favourite Pastimes: have on display things such as golf clubs, tennis racket, embroidery, photographs of you enjoying your hobbies;

• Achievements: have on display certificates, press cuttings and items you are proud of;

• Messages: write a brief speech at which you give a short message to the most important people in your life;

• Video: ask (or employ) someone to make a video of the party, and consider storing it so others can see it in the future.

On the day of the event have visitors sign a guest book and encourage them to leave positive messages.  A slideshow presentation is appropriate, highlighting memories and accomplishments.  Encourage people to share funny and uplifting stories and to bring photographs or other memorabilia to share.  Remind people that this is not meant to be sombre as a funeral would be, so the dress code does not need to be restricted to the traditional funeral black.

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