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.