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Lincolnshire celebrant receives ‘Shining Star’ award

A funeral celebrant who works in Hull and across Lincolnshire has received an award after she achieved a distinction in her diploma in grief and bereavement, while balancing her study, working in full-time celebrancy work and dealing with the end-of-life care and death of her own mother during lockdown.

Dawn Kemp received the Centre of Excellence Award 2020 ‘Shining Star’ trophy, awarded to those who have “gone on to make a difference in the lives of others”. The judging panel told her “You have shown real determination and are an inspiration to the whole team”.

Dawn says: “It gave me a focus for coping through this period, and a renewed empathy for the bereaved people I work with. It’s a bittersweet success, as it came out of such a challenging time personally. It has been a strained time for us all, I know – funeral professionals and the families we work with.

“I’m passionate about my work, and raising the expectations of what families – and funeral directors and arrangers – should expect of a celebrant-led ceremony. I came into the field after being dismayed, as a client, to realise my loved one’s services were ‘copy-and-paste’ – I could honestly quote some of them word for word! It gave me a first-hand insight into what might be done better for families – in and outside of chapel – with custom scripts, creative personalisation, meaningful ritual, and a consideration of fore and after care.”

Formerly Head of Psychology at a Lincolnshire grammar school, Dawn took the big step to walk away from it to train as a celebrant – and become self-employed.

“In my town, few of the celebrants were professional and qualified, and none specialised in humanist ceremonies, so I felt there was a need. I completed the training in late 2017, and since then I’ve been taking funerals as an independent celebrant in Grimsby, Alford, Scunthorpe, Hull, and further afield.

“I love the variety in my role, and I find real inspiration from following how other professional celebrants across the UK are moving things forwards and upward with their innovation and thoughtfulness.”

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