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Nightingale Celebrants LTD

Q & A with Roy Coleman


Why did you choose to be a celebrant?

Having worked it education as a teacher and headteacher for 25 years, I decided that I wanted to do something different.  I had spoken at several funerals for families and at the weddings for friends and was given positive feedback.  When my father found that he had terminal cancer, he asked me to deliver his whole service.  Initially I was unsure but didn't want to let me dad down.  So, we planned his funeral and I acted as the celebrant.  I found it to be a unique way to deal with my own grief and allowed me to explore our attitudes to grief.  Having lost both parents in quick succession to each other due to cancer, I have a very real understanding of loss and grief.  I can never say I understand how someone feels as grief and loss are very personal to the individual.  But I do have great empathy with the emotions and am able to help people navigate them.

Which do you prefer: weddings of funerals?

That's a really tricky question as they are so very different.  Weddings are great fun as you watch the happy couple make choices, select words of love and commitment and also you get to experience their joy but also the joy of those at the wedding.  At a wedding, you get to see a couple begin their journey as partners for life.

Funerals are different as you are now looking at the end of something.  It's quite difficult to capture a life but it is so rewarding as you see tears change into laughter as families remember funny stories and the little quirks that make a person unique.  Interestingly, it is similar to a wedding as you a helping an individual or a family to select words that express their love for their loved one.  I also try to help people see their grief as a form of love and I hope this helps.

In all honesty, I enjoy doing both as they both bring me great happiness at either bringing a couple together or to help someone say an impossible goodbye.

Are you married?

Well that's a cheeky question!  I have been with my husband for twenty four years and we have actually had two weddings!  Our first was before the law was changed to allow same sex couples to marry.  We had the big day in a Tudor mansion with over a hundred guests.  That was in 2005 but we never actually got officially married.  I had the opportunity to live in New York for a period of time and my husband had a conference in Las Vegas.  Here we decided to get officially married.  Our witnesses were our photographer and a black cat.  It was just the two of us but it was perfect!

You mentioned a cat...are you a dog or a cat person?

Oh, I am a dog person!  I actually have three very different dogs - a lurcher called Lottie, a pug called Peggy and a cavapoo called Casper.  If you have a dog and want to include your pet in your wedding day then I am sure we can find a way.

What makes you a good celebrant?

I was lucky to be trained by Jacqueline Kale and Nikki Kulin of The Celebrant Circle.  They are total experts in how to ensure you provide the best service whether it be for a wedding, vow renewal, naming ceremony or funeral.  I think having been a teacher for twenty five years means I have a good understanding of language which helps me to write and a good knowledge of novels, poems and quotes to help you find the right words.

Final question...tell us a few things about yourself that most people don't know.

I am a total geek and love superheroes...particularly Batman.  I have run The London Marathon twice much to everyones surprise.  I taught myself to knit during the pandemic and if you choose to have a handfastning ceremony added to your wedding then I will knit the fasting cord for you to keep.

I love meeting new people, learning their stories and helping them with their 'happy ever after' or an impossible goodbye.