We are delighted to be holding the very first AOIC Celebrant Awards in 2020! After a very tough year, we feel it is more important than ever to recognise the amazing work our celebrants are doing. Association of Independent Celebrants
When my dad died, I asked the funeral directors if they knew anyone that could take the service that would be able to put something together that was not too religious, they said they used a celebrant called Mark Townsend. When Mark rang and said he would come and meet us, to discuss and talk about my dad, I was very pleased considering it was during Covid.Mark spent a lot of time talking with us getting to know what my dad was like, nothing was too much trouble for him, he made the funeral very personal to us, on the day everything went perfectly, with his gentle kind nature and voice, and words he spoke , and songs he helped us chose made it perfect.I recommend mark for his outstanding understanding in times of grief.
Mark was outstanding with the service he gave very recently for our beloved father and husband. Mark was able to navigate through the various challenges that Covid 19 brought and his kind and caring way shone through over the telephone. He was able to calm my devastated mother and give us all hope at such a difficult time. We can’t thank him enough.
Mark showed exceptional empathy and sensitivity to our whole family when my husband passed away due to COVID-19.He took time to get to know us and to know my husband which made a tremendous difference when conducting the service both online and within the crematorium. Mark came across as a true friend and I shall be eternally grateful for his kindness, insight, professionalism and peacefulness.
Sad to say but I have attended alot of funerals, because of covid this has increased a lot recently.I have always been very impressed by Mark's empathy through these services particularly when giving the eulogy.He is so attentive to detail,his humour relaxes everyone. He is so professional and I would always recommend Mark.
Mark has conducted the funerals of both my parents - my mother and then my father - which he did with great sensitivity and compassion, always at pains to get to know the personality of my parents. My mother passed away first, and Mark was most concerned that everything should run according to my father’s wishes. A deeply feeling man, Mark has recently been called upon to conduct the funerals of many people who had been suffering from COVID - something which he clearly found very upsetting. He is also very sensitive to nature and has a tremendous love of music - both of which play a role in his work. This is all offset by his hilarious sense of humour which no doubt sustains him in times of grief. Most of all I would say that Mark has a tremendous love of his fellow human beings which comes through in his work. I would definitely recommend him for this award.
Mark conducted the funeral service for my late Husband which unfortunately was during the first virus lock-down.However Mark did not allow this to detract from him delivering the uplifting service for us all.
Mark recently carried out the funeral of my Mum, he was recommended to us by our Funeral Directors.In these difficult times of an international pandemic, Mark phoned us , explained how things could be done and emailed a pro forma of the funeral that as a family we were able to discuss put together what we wanted, with music, poems, prayers etc. Some suggested by Mark some put in place by the family.The first time we met was at the funeral, but we felt we knew him and how he carried out the funeral with such kindness was really appreciated.We highly recommend Mark for this award , he deserves it in these very difficult times.
In April 2019 my beloved mother passed away. Mark lead her service. As you can imagine the day was approached with dread and anxiety. However, as soon as Mark lead the service all these emotions disappeared. Mark’s professional and empathetic approach allowed me and my family to celebrate my mother's passing. The service was that beautiful and inspiring it ended up being a day I will never forget for all the right reasons that is all thanks to Mark. On the 26th Dec 2020 my wonderful father also passed away to this awful virus. As you can imagine our family is again experiencing a very difficult time. When arranging his funeral for the 12th Jan 21 I specifically asked for Mark to lead my father's service. Mark has been so fantastic throughout this process and has again made our experience comforting and easy especially with all the restrictions currently in place. Mark is a wonderful caring celebrant, who I would absolutely without hesitation recommend him to anyone. I already know that my father's final day will be a celebration of his life and will be a wonderful uplifting experience as I have every faith in Mark. It is an absolute honour to be nominating Mark for this award he so deserves it and his excellent work should and needs to be recognised.
Our daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly, aged 31 in April and obviously we were totally devastated. The coronavirus pandemic had begun, restricting the numbers of mourners attending funerals to only 5. Her partner’s and our wishes were for a non-religious based service. Not being our local area, Mark was recommended to us by the undertakers as a professional and compassionate celebrant. Obviously not having met any of us mourners or our late daughter Mark had to compose an order of service based on the background information provided by us prompted by some helpful guidance/suggestions from him. At this most awful of times Mark did exactly that. He was professional but friendly throughout, treated us with compassion, conducted a service that respected our wishes and was reflective of our daughter. Whilst this was an experience we could never have imagined, we were grateful to Mark for making it bearable and dignified.
I nominate Mark Townsend for his grace and thoughtfulness, throughout many years of our changing world, but especially for his work, in this most difficult and terrifying year, of covid. He has shared his experiences with those of us, who follow him on social media, how he has to perform funerals for people who died of covid and family members cannot be present. This took a toll on Mark, overwhelming sadness, for those families unable to be present, with departed loved one. He is a there for many, and when he could not personally see to their grief, he himself became depressed from holding services, over and over. He is a strong man, with strong faith, and he found a way to bring himself up, with his music and humor, and with that, he also lifted our spirits and gave all of us something profoundly encouraging, to view daily, to get us through the lock downs and stay at home. Mark touches many many lives daily, in his understated and at times, quirky ways. Mark shares not only the bleak truth of world events but also the beauty and goodness, of things people tend to forget. He gives us a place to feel safe, to share our feelings and he is our rock when we need to lean.
Mark had great empathy from the outset, despite COVID he was thorough and professional throughout the process. He produced an amazing eulogy that listened to everyone’s input and was delivered as if he was part of the family. Nothing was too much trouble before during and after. Faultless and I would not hesitate to recommend Mark to anyone and know he would deliver the most appropriate service and support for any family.
Mark married my son and daughter in law in Ibiza 2 years ago
This man is just amazing, professional caring very funny.Mark and his wife even stayed with us to join in part of the honey moon.
During Covid we have followed his story as he has performed countless funerals, his care and compassion to each and every family goes above and beyond.Mark is a man of many talents, an accomplished author, an amazing magician of which he entertained our wedding party with his mind blowing tricks ..... without a doubt Mark in our eyes is the winner.
My father passed away in April due to Covid and he couldn't have a proper funeral as me and my mum couldn't get to the service, so Mark did the Most AMAZING thing and did a service for me and my mum over the phone via video and it was THE most emotional and thoughtful and heart-warming services. Mark is one of the kindest ppl in this world and I'm very honoured to know him. He without a shadow of a doubt deserves to be Celebrant of 2020 after such a difficult year.
Mark was recommended to me by a friend whose relation had passed on pre Covid and we attended the service and I was most impressed. My husband was so impressed by the way he conducted the service and said that if anything happened to him he would like Mark Townsend to be celebrant at his funeral - not expecting that to happen so soon, but of course Covid came along and took him in the early months - everything had to be done over the phone which made things more difficult for us. Mark’s sympathy to me and my family took so much of the pressure off me. He helped me with preparing the service, suggesting poetry that he thought would be my husband’s taste - as he could not come to the house there was a lots of emailing and telephone calls to see how we were, we were only allowed 4 people at his funeral -there are so many more things I could say, but I would be proud to nominate Mark Townsend, and if anything should happen to me in the near future Mark Townsend is down for me, my family agree and I would be content he would care for my family to ease their burden, he has so much understanding and empathy of each individual - the personal/professional manner that puts you at ease during a difficult time - please consider my nomination - thank you...
We had two cremations to arrange with Mark during the first lockdown. As you can imagine we were so worried as to what to expect. We need not have worried as Mark was a first class organiser and graciously guided us through the services. We shall always be grateful for his kind manner at such a difficult time.
Mark was recommended to me by a close friend who had been to a funeral he conducted. He came to meet myself and my step daughter at my house and just listened to us talking about my husband. Obviously asked a few questions but it was such an easy chat in such difficult circumstances. He died suddenly completely unexpected so feelings were running very high at the time plus the fact of such difficult circumstances with COVID. He gave us such good advice and tips about what we could include in the service. On the day he made the service about my husband and it was a real celebration of his life. Texans and laughter which is how it should be. He included all the family in - he was just there for us despite having only met the once before. Such a nice man doing a very difficult job in such different times. I would highly recommend him.
Mark's online presence on FB has been a life-saver during this pandemic. He has been sharing little ceremonies, as well as insights into his work as a celebrant, and thoughts from his faith life. At a time where a general feeling of disconnection and doom looms large in social media, Mark has made a big difference, which I really appreciate.
My family was fortunate enough to have Mark as celebrant for my Grandfather's funeral. He has the unique ability to turn what would normally be a sad and sombre time into a therapeutic, personal and beautiful occasion, full of love and, ironically, life. Mark brings his own magic and spirituality, and it really is something special. Special enough, in fact, to convince an old cynic like me that Love is the answer.
Mark was kind and understanding following the death of my Dad. He listened carefully to what we wanted and then made suggestions entirely in keeping with our wishes. The funeral was exactly what we wanted and we were so pleased to have Mark to support us through one of the toughest times.
Mark provided wonderful support and a fitting eulogy when my aunt passed away.Very specifically, this occurred just as we went into the first lockdown when the full extent was unknown and, probably, most people imagined a short hiatus from day to day activity.Mark was kind, supportive and extremely professional.
A credit to the profession!
I am nominating this celebrant because my mum suddenly sadly passed away in October and Mark was so supportive throughout the whole funeral process. I personally do not attend funerals because I have always been scared to go and Mark was outstanding with me. He talked me through the whole process and even on the day of funeral assured that I was seated where I could leave if I wished to. If wasn't for Mark I would have never got through the arrangements and the service.From start to finish he was so professional but also very personable. Mark is just amazing and I will always be grateful, if it wasn't for Mark I really don't know if I could have attended my mum’s funeral.
There is never an easy time to arrange a funeral service for a loved one, but during these recent months it has been all the more difficult with so many restrictions. Mark was able to offer the professional support and assistance we required to make the necessary arrangements under very challenging circumstances. We also lived 2 hours away from where the service was to be held, which added yet another complication, but with the benefits of regular emails and telephone calls, Mark was able to put everything in place per our requests. We feel Mark fully deserves to be recognised for his remarkable work this year.
Mark officiated at my wife's funeral at Hereford last May. Mark's service was a great comfort to me and my family and helped us so much to get through this very sad and difficult period of our lives. The service was seen by my wife's family in Norway through the virtual system which was a great comfort to them and Mark conducted the service with a Lutheran theme which was appreciated by all my wife's Norwegian family.I have no hesitation in recommending Mark for this award which he thoroughly deserves.
We first Met Mark when he created a wonderful handfasting ceremony for us back in 2016. This was such a magical day and we will be eternally grateful for his part in this. Two years later we were lucky enough to be able to invite Mark again to create a blessing/naming ceremony for our beautiful daughter. Then this year He created A wonderful funeral ceremony for my parents. Mark is a one off and a rare gem of a celebrant. He is so kind, thoughtful and generous with his time and energy and we are so grateful to have met him! Thank you Mark!
Mark conducted the funeral services of both my mother-in-law and later my husband. While planning the services, he took much care to understand how to convey the personality and attributes of each as well as making suggestions for readings which linked into their interests and outlooks. Mark doesn't impose his own beliefs, but blends spirituality without dogma to match the beliefs of the deceased and the family. He also takes care to ensure the family have as much input into the service as possible, being open to alterations as required.I would recommend Mark to anyone looking for a speaker at a funeral.
Mark is one of the nicest people you can ever wish to meet, so lovely and understanding at such sad and difficult times and more so this year with everything going on around us. But Mark got us through it and made the passing of our dad the best we could have. Mark deserves this award for sure without a doubt he has helped many people get through terrible times.
I truly don’t know where to start when saying why I nominate Mart for a celebrant award as there are so many wonderful things to say. My husband recently passed away and I knew straight away who I wanted to take his funeral and that was Mark. Mark worked with myself and family to ensure that my husband had the best service possible. Mark truly made the service very special, he listened to everything that I wanted and went above and beyond to ensure my wishes could be met, Mark has a way of putting you at ease and puts his heart and soul into the services that he delivers, he truly is a magical guy.
Mark became a friend of the family many years ago when I became seriously ill. He provided me with much strength and comfort. I have since fully recovered and Mark has remained a true friend. He has conducted funerals for close family, one as recently as 3 weeks ago for my late Father. Nothing is too much trouble for Mark, his services are beautiful. In fact, after my Father's funeral I felt quite euphoric, as Mark had provided the most wonderful farewell anyone, or their family could wish for. Mark is one of the nicest, most caring, genuine people you could ever meet and I feel privileged to call him my friend and indeed a friend of the family. I hope Mark is successful in this nomination, this Celebrant truly deserves recognition and for him to win would be wonderful.
He is a revelation (in the best sense of the word!).
He has officiated at our wedding, child blessing and remembrance of my departed parents in law.Each situation was treated exactly as we felt it should be and we will be forever indebted to Mark for helping us and celebrating with us! Thank you Mark!
During an already difficult year, as a family we were faced with having to say farewell to one of elders. Mark was so professional throughout yet still being approachable, friendly and helpful, all whilst adhering to the ever changing guidelines. He pre warned us about the service being somewhat different to a normal service, his advice, openness and honesty made the hard task seem a little easier. He conducted the service with respect and dignity to beloved. I’ve been a part of many services that Mark has conducted, from weddings, funerals, community events and such like, at each he’s been remarkable and deserving of all recognition possible.
Mark conducted the funeral service held on 21st December for my mother. The compassion he showed during the time for preparation was second to none. The guidance and words of which at such a sad time are difficult to express but Mark found just the right ones with very little change making the task so simple for us.He conducted himself gently with such a calm approach that everyone made comments how comforting he made us all feel, you could feel his warmth when he spoke about my mother.
I could never thank him enough.
Mark officiated at my father's funeral earlier this year.
He was absolutely wonderful from our first meeting to after the funeral.
Despite not having actually met my father he produced a wonderful eulogy which celebrated my father's life with pathos and humour.
I am not a Christian (and neither was my father) but the funeral service was one of the most moving and spiritual experiences I have ever experienced thanks to Mark.My mother thought Mark was amazing and he made the whole sad experience much more bearable for all of us.
Mark is a most kind, caring and uplifting human. He conducted my father's funeral service in December 2019 and I felt very safe and supported. Mark helped us as a family to move through one of the most difficult times of my life and I cannot thank him enough. In September this year my mother-in-law died and I asked Mark if he was conducting the service (but he hadn't been asked to). However, a couple of weeks later, on the day of the service, we arrived at the crematorium and received a message of support from Mark. He had taken the time and trouble to do this for us, which was wonderful. Mark is thoroughly deserving of this award.
I’ve been to many of Mark’s services and each and every one of them are unique, personal and quite simply beautiful. He takes the time to get to know the person and family. He goes through everything with you to make sure you feel happy about how the service will be and how everything is planned after. I was so grateful when Mark rang me to do my grandfather’s service, I knew he held beautiful services with joy and happiness instead of the usual sadness which comes with a funeral. He did my grandad proud with his service and myself and my family are so grateful to him for what he did.
Mark not only is a professional writer and magician. But is also very good at his job. He showed my Mum and myself the upmost respect and compassion in a time of grief. He also conducted the funeral service at the crematorium with outstanding professionalism. And I would dearly like to nominate him for an award.
Most charismatic,sympathetic and considerate person.He performed my husband’s Celebration of Life Ceremony and it truly was magical and brought happiness and love into a sad occasion.
Mark has performed as celebrant at two family funerals for me, each time he has gone that extra mile, taking time to get pertinent details about the deceased, giving us time to change details no matter how many times, sharing suggestions for readings when we struggled to find something everyone agreed on, the list goes on. Mark is a genuinely nice person, for whom nothing is ever too much trouble. Regarding the actual services, both times everything was handled with sensitivity, humanity and professionalism and many attendees remarked on how good Mark actually was. I would not hesitate to recommend Mark and happily nominate him for this award which he absolutely deserves to win.
Mark has officiated at our daughter's wedding and also at our son's funeral, both of course totally different ceremonies. Mark takes much of his time making sure that we have exactly what we want and has the best eye for detail. At our daughter's wedding people had travelled as far as New Zealand and everyone commented on what a wonderful service Mark conducted, none of those present had ever witnessed such a personal touch. I have known Mark for a very long time and he has always shown a warmth that very few people have. I would not consider having anyone but Mark, he makes me feel safe.
Mark was completely fabulous when my father in law died in April. He was exceptional, so sensitive and supportive. We had a few lengthy phone conversations; it wasn’t straightforward as we discovered some rather upsetting details about my father in law after his death. Mark was so supportive; ensuring it was a good funeral despite any background information. I had to read the eulogy, Mark was invaluable in the preparation and delivery of this. I honestly think Mark has such a wonderful manner, a precious gift, helping us enormously. It is the least I can do to recommend him for this award. He really is very special.
Very professional, nothing is too much trouble, beautiful service at my father’s cremation.
Mark is not only extremely professional but the warmest kindest person who helped me through a very difficult time in September when my dad died. He listens intently and takes on board everything you tell him. His service for my dad was absolutely beautiful, peaceful and was admired and loved by all in attendance especially during these terrible times we are living through. I cannot recommend Mark highly enough to everyone.
My husband passed away in February 2020, and Mark was the celebrant who took his service. We met at our home to make arrangements, and he was so caring and helpful. The service was all we hoped for, and he conducted it just how we, and my late husband, would have wanted.
We met Mark after the sudden death of my sister in law from cancer. To be honest I was not feeling very forgiving at that time, I was angry.Mark came into her husband’s house and generated calm, listening patiently as we waded through grief.He kept us informed throughout when putting together the order of service, the outcome was beautiful. I really felt that he had captured the her spirit, which was shared with all of her family and friends. I can't thank him enough for guiding us through a painful experience, but one we can look back on with pride because it captured a beautiful soul that we will miss forever.
I cannot speak highly enough of Mark. He takes great care of everyone that he helps in their darkest time and goes to so much trouble to make the service suit the person and their family. He takes the same care and thoughtfulness when he conducts marriages.He is a very kind and thoughtful person and it is a great pleasure for me to nominate Mark for this award which I think he truly deserves.
When my husband died in February I needed a celebrant and having been to wedding performed by Mark, I approached him about conducting the funeral for us. We were clearly not prepared for my husband’s sudden death, Mark was extremely thoughtful in his guidance. He advised us through the various processes with careful understanding to enable us to have the service that we were comfortable with. His manner and approach was exactly what I required at this difficult time.
Mark was excellent in his dealings with the family for my mother in law’s funeral. The funeral directors had not sorted anyone for the service and Mark was asked at the last minute. He never showed that this was a late booking. He took time to meet the whole family and made sure everyone was included. He listened tentatively to stories about the deceased and even provided a poem as part of the service which reflected my mother in laws love of cycling, which was well received by everyone. The family have all said they would like Mark to undertake their service when the time comes and this shows true faith in his work. Excellent!
He is an exceptional Human being. Kind,caring and compassionate person that goes out of his way to help others in their time of need. Even in the most saddest of occasions and joyous occasions. This is why I am nominating Mark Townsend for the AOIC Celebrant Awards I have known Mr. Townsend from his posts on social media that he has proven himself time over as a wonderful celebrant.
Mark is able to mix the Sacred with the everyday. He uses humour and wisdom, and his background in the church coupled with his sensitivity to the natural world means he is able to devise sensitive and memorable ceremonies.
Mark has an absolute dedication to anyone he meets from his own community to literally world-wide.He's absolutely dedicated to his job & has a way to make you feel you’re not alone in devastating times, even though he may be going through some rough time of his own. I've never known anyone so dedicated the world are literally his family, the respect for this man is endless especially in his community.
Mark is a wonderful person and gave us the most magical day ever. Almost 10 years on and we still talk about him regularly - a testament to the impact he had on us. Mark knew exactly what we wanted from our wedding day and provided us with a truly unique, special and memorable occasion. We have recommended Mark to so many people - simply because he’s great!
I'm nominating Mark Townsend because Mark has been an inspiration to me! I have several of his books and they have helped me on my own spiritual journey. He is open and honest and doesn't fit into a box. He thinks outside the box and that to me is like a breath of fresh air.To say this year has been difficult is an understatement and I'm sure very hard for Mark with funeral after funeral. With his Facebook posts he has made us smile. He has posted prayer ceremonies which I've loved and have been comforting. In my humble opinion, if anyone deserves this award it's Mark Townsend.
Mark Helped me surprise my wife with a renewal of our wedding vows, It took place on our lawn in front of our family and friends. Mark played his part so well he was very caring, considerate and loving, when I broke down mark took over my speech and delivered it much better than I ever could. I would highly recommend him for any occasion.
Where do I begin? Mark was my chosen celebrant for my parents surprise 50th wedding anniversary. I decided they should renew their vows as a surprise held in my garden. Mark was amazing the service his words he wrote his generosity his wisdom his kindness shone throughout the whole experience. What a magical service he created for us a memory to cherish for all of us.
My nomination for this year’s AOIC Celebrant Awards is Reverend Mark Townsend.Mark truly is unique in all aspects of his work, having a distinct appealing quality different from all others. Mark incorporates modern illusion and stage magic, blended with traditional Christian beliefs and ancient traditions including Handfasting’s. Like no other, can such an eclectic blend be found and how Mark achieves this in itself is magical.
My wife from a Catholic upbringing and myself Church of England married last year and we were looking for a service that was different, unique and had that everlasting “wow factor” that we and our guests would remember forever. There are many different qualities looked for in a good priest and Mark has all of these in abundance. However; to find a member of the clergy who can bring diverse faiths and beliefs together in the modern world was in itself a challenge. That was until we met Mark.Having met Mark and outlined the vision we had for our ceremony we were completely blown away with the ideas, detail and energy Mark imparted within the final service. More so with the stage magic and Celtic elements that Mark delivered in the ceremony that left both my wife and I, along with guests intrigued and bewildered as to how Mark achieved this making the ceremony like no other, never seen before.It is difficult to articulate all the details and feeling Mark is able to deliver in his work. Mark works tirelessly and is leading an emerging generation with beliefs and faiths beyond traditions within Christianity. Mark is a priest for the modern world ensuring religion and faith is accessible to a new age.As the world continually thrives for modernisation comfort can be found in the traditions of Mark’s beliefs. What is truly unique in Mark is how he is able to deliver in a style not seen before, his beliefs and at the same capture a modern era.
Mark is the people’s Priest for the next generation and deserves all his plaudits for having the desire and strength to recognise many diverse beliefs and a new appreciation of faith that allows access to everyone.
Mr Townsend was the celebrant who managed my mother’s funeral. We as a family chose him due to the amazing work he had done for families in similar circumstances and also came highly recommended by people we contacted for recommendations.Mr Townsend was incredibly helpful both prior, during and after the ceremony to make sure everything was in order and that myself and my loved ones were alright. The service he delivered was personal to my mother with the hymns, poems and songs delivered brilliantly. Mr Townsend did everything I could wish for to make sure my mother’s funeral was as stress free and her passing easier to bear. I hope I’m not in a position to recommend a celebrant or use one for a little while to come but If I ever am I would only want to use Mr Townsend.
Mark helped me to plan and prepare for, and then he delivered the public celebration of my husband‘s life. We had to start from the very beginning, as my husband had said nothing about what manner of farewell he wanted to have, only that he didn’t want anything conventionally religious.
At a time when I was shell-shocked, adrift and exhausted, my friend recommended Mark to me. His relaxed and down to earth manner, made it easy to talk with him, even though it was inevitably personal and we planned a farewell for my husband which couldn’t have been more fitting. Mark has a jolly twinkle in his eyes and of course is respectful of everyone concerned, but not in a stuffy way. He is deeply human, deeply caring and provides such a service to people who are at their lowest ebb. Now, I can at least look back at my husband’s farewell and be so thoroughly contented that it was in every respect right for him, words, music, everything. I will always be indebted to Mark for enabling this to be. I’m very much hoping he’ll be about when my time comes and I can’t say more than that.
Mark composed a wonderfully personal service for my 94 year old mother very recently.We had discussed her life on the phone as I live 200 miles away and do not know the area. I wrote some notes for Mark to have as markers and we communicated via email to get the service just right.Her love was nature and the countryside. Mark was able to find the most poignant pieces of writing from Monty Don and a beautiful piece of poetry "I give you this one thought to keep."Mum wanted "The Lord is my Shepherd" and Mark sourced a beautiful version which as I requested didn't make me cry!The whole service was so beautiful and delivered with great respect and at a gentle pace which made everything so meaningful.I was very impressed when I looked up Mark was looking at me and to others...delivering the service on that detailed,personal level not talking above people's heads to a non-existent crowd at the back.Most people when asked how a funeral went go "well as good as it can be under the circumstances."I said to people "it was perfect."I felt Mark was sent me in these very trying times to help smooth the next stage of mum's journey.Mark made all of us there feel at peace and that is a wonderful gift to be able to share with others.
We loved Mark's refreshing, sincere, and heartfelt approach at my mother's funeral. He understood and appreciated exactly what we wanted from the occasion and delivered his message with real compassion. He listened to our needs and created a very personal service with a touch of magic. Exactly what we all needed at this sad time. His communication and organisational skills are also excellent.
Mark gave the most wonderful, moving funeral service in Worcester on the 8thJan 20201.He touched us all with his warmth to the family.He made it feel like he's was part of the family.Very moved by his words,Mark is a man of true understanding of people’s feelings.
Yesterday was my Mum's funeral, Mark was our choice to officiate at the service and it was live streamed around the world. We received a messaged from a relative watching saying that Mark must have known Mum very well as it was wonderful how he captured her character and life in the words and prayers, even incorporating an African prayer. The fact was Mum had never met Mark, but Mark clearly 'met' with Mum at a human and spiritual level. His presence was calming, uplifting, touching, and appropriate, and his use of bubbles and white feathers resonated not just with the adults but with Mum's two young great-granddaughters. Another relative also watching sent a message to say she was so moved by the service that she immediately went outdoors and blew bubbles in a blessing for Mum. Mark had enabled everyone present and watching to feel connected to Mum and Heaven.
In a time of great difficulty, Mark was very understanding and helped me put together and then presented a service for my partner, which - as so many people commented upon afterwards - completely captured the essence of his character. He also managed to find the piece of music which I knew my partner found very moving: I knew the name of the composer, but not the title.I can't fault Mark in any way and am so appreciative of both his calm and understanding attitude and that of the undertakers who arranged everything.
We live in Canada, our brother lived in the UK.. When our brother got sick and eventually passed we were there. However, we faced more than the challenge of his passing, we faced the task of the cremation and the responsibility of making sure we honored his memory in the best way possible. Being in a different country, we were unsure of how to proceed, not only that, we had been apart from our brother for many years and as happens we had “grown” apart from each other in many ways... Mark, truly was a “God send” - he saved us from more emotional heartbreak and stress, he was kind, intelligent and most of all compassionate... and oh so patient with me (I was his contact in this situation). There was no feeling of intimidation, nor any negatives at all, Mark, listened to me, he challenged me in a kind and caring way to really think about who our brother was and what his life had been... the whole family was and is Grateful to Mark, and for myself, that gratitude will never wane... He “saved” us... :)
Very tragically my partner recently died - too young. We knew of Mark because he had been the celebrant at our nephew's funeral years before. When we knew what was in front of us, there was only one person that she wanted to act as the celebrant at her funeral. Mark visited us at home twice in preparation - does it sound strange to say that we really enjoyed those visits? He was gentle, caring, practical, appreciative and loving. He turned what should have been an unbearable meeting into an important step on this journey we were taking together. Such different paths on it of course but Mark cared for us BOTH. The actual services he conducted when the time came were true celebrations of a wonderful woman. It felt to me that he TOTALLY KNEW my partner and he was able to talk about her from his heart. He added special touches with a lightness of touch that was appreciated by every one of the 200+ people there.Not only that, but he joined us for the scattering of her ashes (in the pouring rain)some weeks later: not in an official capacity but because he cared and wanted to be there.I also invited him, on this occasion after we had eaten, to give a little magic show. This again made a very sad occasion special- and not only for the children who were present!He is a man of many talents and attributes. I hope he is still working when the time comes that I need a celebrant for my funeral.I can think of no-one more deserving to receive recognition.
Mark led my Nanny's funeral this week. He made everyone feel at ease, he was a very calming and uplifting presence. As someone who is not religious, I still felt welcomed and comforted, which in the past by others, I have been made to feel the opposite at a funeral, which was upsetting. I loved his touch of magic - it was meditative, unique, special and gentle. He was extremely respectful, it was almost like he shared our sadness and just bought everything together so perfectly and I'm just so glad it was he that led our service. Thank you :)
Mark is a very approachable and sincere person. He leads a service with compassion, kindness and creativity... his words connect with people and make it a very personal and meaningful experience.
Obviously this year has been particularly challenging. Due to lockdown sometimes Mark had not been able to meet up with families before the funeral service. He has always maintained good contact with them. Families have been very comfortable with him even when they only just meet him for the first time a few minutes before the funeral service. They have been really pleased with the way he has presented the final farewell to their loved ones. Even the last few weeks when he has been in a lot of pain with his back he has never let me or families down still carrying on as his usual self.
I work as a funeral director in Hereford and use Mark’s services more or less every week.He is always my first choice as his manner and delivery during the service is second to none in the Hereford area. My clients love him and always praise his abilities so I’d like to nominate him for this award and would love to see him win, he would thoroughly deserve it.
I am a funeral director in Herefordshire. We have used Mark for our services at Hereford Crematorium and Green Burial sites for a number of years.Every service Mark takes is so personal and meaningful for the deceased and grieving family. If sadly the family have another loss without fail they always ask for Mark to take that service as well.
During the first lockdown in this most difficult year some clergy were reluctant to take funeral services but Mark would always step forward as he always puts the family first before himself.The great thing about Mark is that he can take a religious, non-religious services or a “mix and match” which many families really appreciate.I would not hesitate in recommending Mark for this award as if any one deserves it Mark certainly does.
Mark is a very special person and a perfect celebrant. Nothing is too much to make sure all details are correct and exactly how you want things. He has humour, compassion, empathy and humanity I cannot recommend him highly enough.
Mark spends more time with families and truly puts a fantastic service together. I would always recommend Mark and believe the compassion and professionalism that he shows are not only an asset to any funeral director but a credit to him and his dedication to the families he serves.
We are nominating Mark for first and foremost his professionalism with regards to conducting services. Every service Mark does is tailored to the deceased and not just reading from the same old scripture. He’s also done a few family funerals for us and everyone has been so complimentary about how it’s gone. Mark is a treasure to families when they’re going through some of the most difficult times in their life.
I have been a funeral director in Hereford for 30 years, owning my own funeral business for the last 11 years. The first time I met Mark on a professional level, I thought to myself “this man has everything needed to be the best” from his general appearance to his soft touch manner. Mark never fails to go the extra mile for families, whether that’s handing families a momentum for them to keep, or getting something signed for them from a favourite artist, following the choice of music played at the funeral. I always have Mark conduct my funerals and that will never change.
We liaise with Mark over Service Orders when working with families preparing for a loved one's funeral. Mark has a wonderful ability in guiding the celebrations; by offering sincerity to all concerned; inviting everyone to focus on their unique relationship with the deceased person; re-telling the individual's story when requested; calmly conducting proceedings so that every funeral is, as far as possible, special, respectful, comfortable and comforting. He works very hard in fine-tuning his special talents. I think that Mark is a celebrant truly worthy of celebration!
Mark is an unfailingly compassionate and caring man and celebrant. He also works incredibly hard for our families.
Mark is well known by many families. I have worked with Mark for several years as a funeral director when I always recommended him to conduct all types of funeral services, whether religious or non-religious. Mark has a very unique way of making families feel at ease, bringing forward their own spiritual beliefs. He creates and plans extraordinary and individualistic services to celebrate a person’s life for a loved one, and each celebration is 'perfect' in the way that it is presented, to include all members of a deceased's family. I would highly recommend Mark who really deserves the highest recognition too for his commitment and dedicated role as a celebrant. I cannot recommend him enough for this prestigious award.
Mark has worked for us for a number of years and has never let us down. He conducts the funeral service around the life of the deceased so that each service is individual to that person. We have never had any complaint from the relatives of the deceased, only deeply held praise for him. During the preceding difficult twelve months, he has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of families in harrowing circumstances, even stepping in to take services when other ministers felt they were unable to do so. I cannot praise and thank him enough for the support he has given to us and the families we have been dealing with.
Mark is a fantastic celebrant who makes every funeral service unique. He is absolutely fantastic at personalising the service to suit every age and captures the essence of the person. He takes a beautiful service and he seems to have that human touch that is essential. I have used Mark on several funerals for over 6 years now and have never had a complaint.
Every family loves him!
I first knew Mark in a professional capacity many years ago. I was a Funeral Director, he was an Anglican Priest. Since then he and I have both changed tack, and we are now both celebrants. Throughout the pandemic Mark has steadfastly gone above and beyond the call of duty in terms of his profession, but he has also gone the extra mile for his friends and acquaintances on social media. On a daily basis - sometimes several times a day - he will post videos, messages, music, all sorts of offerings that encourage, support, and sustain his viewers. He has become for me, and a great many others, our "go to" place when things have got tough - all this in spite of the difficulties and emotions that Mark himself must be enduring. I warmly commend Mark for this award.
Mark has worked tirelessly for many years in the counties of Herefordshire and Shropshire, helping families at the darkest times.More so, over the last few months during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mark takes the time and care to tailor each and every service to the individual families requirements, where some celebrants use a general script with small adjustments, so each service is unique.