Fresh approach to funerals puts local women in line for top award

Two women, passionate about changing the way we think about funerals, are in line for a top industry award.

unnamedIndependent celebrants Kate Tym and Kate Dyer have won their way through to the finals of The Association of Green Funeral Directors, Good Funeral Awards, in the category of Funeral Celebrant of the Year.

The Kates have worked hard to change the way people view funerals, even encouraging them to plan for their own send off. They want to abandon the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to funerals and say that is no longer relevant. Instead they see a ceremony that is a ‘celebration of life,’ one that honours each person as an individual.

Their nomination for this award is, they say, validation of the work they have been doing.

“There’s no right or wrong way to conduct an end-of-life celebration,” says Kate Dyer, “it’s whatever is right for that individual and that family.”

Kate Tym says: “We’re all about choice. We want people to know that you can hold your final farewell in a barn or a village hall or even in your back garden and that, by separating the cremation or burial from the celebration of life, you completely change the atmosphere and free yourself up to provide a much more personal experience.”

They say that people don’t realise they can have more than just 20 minutes at the crematorium and are amazed when they find out what their choices are.  

Kate T says: “We make plans for birth, we plan our weddings but we seem to ignore the one certainty in life – our death! We really try to encourage people to think about this ahead of time, to talk, to plan, to cost and empower themselves to take control of their final send-off.”

K&K studio aug 18
Kate Tym and Kate Dyer – in line for a top award.

“A crematorium or church service is absolutely right for some people  and can be a really meaningful and sincere send-off and we’re really happy to arrange that if that’s what you want. But we also want to promote the fact that there are other approaches and support people in those too. It really is all about choice,” Kate D says.

They say they are ‘absolutely thrilled’ to be finalists in these awards: “It’s really amazing to have some recognition of the work we’ve put in to offering families options and making each funeral we do as person-centred as it can possibly be,” says Kate D.

“Families either book us through a Funeral Director, or come to us directly ,we talk them through all the choices available as well as how a ceremony conventionally runs – that gives us a starting point. From there we support them in whatever they might want or need to be included in their ceremony and help them make that happen.

“We can work with families after someone has died but, what is also becoming more common, is to work with someone who’s still alive – planning your own funeral can actually be really rewarding!” says Kate D.

“It’s not about putting the ‘fun’ in funerals, as generally, it’s a deeply sad and difficult time. But it is about trying to find an honest reflection of who that person was in life and celebrating all they were after they have died. We’re all so individual and unique that we think that should be reflected in how the end of our life is celebrated, too,” Kate D told Hastings In Focus.

“We’re really looking forward to the awards ceremony, it’s at Port Lympne and we can have a stroll round the wildlife reserve first. Obviously, it would be amazing if we won, but if we don’t, it’s fine, as we still get a night out and a delicious dinner!” says Kate T.

If you’d like to get in touch with Kate and Kate you’ll find more information on their website

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