Farewells – Funerals, Memorials and more

Funerals during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

When a loved one dies it is always a very difficult and upsetting time and if you have recently suffered a bereavement I would like to offer my sincere condolences. Social distancing restrictions are changing how funerals and burials are being conducted. This means that it can be even more difficult to say goodbye in the way you would have wished.

There are currently restrictions on how many people can attend funerals. Many funeral directors and crematoria are arranging for live streaming or recording of the ceremony so that others can be part of this final farewell or see the ceremony later.

If you have been unable to have a funeral ceremony or attendance was restricted it will be possible to have a Memorial Ceremony or an Interment or Scattering of Ashes ceremony at a later date. This will allow all family and friends can come together to celebrate the life of the person who has died, acknowledge their grief and say a final farewell.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss your loved one’s funeral, a Memorial Ceremony or Scattering or Interment of Ashes Ceremony

If you’re struggling with your grief and would like some support, you may find it helpful to contact a bereavement counselling service such as Grief Chat. You can contact them using this link www.professionalhelp.org.uk/grief-chat where you will be supported by a qualified bereavement counsellor. This service is free of charge and open Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm. or contact: info@griefchat.co.uk

If I conducted the funeral ceremony there will be no additional fee for a Memorial or Scattering/Internment of Ashes ceremony.

For other Memorial or Scattering/Internemnt of Ashes Ceremonies following a COVID-19 restricted funeral there will be a 10% discount on my fees

Current Restrictions as a result of the Coronavirus Outbreak

Currently Funerals are being restricted to a maximum of 30 people however this number is less at some some crematoria where there isn’t enough space to enable social distancing. The priority in all cases is to keep people safe and well, mourners, crematorium staff and other funeral professionals.Limiting attendees will be done sensitively, taking into account individual circumstances.

Say farewell with a uniquely personalised ceremony

Anne-Marie will create a uniquely personal funeral ceremony for you

I create and conduct the following ceremonies

  • Funeral – Burial or Cremation
  • Natural Burial
  • A Memorial
  • A Memorial after a direct cremation
  • Scattering or Interment of Ashes

Everyone is unique and a funeral ceremony can reflect this by focusing on the person who has died and their family and friends rather than following a set format or standard service. You will choose what you wish to include and how you would like to say your final farewell. Your ceremony will be based on your beliefs and values it can be secular, religious or semi religious including a religious reading, a prayer or a hymn.

At this very difficult time for you I will guide you through planning the ceremony. I can help you to create your own distinctive and meaningful ceremony celebrating the life of the person who has died, acknowledging the grief of family and friends and providing a chance to say a final farewell with dignity and respect. I will then lead the ceremony on the day.

When we meet I will listen to what you have to say about the person who has died. We will talk about how you wish to recall the life that has been lived, for example:

**A tribute or eulogy telling the story of the person’s life **Memories of family and friends **Poetry, music and readings (religious prayers, readings and hymns can be included)

I will then create a very personalised ceremony for you. I will liaise with your funeral director and others involved in the arrangements to make sure that the ceremony is just what you wish it to be.

Different types of farewells that you can choose


As an independent celebrant I will create a funeral ceremony based on your wishes and including whatever music, readings, poetry including religious readings prayers and music you choose. Whether you decide on a burial or a cremation the ceremony will be fully personalised celebrating your loved one’s life and reflecting your loss with dignity and respect at all times.

Traditional Funerals are usually organised through a funeral director who will make all the practical arrangements for a cremation or burial. (You can make the arrangements for a funeral or cremation yourself if you wish to do so)

Most crematoriums and cemetery ceremonies take place during working hours on weekdays. Each crematorium will have a set length of time for the ceremony that usually ranges between 20 and 30 minutes. Your funeral director will be able to advise you about this.

Some crematoriums have facilities to skype the ceremony to family who are unable to attend the ceremony in person, please check with your funeral director.

Natural Burials

You can have a celebrant led funeral ceremony at Rufforth and Knapton Natural Burial Site near York

Natural burials offer an environmentally friendly, cost effective alternative to traditional funerals. There are beautiful natural burial sites across the country providing an informal nature rich environment to lay your loved one to rest.

Rufforth and Knapton Natural Burial Site near York Tel 01904 735751

I can help you to create a very special ceremony celebrating the life of your loved one, providing an opportunity for you to say goodbye in your own way with readings, poetry or prayers. You can lay your loved one to rest with dignity and respect in the peaceful setting of a natural burial site.

There are various reasons for choosing a natural burial, some people wish to be laid to rest in a peaceful countryside setting, a wildflower meadow or a woodland. Others choose a natural burial because they are conscious of the environmental impact of other forms of burial or cremation.

Natural burial sites are managed ecologically to maintain the site encouraging biodiversity, a haven for flora and fauna. They provide beautiful settings for family and friends to reflect on the live that has been lived and recall happy times together.

If you are considering a natural burial please make sure your funeral director knows at the earliest opportunity because embalmed bodies can’t be buried at natural burial sites. (Embalming is sometimes referred to as ‘hygienic treatment’). It isn’t always necessary to use use a funeral director for a natural burial but this can vary from site to site. Many natural burial sites also provide space for the scattering of ashes or burial of ashes in eco-friendly caskets.

Naturally degrading coffins for natural burials
Natural Woven Coffins https://www.naturalwovencoffins.co.uk/

The type of coffin used for a natural burial should be able to degrade naturally, there are a variety of choices and the site you choose will be able to advise you.

Natural Woven Coffins https://www.naturalwovencoffins.co.uk/

For more information and to find out where there are Natural Burial grounds close to you please go to the Natural Death Centre website www.naturaldeath.org.uk or you can call their helpline on 01962 712690

You can arrange a natural burial through a Funeral Director or you can make the arrangements yourself

Memorials including those following direct cremation

A Memorial Ceremony is a ceremony held to remember the person who has died without their body being present. Memorial ceremonies are often held following a private family funeral or following a direct cremation where no mourners attend.

A celebrant led Memorial Ceremony will be sincere and meaningful.

I can help you to create a uniquely personalised ceremony that is sincere and meaningful.

I will create a memorial service according to your wishes, where your family and friends come together to celebrate the life of the person who has died, express their grief and share their memories.

Your ceremony can be secular, religious or semi-religious, it allows you to remember the person who has died in your own way, where and when you choose.

This ceremony can take place at any time, you can choose a time that’s right for you, your family and friends including an evening or a weekend. You can decide how long the ceremony will be, you aren’t limited to crematorium or cemetery time limits

Hold your memorial ceremony anywhere, for example in a village hall

A memorial ceremony can be held anywhere Community centre or Village hall Hotel function room A woodland or meadow Your own home or garden A place special to the person who has died It’s your choice

A memorial ceremony can be a useful choice when family members live a long way away and are unable to travel close to the date of death. It can also be more convenient if you expect a large number of people to attend because a suitably sized venue can be chosen.

A memorial ceremony can also be a less expensive option if it follows a direct cremation which is cheaper than a traditional one. You can choose a venue within your price range or it can take place at your own home or in your garden

Scattering or Interment (Burial) of Ashes

Independent Celebrant Anne-Marie will create a unique Scattering or Internment of Ashes ceremony for you.

I will help you to create a very special ceremony

The ceremony can be as formal or as informal as you wish. It can include readings or poems, including religious readings, perhaps something that was read at the funeral.

I can create a personalised ceremony to make this often difficult event truly meaningful whether you decide to scatter your loved one’s ashes or bury them .

Ashes may be scattering anywhere provided you have the landowner’s permission. Crematoriums usually have a memorial garden where ashes can be scattered. Some cemeteries allow the scattering of ashes on a family grave but others do not, it is important to check.

Burial or Interment of ashes often take place at a cemetery, burial ground or natural burial ground however you can also bury the urn in your garden.

For easily accessible information on where you can scatter or bury ashes https://beyond.life/help-centre/arranging-a-funeral/laws-regulations-on-scattering-ashes-in-the-uk/

If you wish to plan your own funeral or to arrange a living ceremony please click here


From the first phone call with Anne-Marie to enquire about conducting our father’s funeral she put us at our ease and gave us confidence that the ceremony would be in capable and secure hands. Prior to the funeral itself, we had two lengthy meetings which enabled Anne-Marie to familiarize herself with our father’s character and the timeline of his long life. There followed regular email communication which ensured that on the day of the funeral proceedings ran efficiently and smoothly. Anne- Marie’s advice, attention to detail and professionalism helped us put together a very personal ceremony which was appreciated by family and friends alike and which did our father proud. Thank you. Alison and Jane

Thank you for everything you have done, it means a lot to me and my family. Even down to taking the time to get to know us and understanding things about us. Your compassion is so appreciated at a time so scary and upsetting for me, made more bearable by such a lovely caring kind person. Words sometimes do not seem enough but thank you so much, a beautiful service for my Esi-Belle. Dionne and family

Words alone cannot convey how very grateful we are for the beautiful service you created for my mum. You were so kind and thoughtful and receiving a copy of the service was very special. So many of our friends and family commented on how genuine and ‘real’ the service was – so a huge Thank-You from us all. Lisa, Patrick, Alice, Thomas, Peter, Rachel and Lewis

Thank you so much for your wonderful presence and memories of Robert. You were perfect. HB

Anne Marie is a lovely lady; an articulate and well-organised celebrant who gives 100% to her ceremonies. She writes very well and speaks with great warmth and sincerity. Her writing is individually tailored to each couple, giving an unforgettable ceremony. Judy M

Anne Marie Ledson can be trusted 100% to provide an empathic, experienced and professional service whatever the occasion. Anna S

The service I provide and my fees

Whatever type of ceremony you choose:

  • We will meet you to discuss how you wish to recall the life that has been lived and how you wish to say your final farewell with dignity and respect. DURING THE CURENT COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS ALL MEETINGS WILL BE BY: Facetime, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp video or another accessible app
  • I will then create a very personalised ceremony for you, including a tribute or eulogy if you wish. You will be able to check the ceremony content in advance.
  • Following our meeting I will be available by telephone and email to discuss the ceremony.
  • I will lead the ceremony on the day and I will send you a commemorative copy after the ceremony for you to keep.

Fees for Funerals, Natural Burials and Memorials   £160 Fees for Funerals and Natural Burials are normally paid through your Funeral Director if you have one, otherwise I will provide details of how you can pay me directly in advance of the ceremony.

Fees for Scattering or Internment (Burial) of Ashes £80 (No charge if I conducted the funeral, unless the ceremony takes place more than 30 miles away when mileage will be charged)

For Memorial or Scattering/Internemnt of Ashes Ceremonies following a COVID -19 restricted funeral ceremony there will be a 10% discount on my feesfree if I conducted the funeral

(Additional mileage charges apply for ceremonies more than 30 miles radius from Wetherby, West Yorkshire – If overnight accommodation is required close to the ceremony venue this will charged at cost following discussion with you)

You can contact me directly or ask your funeral director to contact me.

Telephone: 07484 235561  Email:  amledson@btinternet.com

Support for Bereaved People

CRUSE – The Cruse Bereavement Care freephone National Helpline is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers who offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement. Helpline 0800 808 1677  Open Mon 9.30 – 5pm; Tues -Thurs 9.30 – 8pm; Fri 9.30 – 5pm For more information https://www.cruse.org.uk/

Grief Chat – If you would like some free support related to your bereavement Grief Chat provides emotional support, access to trained bereavement counsellors and referral to other specialised bereavement services. For more information about Grief Chat please go to: https://www.griefchat.co.uk available 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday FREE to all bereaved people.

Leeds Bereavement Forum For help to find the right support in the Leeds area. http://lbforum.org.uk/about/ Tel: 0113 225 3975 Directory of Services link      http://lbforum.org.uk/services/