Debbie Donnelly

Funeral Celebrant

Working with families to create and lead personal, bespoke and respectful funeral and Celebration of Life ceremonies that tell the story of the life that has been lived.

Information and resources for memorial and scattering of ashes services    Tel: 07799 178384


Watched the recorded service, I thought Debbie was amazing, really clear speaker and a very personal message.

May 2021

Thank you so much for being our celebrant for the online memorial service, it made all the difference

Jan 2021

The role of a celebrant

I am a member of the Institute of Civil Funerals and share their beliefs and standards

A civil funeral is “A funeral driven by the wishes beliefs and values of the deceased and their family not by the beliefs and ideology of the person conducting the funeral”.


This concept originated with the IoCF and was defined  by Emeritus Professor Tony Walter of the Centre for Death and Society at Bath University.

By choosing a civil funeral, families can ensure this final act of love focusses entirely on their loved one.  It may be a celebration or reflection of their life. 


A civil funeral ceremony is appropriate for either a cremation or burial and although it is often held in a crematorium or chapel, it can be held at a variety of locations to ensure the setting itself is as personal as the ceremony.

The ceremony itself may include music, readings, poetry and symbolic gestures such as candles and photographs.  

Religious or spiritual elements such as prayers and hymns can be included. Or the ceremony can be entirely non-religious.

Everything is put together with the support of a funeral celebrant to create a ceremony that is respectful, personal and memorable.


Working with you and helping you create bespoke and meaningful ceremonies 


Funeral Ceremonies

I will work with you to create meaningful ceremonies: a celebration of life, cremation, burial or themed funeral.
These can be completely secular or with religious or spiritual content.

I will meet with you and spend the time you need so I can capture the essence of the person and create a narrative that is both accurate and apt.
If needed I can provide guidance and ideas on readings, poetry and music.
A printed presentation script is supplied after the ceremony.

Memorial services

A memorial service is typically held some time after a private, family funeral or direct cremation. It is a longer ceremony, offering time to reflect on a life and legacy. 
There are no rules about how formal or relaxed it is; the ceremony is guided by the story of the person who has died.
It can include several tributes and readings, a slideshow of photos, mementoes or favourite music. I will work with you to get it right and I’m always happy to create something new or different.

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Scattering Ashes

Many people now prefer to scatter the ashes of their loved one in a favourite place or location that meant something to them. While there are no national laws restricting the scattering of ashes you do need to check before going ahead.

I can help you create a ceremony that reflects and celebrates your loved one and creates positive lasting memories in a favourite place.

How to get in touch

Debbie Donnelly

07799 178384

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Qualifications and Memberships

NOCN Level 3 Diploma in Funeral Celebrancy 


About me


I am a qualified, independent  funeral celebrant based on the Hants/Dorset border. I will work with you to create ceremonies that reflect your loved one's personal beliefs and values. Every life is unique and I will meet with you to learn about their journey and help you create a tribute that truly reflects their life and personality. I will always listen to your wishes and check that I have truly captured the essence of the person in the ceremony. 
My professional background is working with people in an HR capacity where I have gained many years experience of supporting people through difficult times and situations.
I live in Christchurch with my partner Mark and our dog, I enjoy travelling, am naturally curious and interested in people's stories. I believe that every funeral should 'be the best it can be'.