Bristolians represented in first national funeral tribute archive

April 29 2018

LOCAL humanist celebrants are immortalising the life stories of ordinary people from Bristol through a new initiative.

Karen Partridge, Clare Hanson-Kahn and Chrissie Hackett are helping to create the first national online archive of funeral tributes, using the thousands of funerals conducted by Humanists UK celebrants each year. 

Humanist funerals and memorial services are becoming increasingly popular across the UK, with research published in 2016 showing that one in seven British people want a humanist funeral when they die. A humanist funeral offers a personal and fitting way to say goodbye to those who have lived without religion, 

Humanists UK has provided humanist funerals since the 1890s, pioneering the concept of a non-religious funeral. Famous people to have had Humanists UK funerals include Terry Pratchett, Victoria Wood, Ronnie Barker and Bob Monkhouse.

The Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive will be accessible through an online catalogue, and people from Bristol will soon be represented. Anyone who has a funeral conducted by a Humanists UK-accredited celebrant is eligible to have their story lodged in the Archive, with scripts submitted at the request of families. Photos are also being stored to give a full picture of the person who is being commemorated. 

Humanists UK estimates that as many as a million people could have tributes to add to the Archive from funerals conducted so far, and it expects the Archive to rapidly become a significant repository of life stories from the 20th century and beyond.

Karen Partridge was inspired to become a humanist celebrant after the death of her father when she was young. 

She said: “My father was an atheist, and it was really important to our family that the person who led his funeral shared the same view. At the time, there just weren’t many humanist celebrants available and we had to go to the next county to find someone, which made me determined to become one at some point during my life.

“I’ve been leading humanist funerals in Bristol since 2008 and I’ve learned so much about the lives of the people who have helped make the city the place it is now and whose lives tell its history. 

"It has been such a privilege, and with the launch of the Archive those lives and stories can be made available for future generations.”

To view The Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive, visit: https://humanism.org.uk/ceremonies/funeral-tribute-archive/