In the last few weeks, we have heard of the tragic death of Rio Ferdinand’s 34-year-old wife, Rebecca Ellison and also lost the Fylde Coast’s own favourite ventriloquist, Keith Harris, to cancer.
Sometimes a loss can make no sense at all, but for one Fylde man, guiding the bereaved through the process of understanding is where his day-to-day efforts are now focused.
John Porter, who runs the Fylde Coast Funeral Celebrant business, said he hoped that this week’s Dying Matters Week would help people think about how they want their funeral to be.
He founded the business in summer 2014, having studied to gain a professional qualification.
The decision to go down this path was a personal one. John’s mother had asked him to conduct her funeral and, after he had successfully celebrated her life, other family members asked him to assist them.
Having discovered a natural empathy for the role, he elected to make it his future profession.
Since John established Fylde Coast Funeral Celebrant he has been attending and leading the celebration at funerals every month.
He works closely with funeral directors and families who come to him directly, having got to know him personally at a funeral he has been involved with.
John aims to create a truly personal funeral ceremony, exactly how the person that died or their family, want it to be.
His role is to be supportive and empathetic, while celebrating the contribution that the person made to the world, whether as a parent, partner, sibling, child, teacher or friend.
John said, “Families have often grown up with a view of how a funeral works and what has to happen, but do not realise that it doesn’t have to be like that at all.
“It can be how they want it to be, as religious or non-religious as they wish and as personalised as they feel appropriate.
“My hope is that we can reach a stage where wishes will be written down and kept safe somewhere, as that will provide those left behind with an even greater degree of comfort, knowing they fulfilled those wishes through the funeral ceremony that was conducted. ”
His role follows years spent working in other areas of emotional support including being a prisons outreach worker in Peru, managing a hostel for the homeless and working for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust for five years, as a social enterprise manager. He also supports the Transform the End of Life Care Team at Blackpool Vic.