Ten million Coronation Street fans steeled themselves for the death of a much-loved character last week (Monday, January 20) as Hayley Cropper took her own life after a battle with pancreatic cancer, played to critical acclaim by Julie Hesmondalgh.
And in a double bill on ITV (Friday, January 31), those same viewers will share husband Roy's despair at her funeral, which will be a humanist one.
The soap may drive many to tears but it could end up being good for business for two funeral celebrants who conduct non-religious funerals in the Chester area.
Jenny Baker and Peter Berry are accredited celebrants of the British Humanist Association, the organisation that advised ITV on what a humanist funeral involves.
Jenny, who has been a humanist celebrant in the Chester area since 2012, said: “Lots of people who aren’t religious know they wouldn’t want a church funeral for themselves but aren’t really sure what else is available. Hayley’s funeral will do a great job in letting people know that there are alternatives to faith-based funerals.”
The non-religious funeral ceremonies usually take place at Blacon Crematorium.
Jenny said: “We’re all unique and lead such different lives. It’s only right that a funeral reflects this and focuses on each person as an individual. People want an occasion that celebrates a life led and the relationships forged with family and friends, as well as being able to share sadness.”
When preparing a funeral, Jenny or Peter visit those closest to the person that has died to find out about their life and what is wanted from the occasion. They advise on music, readings and contributions from other people and then create a unique ceremony.”
Peter said: “Humanist funerals are completely flexible. There are no rules or a set script. My role is about helping to create a funeral that’s just right for the person that has died.”
To find out more about humanism visit www.humanism.org.uk or contact Jenny on 07775 567589 or Peter 07889 596451.