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Your Celebrant is - Terri Shanks

38 Upton Gardens, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 1DA. ENGLAND

+44 1903 602795



Geographical availability.
I offer celebrancy services throughout East and West Sussex, but I am also prepared to travel outside of the County by prior arrangement (though additional expenses maybe payable)
Alongside my collegue Neil Dorward we also offer Celebrant Training Courses throughout the United Kingdom.

I received my Foundation Certificate in Funeral Celebrancy from Carole Pool in 2003 who at the time was the serving UK President of The International College of Celebrancy (Australia)
In 2007 I received further certificates in Funeral Celebrancy and Advanced Funeral Celebrancy from the In-Sight Institute in Oklahoma (accredited to the University of Oklahoma)
I am now studying for my Diploma in Funeral Celebrancy via The International College of Celebrancy.

I have been working as a celebrant since 2003 and within that time I have conducted over 1000 funeral services as well as numerous Weddings*, Baby Naming Services, Renewal of Vows, and Civil Partnerships (Gay Weddings)
However my true vocation lies in creating and writing funeral services, I am passionate about working with bereaved families to make sure their final gift for their loved one is positive and uplifting whilst at the same time sensitively acknowledging their loss, allowing them a safe place in which to grief and encouraging friends and family to support them on their on-going journey of recovery.
I have studied with Doug Manning in Oklahoma (USA) who is one of America’s leading speakers and facilitators in grief and elder care. I was also fortunate to attend the first ever International Convention of Celebrants in Oklahoma where I was invited to address celebrants from all over the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

(*At present celebrants in the UK cannot legally marry couples, this can only be done by a registrar, however after the legal declarations have been sworn and the register has been signed the celebrant can lead the rest of the service including exchanging rings, and vows etc which can take place in any location..)

I am the Founder of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants.

Celebrancy Training
Since 2007 I have been running 3 day training courses in Funeral Celebrancy, and have trained celebrants from all over the United Kingdom as well as from South Africa.
I have recently formed a business partnership with Neil Dorward who is a graduate of the International College of Celebrancy and we now run the training courses together throughout the UK. Neil has also been granted the licence by the International College of Celebrancy to facilitate their diploma in the UK and I will be assisting him in promoting this first class training programme and supporting students through their period of study and development. All Students who attend our 3 day foundation training course will be actively encouraged to further their studies and professional development by completing the diploma.

At this current time in the United Kingdom the Funeral Industry is still one of the few totally un-regulated professions in the country. Technically a person could be working as a road sweeper one day, and as a Funeral Director or Celebrant the next.
I am a huge believer in the need for highly trained, knowledgeable and professional celebrants which is why I set the standards of my own foundation training courses at a high level and am very proud to work in conjunction with other top Celebrants such as Neil Dorward and leading pioneers such Dally Messenger. I would like to see all members of The Association of Independent Celebrants complete the diploma course offered by the International College of Celebrancy to maintain the highest standards of knowledge and competency in the industry.

Services I offer

Interment/Scattering of Ashes
Renewal of Vows
Baby Namings
Adoption Ceremonies
Civil Partnerships (Gay Weddings)
Celebrancy Training.

About me.
I am 38 years old and mother to a daughter of 11. Family is without doubt the most important thing in my life as well as my friends who I treasure beyond any material value. Perhaps this is why I am passionate about celebrating all of life’s milestones with those we love and care about.
Whilst I specialise in working with families in grief, I am still very interested in how we use ceremony and ritual to mark many of life’s important events.

Whilst living in the UK, I spent 22 years searching Australia for a brother I never met as he was given up for adoption by my mother in 1964 when she was living out in Australia. Sadly in 2008 my long and tireless journey ended when his adoptive sister was traced and broke the devastating news that my brother had died 5 years previously at the age of 37.

The grief process for myself and my mother in particular has been a long and painful one, not being able to mourn memories, but instead grieving for what we had NOT had. The attitude of many people was “why are you grieving for somebody you never met” I realised how few resources where available on this subject and am now in the process of writing my first book entitled “Losing You Twice” it is a grief resource and support book for all those suffering the bereavement of a relative they have never known due to adoption or estrangement.

My Attitude to Ceremony
Have you ever been to a funeral where you haven’t been moved, you haven’t been healed ~ you have simply been there? I think most of us have probably attended a service like that at sometime or other in our lives. My attitude to ceremony (and I am referring at this stage to funerals) is to make that 45 minutes a beautiful, uplifting, moving and healing experience for all who attend. I want people to go away thinking “that is the best service I have ever been to” and yet I want to make the next one even better and I learn from every family and every other celebrant I am privileged to work with.
People in grief won’t always remember exactly what you said, but they will remember exactly how you made them feel. I am always conscious that there is a fine line between ‘Celebrating’ and ‘Sanitizing’ I also want to ensure that bereaved families know that the funeral service is a safe place for them to shed their tears and that they should never feel too strong or too brave to cry.
My passion to deliver a top quality service does not start from the moment I stand up and start talking at a funeral ceremony, it starts from the moment I pick up the phone to make an appointment to meet with a bereaved relative. I want then to put down the phone at the end of that conversation with the secure knowledge that I am with them to walk with them and guide them through every stage in planning and delivering the very best send off for their loved one they can possibly give.

Fees and Value
Fee’s for all my services are available on request by emailing me on terri@sussexcelebrant.co.uk
I offer value for money by spending many hours preparing every service I write and conduct, offering you a professional and personalised ceremony and by sharing with you all of my expertise and experience as a celebrant.

Terri Shanks