Monday, 3 February 2014

BHA: Humanist Funeral on Coronation Street Normalises Non-ReligiousCeremony

Last week we celebrated ITV’s portrayal of the humanist funeral of a much loved character on Coronation Street. Our Distinguished Supporter Julie Hesmondhalgh, in Hayley Cropper, created a character defined by her commitment to the right to choose, however difficult those choices might be. After a ground-breaking assisted suicide story line, it was only natural that Hayley’s final farewell should be marked by a humanist funeral, where choice is key to creating a ceremony that has heart and meaning to those involved.

Coronation Street’s production company worked closely with Isabel Russo, our Head of Ceremonies, consulting her on script, technicalities of the funeral process, and on the outlook and objective of a humanist celebrant.

For many of the millions that watched the episode, it will have been their first exposure to what a humanist funeral ceremony actually is. It was very rewarding to see the depth and breadth of the service that we provide reflected so movingly in a ceremony that was such a significant moment for millions of viewers.

During transmission of both the episode where the celebrant first visited the family and the episode of the funeral, the twitter-sphere was alive with people recounting their own experiences of a humanist funeral. Observations included: “Had a humanist funeral for my dad 10 years ago, started off lost, only knowing we didn’t want religious service. It was perfect.”

We are delighted that so many people shared such personal experiences about the service Humanist Ceremonies provides, and thanks to Corrie and the continued work of our celebrants and supporters, many more people will be able to access personal, non-religious ceremonies.