Celebrate the Celebrant! An interview with Lucy Biggs


The Celebrant Directory has grown to be a hub for those seeking a unique and personal celebration and now has a thriving community for over 500 celebrants from across the globe and we want to celebrate the wonderful work our celebrants do!

Without further ado, I’d love to introduce the incredible Lucy Biggs who runs ‘Present Ascent Funeral Ceremony

Check out our interview with Lucy below:

Name: Lucy Biggs

Business Name: Present Ascent Funeral Ceremony

How can our customers get in touch with you? Via email: lucy@presentascent.co.uk

Website: www.presentascent.co.uk

Where Are You Based: Cheshire

Type of Celebrant: Independent Funeral Celebrant

Share your journey to become a Celebrant?

How I came to be here is a tale of both tragedy and, ultimately, beauty — a living channel, in effect, for my love and memory of our son, Reuben, who sadly died in 2018. We had no warning, no cause for concern and no reason was ever found. I was 36 weeks pregnant, and we’d had an entirely healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy. What followed was a series of events that changed the course of our lives forever…

Navigating Reuben’s death, birth and memory changed my perspective on everything. Throughout the following 4 years, my relationship with my existing career in design and Higher Education became strained as I grappled with my new knowledge that there were forces far greater in this life than the things that consume our standard day-to-day. When our second baby, our living daughter, Juno, was born in 2019, I found myself searching for alternative work options, hoping to be ‘present’ for her after all that we had been through, and then in 2020, pregnant with our third baby, our now living second son, Toby, I realised that this change could also fall in line with our fresh perspective connected to grief, death and loss.

I completed my training in 2021, with newborn Toby asleep in a sling against my chest throughout many months of learning. My first funeral was held in 2022. It was everything that I envisaged during my training and the finest benchmark of what I hope to provide to families in the future — funeral ceremony that is entirely tailored to the beauty of the life lost and aligned with the hopes and wishes of the family — ultimately enabling a positive experience at one of the hardest times of their lives.

Describe your ceremony style and why?

At the heart of my work is creating the time and space to mark the life and death of an individual, in a way that feels right. This means that my ceremony style is entirely tailored to the individual. I love to bring creative, personalised elements into a ceremony in a way that is truly meaningful.

Who is your typical family?

Families and individuals come to me in all manner of different contexts and scenarios and with a huge range of funeral ceremony hopes in mind. I work with everyone as best I can to honour the life and death of the person for whom the ceremony is for.

What are you most proud of so far?

I’m proud of having taken a great leap of faith into this new chapter over the past few years, one that enables me to honour how our first son’s life and death changed our lives and also to be as present as possible for our living children as they grow up.

What is your favourite ceremony that you have performed?

Every ceremony that I plan and deliver has a piece of my heart, but there is one that I particularly hold dear. It was at Birches Remembrance Park & Crematorium in Cheshire in the summer of 2022. The ceremony was tailored entirely to the family’s wishes. We gathered the chairs in two semi-circles around a gentleman and his very special coffin and I stood amongst all who were present. There was live music, singing, the lighting of candles, an open time for contributions, a period of silence. It was beautiful. At the end of the ceremony we gathered around the ancient olive tree at Birches for a Prosecco toast to the most beautiful of lives.

What is your favourite venue or kind of venue and why?

The majority of the ceremonies that I lead tend to be indoors, but I do love to be outdoors. Ceremonies at natural burial grounds, at a graveside or on a beach, within a forest or on private natural land enable a real sense of openness and reflection. Of course, reasonable weather cannot always be guaranteed, but when even when you’re battling the elements, there is a great sense of life, death and nature all drawing together in that moment.

What is the best thing about being a Celebrant?

It is the greatest privilege to work alongside families and to help them, even just in part, during such a difficult time. Funeral ceremony matters because it holds the very delicate heart of grief within it. It can bring light and love into a challenging space and provide a path through to a future when it is otherwise hard to see ahead.

What is your favourite reading for a Funeral:
Peace, My Heart by Rabindranath Tagore.

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light your way.

What is your advice to families planning a Celebrant-led funeral?

When it comes to funerals, memorials, celebrations of life, living funerals… If you are able… take a little bit of time to think about, and write down, what your hopes are for the day – whether it will be for yourself or for somebody else – how you’d like the ceremony to be – how you’d like it to feel – what you’d like to include (and also exclude, if relevant). It is possible to create a ceremony that is personal, meaningful and creative and a good funeral director and/or celebrant will listen to you with great care and help you to organise what is possible.

Where can you follow the incredible Lucy? Her social links are below!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/presentascent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/presentascentlucybiggs

Website: www.presentascent.co.uk

Thanks so much for reading Lucy’s interview – we’re so excited that she’s a part of our Directory.
Photographer credit: Anna Hornby at Folk & Tale

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