A NEWLY published author who leads non religious funeral services said there is a rising demand for her services as society changes and people become less religious.

Emma Walker, 52, from Canvey, works as a funeral celebrant and oversees ceremonies which are not closely linked to any religion or to belief in an afterlife.

She also leads religious services as and when a family requests them.

Her new book, Floating in a sea of words, is a collection of her poems, which she reads during her services.

She said these days, when someone dies, their family and friends have more choice as to how they say goodbye.

She said: “I believe the final farewell should mirror the life the person lived, that their funeral should be unmistakably about them and those they loved.

“I see my job as a funeral celebrant, to tell someone’s story, to honour them, to allow others to pay their respects and express their grief, but also for a life to be remembered.

“For those who prefer a slightly religious, or non religious funeral, then a funeral celebrant can be a good choice.

“When a funeral director or family approach me to see if I would be able to create a funeral service for them, I arrange to visit the bereaved family.

“During this visit I go through what will happen during the funeral, and then talk about the choice of music that seems appropriate.

“I go through the life story of the person who has died, asking as many questions as I can, so that I am able to write a completely personal and bespoke service, just for that person.

“I start with blank sheets of paper, and by the end of my visit I will have pages and pages of handwritten notes, which I will take home and use to create a beautiful, meaningful funeral script.”

The author said she got into the job when her grandfather died ten years ago.

She said there were less choices for people who are not religious.

She added: “My experience back then, combined with my love of words and my passionate belief that people deserve the best possible send off, led me to explore the world of funeral celebrancy, and I am very glad I did.

“I think that many traditional funerals can be beautiful and moving, but sadly so many are not.

“Instead they are not really that personal. They don’t reflect a person’s life and loves, they don’t really tell their story and mourners may leave feeling let down, that they didn’t do their friend or family member justice.”

Mrs Walker said as society has changed so much there has been an increase in demand for the non traditional and religious services.

She said: “People want, and deserve, a more personal funeral. I am an independent funeral celebrant, I am not part of any organisation or church, I’m just me.

“The book sales are steady, and I really appreciate that people are taking the time, and their money, to buy my book. The reviews, and responses to my videos have been so kind and positive, and I hope that word will spread.”

Floating In A Sea Of Words is available with Amazon priced at £4.99 for paperback and £3.87 for Amazon Kindle.