Chichester business leader on holding sensitive seasonal service | Vicky meets

Vicky Edwards meets Kelly-Marie Taylor, Commercial Director of Chichester Crematorium

•You are hosting what is described as a “significantly seasonal” service for those who loved and lost on December 9 at 4:30 p.m. Are you going to explain further? We know how difficult Christmas can be for those who have lost a loved one, whether the loss was recent or not.

I have decided to hold a service in our chapel exclusively for people who would like to attend a seasonal service, but which allows them to be with others who are in the same situation. Hopefully, while it may still be bittersweet, they won’t feel as pressured as they might at a traditional Christmas service. It will be inclusive and provide a safe space for people to remember, give thanks and simply enjoy carefully chosen music and readings.

It’s such a special time of year, but if you’ve lost someone, it can be very difficult.

Kelly-Marie Taylor, center and team

•Will it be a religious service? We want to welcome everyone, so religion will not be the focus of the service. Led by an independent celebrant, we are fortunate to have wonderful local organist Barry Newton come to play for us. We could also have a soloist or two. And of course there will be mince pies and tea served afterwards.

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•Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you came to work at the crematorium? I am a working mom and have two adorable little boys. My professional background is in management, notably working for The Ambulance Service.

My last job was as a business manager to help people get back into work. It was such a great experience to be able to accompany people on their journey. I saw this job posting and thought it sounded really interesting. I have been here for four months and I love it. I have a very good team; everyone who works here really cares about people.

• But isn’t it depressing work? Of course, the reason people come to a crematorium is sad, but as a team, we’re here to make sure every family feels cared for in a respectful but not uncomfortable way.

We are here to honor people’s loved ones and that is what we focus on. With all of our lovely local funeral directors, it is a privilege to ensure that people can say goodbye to their loved ones in a way that suits them. It’s nice to know that we made a difference.

• Do people have to book for the service on December 9? Ideally, for us to meet catering requirements, if people can call or email us to let us know they are coming, that would be great. Participation is free, but we will collect for a local charity.

A seasonal remembrance service will be held at Richmond Chapel, Chichester Crematorium on December 9 at 4.30pm. Reservations 01243 781816; [email protected]

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