How a daughter plans a ‘celebration of life’ for her mother – while she’s still alive


Lorna, who works as a celebrant in Derbyshire, organizes non-religious ‘celebration of life’ funerals, where people can celebrate a person’s life while they are still alive.

For the past eight years, Lorna’s 85-year-old mother, Monica, has battled Parkinson’s disease. To cheer her up, Lorna is now planning a “celebration of life” service for her, while she is still there to enjoy and appreciate it.

The celebration of life, which will take place on October 8, will include an order of service, photos, tributes and live music.

Monica Ward, eighty-five years old.

Lorna said: “I often find families saying to me, ‘they would have loved that’ or ‘I wish I could hear all the amazing things said today’.

“So on that note, I’ve decided to have a ‘celebration of life’ while my lovely mother is still alive.

“We won’t have a burial when he dies, just a private scattering of his ashes.

“As far as I know, that hasn’t really been done in this country and I hope to be at the forefront of its growth.”

Monica Ward with her grandchildren Charlie and Grace.

Lorna hopes former students of Chickenley Infant and Nursery School – where Monica served as headmistress between 1981 and 1996 – will be able to attend the day.

Lorna added: “She was extremely passionate about the role and was a true champion of the kids there who struggled with disadvantage from an early age.

“She was instrumental in getting parents involved in the school and its activities, she brought nursery nurses into the community to meet the preschoolers and support the parents – as many had difficulty wrong – and got a pharmacy on the spot.

“I remember going on school trips with the children to the seaside. Many had never been on vacation and it was a special moment.

“She absolutely dedicated her life to the school and I know she was very much loved and respected.”

Monica’s celebration of life will take place on Saturday October 8 at the Royal British Legion on St Mary’s Street in Penniston, Sheffield, from noon to 3 p.m.

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