As a celebrant, I work with families who wish to have their loved one’s life to be captured and celebrated in joyful, thoughtful and inspiring ways. Writing about a life lived is truly an honour for me but it is also an opportunity for those family and friends to share their grief, laugh, cry and remember their family member with fondness and love.
Lou Fowkes – Photo taken at the Faversham & Mid Kent Crematorium
With care and compassion, I take the family through the process of creating a one-of-a-kind ceremony where we can weave a tapestry of words, music, poetry and pictures, to create an authentic and healing ceremony, that truly reflects that person’s life.
I start writing all my funeral services with a completely blank page, ensuring that each one is completely bespoke. There is huge flexibility and freedom with a celebrant-led ceremony. I am able to include religious elements should you wish to, or none, we can incorporate a celebration of their life (Eulogy), music (traditional and contemporary), stories, memories, poems, prayers or readings – and naturally should families be struggling to find something I have a wealth of ideas and options for consideration. Families can be as involved as they wish or I can conduct the whole service on their behalf.
Full Ceremonies, Graveside Committals and Interment/Scattering of Ashes. I work with a number of Funeral Directors in Kent, together with taking services at all of the Crematoriums within Kent and further afield if required.
I was honoured to have been asked to write and deliver a very special ‘Light A Candle For A Loved One’ memorial service on Wednesday the 20th of December at Faversham & Mid Kent Crematorium. Welcomed with mulled wine and a mince pie, it was a reflective evening, dedicated to celebrating the lives of those we hold dear. Adorned with seasonal decor and soft and ambient lighting, the chapel was the perfect backdrop for the readings, poems, carols and songs we shared, that evoked cherished memories. A beautiful personalised presentation was shown on the screen and, with the lights lowered, our loved one’s names and pictures were displayed in a very moving moment, whilst the team lit candles in their memory. We also wrote personal messages on little angels and placed them on the Christmas Tree.
On behalf of everyone there, I would like to thank the Memoria team (Gillie-Ann, Michelle & Harry) for their brilliant organisation and warm welcome.
FROM MY FAMILIES
“We were really happy with the service and how you were able to sum up dad. As someone said, “It was spot on”, which is all you really want. From the first meeting to the funeral, you have been thoughtful, caring and were able to draw out our memories in a compassionate way to ensure dad had a good send off, not only with tears but laughter too. It was comforting to know that there was someone that was able to produce a service which was tailor-made and suited our family needs. Would highly recommend.” The Cook Family – January 2024
“We wanted to write to say how pleased we were with the way you conducted the funeral service for our late mum. The words you wrote said everything we wanted to say and more, and we had lots of lovely comments afterwards from other people who came to the service. From the first time we met you, we felt that we had met a new friend who would make sure the service went smoothly. You listened to all our answers to your questions and always put our minds at ease in choosing the right songs and passages. The eulogy you composed was both happy and sad in places but described Pamela exactly. We think that Pamela herself would have approved wholeheartedly. Again, a big thank you for everything you have done for us.” The Haley Family – November 2023
“Many, many thanks from all the family for arranging and conducting the service on Wednesday. It was just as we wanted it and I know that Pete would have thoroughly approved. You made a very difficult time a little easier for us. Our grateful thanks.” The Shenton Family – October 2023
“Thank you for the professional service you offered us as Celebrant for David’s funeral. You showed us kindness and empathy from start to finish. Your advice and design for the Order of Service was invaluable and I felt confident to follow your lead on the day. Everything ran smoothly and it was a fitting tribute for David. Your kind meaningful words and sympathetic delivery helped my family through a very difficult occasion. Many thanks and appreciation.” The Inglis Family – October 2023
“Thank you Lou for an excellent conduction of my brother David’s funeral. It went exactly to plan and your timings for the speeches were spot on. I liked your analogy of life being like a keyboard with black and white keys, intertwining the fact that David was an excellent pianist. I would highly recommend you as a celebrant at any occasion.” The Derry Family – October 2023
“Thank you so much for yesterday – once again you smashed it. Everyone said what a lovely service it was for Dad. They all said the last piece of music was the right choice, knowing Dad. Thank you. x” The Aldwinckle Family – July 2023
“Thank you so much for the service, you were BRILLIANT!!! At a very sad time for us, you made it light and airy. We appreciated your service very much, you made us feel comfortable and at ease. You took a lot of pressure off us too, and we are very grateful for this, especially at this hard time.” The Barratt Family – July 2023
“Lou created and delivered my Grandad’s eulogy with love, compassion, care to details – and a sense of humour! Thank you so much, you made a really sad time more bearable and we certainly look back at the service with happy thoughts that came alive by the magic that you injected!” The Crawford Family – June 2023
“I would just like to say a massive thank you, on behalf of the whole family, for the wonderful ceremony for Caroline and giving her a lovely send off.” The Martins Family – June 2023
“Thank you for the lovely service you did for my husband John. As a family, we preferred to have a celebrant, rather than a religious ceremony. It was much more personal to John, and the family, to enjoy stories of his life as a young man, and plenty of humour in the right circumstances. We would highly recommend you and your services to anyone who would like a celebrant rather than a religious service.” The Weir Family – May 2023
“Lou was absolutely incredible helping us prepare the service for my Mum’s funeral. The first thing she said was that she was there for as much or as little as we wanted. In the end, we agreed I’d write and deliver the eulogy personally, but she assured me she was there to take over if needed. I really felt that my Mum’s last wishes were granted. Thank you so much Lou, your help and guidance made such a painful day slightly more bearable.” Sammy x
“No mother should have to say goodbye to her child. Lou made my daughters final journey a celebration of her life and made the process as easy as possible.” Irene x
“Lou is a lovely lady and she was really kind to us and our family when we said goodbye to Nanna. It was very sad but what was said about Nanna made us all smile. You’re amazing!” Connor & Caydee x The Kelly Family – April 2023
“Lou was a pleasure from our first conversation – she made everything easy at such a difficult time. Nothing was ever too much for Lou, and she made us feel so comfortable with her calm and reassuring nature. She delivered the service perfectly and exactly how we envisioned.” The Faulkner Family – April 2023
“Dear Lou, I cannot thank you enough for the service you provided. From beginning to end, you showed kindness and understanding, which made it much easier for me to talk about our loss. You provided a service which was solely for us. You spoke at the ceremony as if you had known Tom personally before his passing. The whole congregation thought it was a really lovely send off for our Tom. Indeed, it was a fitting, relaxed fond farewell. Thank you once again.” The Hobbs Family – April 2023
“Thank you so, so much for yesterday – it was wonderful and you did an amazing job. Steve would have been very grateful. We couldn’t have asked for better.” The Grossmith Family – February 2023
“Thank you so much for the beautiful service for mum you put together. With all your help it was the perfect send off for our loved and cherished mum. But also the time, care and consideration that you showed when you visited us, and afterwards, are hard to find in the right moments but, with your help it was so right. Sometimes people don’t want an over religious send off because that’s not what they are. For us happy story’s of mum’s life fantastic memories, spoken by you, and beautiful pictures of mum and her favourite music being played, made it. I know funerals are sad occasions but I felt with our sadness we still managed, and laugh and smile and cry at the same time . So please accept our biggest thank you because with your help and knowledge of how to put the service together mum had the best send off we could have wanted . I would like to add everyone that attended said it was a beautiful service. Thank you Lou.” The Hart Family – November 2022
“Myself and the family would like to thank you for being the celebrant at Liz’s funeral service. You made sure the service was beautiful and in keeping with Liz’s and our wishes. Saying goodbye to my Fiancé was one of the most difficult things I have ever done but you gently reminded us of her strengths and the love she had for us all – so thank you. I will be using some of your words in the Remembrance Book we have, which will be a beautiful reminder for many years. Thank you once again for your words, for conducting a lovely ceremony and for taking the time to care. Much love.” Chris, Jack and the da Silva Family – December 2022
“What you did for Dad yesterday was above and beyond. I have never been to or been involved in a service like that before, so didn’t really know what to expect. However,, from the very start you have made this extremely difficult time so much easier for us to bear. Your caring, compassionate and understanding nature shone through from the start and put us at ease. The eulogy you created off the back of our conversation covered every aspect about Dad’s life and touched the hearts of all that were there. The poem you wrote was also amazing and something I will treasure for evermore and something I will be printing off, framing and passing on to those it included at Joe’s Café. Lou, it takes a special person to be able to do what you do and I thank you with all my hearts and I know I speak for many others too. I will be recommending you onwards from here.” The Baker Family – October 2022
“Would like to say how glad we are that we choose you, your input was great and your rendition of Shani’s life and loves was flawless. You represented our mum as we hoped and helped us through all aspects of the daunting process. You played a major role in making a sad occasion very happy and filled with laughter and smiles. I wish you all the best going forward and I will recommend your services to anyone and everyone who asks as being 100% all round. Thank you on behalf of myself and the extended family.” The Langford Family – October 2022
“When we first met Lou we instantly felt her warmth and compassion. She was tremendously thoughtful in asking about our wife/mum, who’s funeral she was officiating. She carefully guided us through planning a fitting and loving service to celebrate our wife/mums life. We would not hesitate to use her again or recommend her to family and friends.” The Mills Family – October 2022
“Lou is very warm and engaging and took the time to get to know how we wanted Mums celebration of life to be put together. It was obviously a very sad time but Lou’s kindness and understanding made the whole process of arranging Mums service simple and stress free. Everyone who attended Mums funeral commented on how uplifting the ceremony was – a fond and fitting farewell, rather than a sombre occasion just how Mum would have wished. Lou made a very tough time emotionally easier to bear and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her services.” The Barnett Family – May 2022
“When you’re facing maybe one of the hardest days of your life, saying goodbye to your loved one, it isn’t easy. When we met Lou she was bubbly and happy, but caring and compassionate, all at the same time, bringing ease when talking about our beloved Dad. At the service, she made us feel very involved and introduced herself to our brother, who she hadn’t met due to living further away. The eulogy was given with love and care but much expression throughout. Lou got my Dad to a ‘T’. I would recommend her to all families who want a happy celebration of a loved one’s life. Lou is the person for this.” The Horne Family – October 2021
“Just wanted to write and say a huge thank you for your wonderful services as a Celebrant for my Dad’s funeral. I was immediately put at ease when you came to visit to talk about Dad and discuss the service. What you put together truly epitomised what we had hoped for and made us all feel as though you understood Dad and our family enough to speak with authority about his life. Lots of guests and family commented about the wonderful service and Dad, I’m sure, would have also approved. Your warmth, kindness and understanding in dealing with our family at this difficult time really helped us to give our Dad the send off we had hoped for. Many thanks again, we had a truly memorable day.” The Hicks Family – September 2021
“I felt very safe in the hands of Lou Fowkes, I felt secure that she would provide my Husband with a lovely Eulogy and service. She did it was tailored for my Husband me and our family and friends perfectly. I found Lou to be kind caring and professional. Nothing was too much trouble. All of the family and friends present on the day commented what a lovely service it was. I would totally recommend Lou as a celebrant.” The Roots Family – July 2021
“From the 1st telephone call we had, you showed great empathy and immediately made a connection with me & Mum. You made us feel comfortable and confident in your hands. You took time to get to know us and find out about Dad. Your 1st version of the Eulogy was spot-on, showing that you’d really got a feel for the man he was and the qualities that fuelled his life. During the ceremony you were calm, clear, discrete and professional. You provided a source of personal comfort leading up to and on the day of the funeral – we had absolutely no reservations and trusted you implicitly. Mum and I agreed after the day that you were fantastic and made a significant contribution to the celebration of Dad’s life during the funeral ceremony. Thank you so much for your help – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to anybody.” The Nutten Family – December 2020
NB. These funeral directors listed below are the ones I currently work with on a regular basis. However, I am happy to work for any new funeral director a family choose to organise their loved ones service.
Watson & Bell Funeral Services – 63, Cornwallis Avenue, Aylesham, Canterbury, Kent CT3 3HG
Tel: 0800 644 4688 www.watsonandbell.co.uk
Willow & Green Funerals – 2, Middle Row, Ashford, Kent TN24 8SQ
Tel: 01233 534444 www.willowandgreen.co.uk
C. W. Lyons & Son – 51/53, Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1DB
Tel: 01227 272375 www.cwlyonsfunerals.co.uk
John Kemp – 26, Harbour Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1AH
Tel: 01227 272255 www.dignityfunerals.co.uk
Beltinge & District – 132 Reculver Road, Beltinge, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 6PL
Tel: 01227 363300 www.beltingeanddistrictfuneralservices.co.uk
W.S. Cole & Son – 17-19 High Street, Minster, Ramsgate, Kent CT12 4BU
Tel: 01843 821253
H R Palmer – 30 Hardres Street, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 8QF
Tel: 01843 592720 www.hrpalmer-ramsgate.co.uk
Bournes of Dartford – 118 The Brent, Dartford, Kent DA2 6DE
Tel: 01322 284420 www.dignityfunerals.co.uk
Woollard & Kent – 128 Tankerton Road, Tankerton, Whitstable, Kent CT5 2AN
Tel: 01227 772300 www.woollardandkent.co.uk