Our Journal

Featured funeral celebrant – Annie Martin

Annie Martin is passionate about her role as a funeral celebrant.

As a former School Principal, she explains, “I’ve spent my career working with people of all ages, from all walks of life.”

Annie Martin - Melbourne funeral celebrant
Annie Martin, Melbourne Funeral Celebrant

Annie loves to listen to people’s stories, craft prose and she adores public speaking. And as a celebrant, Annie says she believes strongly in the benefits of ceremony and ritual in our lives. She explained, “I know the importance they bring to us in periods of transition whether this is a marriage, a birth, a death, or a changing of identity.”

At Tomorrow, we feel honoured to include Annie as one of our partner celebrants and loved chatting to her about her work.

Why did you become a funeral celebrant?

After working for most of my professional life in special education, I retired as a Principal of a school for children with severe and multiple disabilities.  Over the years, a number of the students with complicated medical histories died and I became increasingly involved in not only supporting their families, but of assisting with the planning and presentation of their funerals.  I learned first hand about the importance, value and meaning of the role of a Celebrant.

What special skills do you have that make you a good funeral celebrant?

I love to listen to people’s stories, I love to write and I love public speaking – these are the three cornerstones of Celebrant work.  Actually I compete in public speaking competitions, and have done so at a national level.  This has taught me that the best public speakers’ real talent lies in being an invisible conduit between the message and the audience.  That is exactly what is needed when telling the stories of some-one else’s life.

Why do you like working with Tomorrow?

I love the creativity and flexibility that this model allows.  It starts with a blank slate.  It allows me as the Celebrant the time to co-create, with the family, something truly unique.

At Tomorrow we concentrate on creating ‘dignified cremations & remarkable memorials’ in one simple package, what do you think of this model?

I love this model.  It made immediate sense to me.  Removing the myriad of decisions that a family has to make about the body of their loved one and the coffin into which they are to be placed, and removing the time pressure of having a ceremony planned and prepared before a cremation, is a real liberation.  It allows time.  It allows families to take that very deep breath and to think more clearly and creatively about how they would like the ceremony to take shape.  It also allows a most constructive way for the families to channel their love and their grief into something of such unique meaning.

What’s one thing you wish every family knew?

That they have choice! When a death is unexpected or sudden, understandably the shock is so great, that all a family can do is to call a Funeral Director’s home – and then the wheels are in motion and the clock begins to tick.  But if families knew they could be put back into the driver’s seat by choosing their own Celebrant, their own venue and their own timing through the option of Tomorrow, then this difficult time could be eased.  And further, they would have the rewards of designing a ceremony exactly the way their family member would have wanted.  Now that is a great choice!

Which funeral are you most proud of?

I am remembering the funeral of a woman who died in her mid 40’s of cancer.  I had worked with her during the last six weeks of her life, writing her ‘palliative biography’.  Not only was the process of writing the biography of enormous therapeutic value to the woman, the finished product was priceless at her funeral.  Her friends and families laughed and cried as they heard the stories – and these were not other people’s recollections or reconstructions – these were the stories of her life, written from her own pen.  The poignancy during the ceremony was palpable.

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