Remembering a loved one: the Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive

Remembering a loved one: the Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive

The Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive has been relaunched. This remarkable and valuable resource allows the life stories of ordinary people to be preserved online for posterity, and is the only archive of its kind in the UK,

What exactly is the Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive?

The Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive is a digital collection of stories of  people from all walks of life who had a funeral led by a Humanist Ceremonies celebrant. It is a way of saving the story of a loved one, for family and friends and also for historians and researchers in the future.

This collection of funeral tributes is a secure archive, accessible online by anyone, anywhere in the world. It offers the public insights into family histories and the unique lives of ordinary individuals. It also gives historians and social researchers the opportunity to discover more about the diverse lives of people living in different times.

As humanists we believe that each person has their own unique story and every individual life should all be recognised and celebrated. The Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive hold the stories of ordinary people who have their death marked with a humanist funeral to be immortalised for all time.

Whose story can be saved in the archive?

Anyone who has had a humanist funeral or memorial ceremony led by a celebrant trained and accredited by Humanists UK can have their life story preserved for future generations. All that is required to take up this free service is the permission of the next of kin or person with authority.

If you would like your loved one’s life story and memory to be captured for posterity in the Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive, contact the Humanists UK funeral celebrant who led the ceremony. They will arrange for the tribute to be added to the Archive. To complete the entry you can choose to add photographs and the order of service. The next of kin or person with authority will need to sign a consent form. The family retains the copyright on all content and can ask for the tribute to be removed at any time.

Visit the Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive

The archive already contains many fascinating life stories of people who have had a humanist funeral. These include:

Professor David Glyn Vaughan, one of the first scientists to write about the effects of climate change.

Joey Thomas McKeown, who spent nearly ninety years in the cottage he was born in.

And Judith Elizabeth Hanna, an activist and lifelong campaigner for a fairer world.

You can visit the Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive here to read about the interesting lives of the people who are already featured.

History of the Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive 

The Tribute Archive was the brainchild of humanist celebrant Patsy Wallace, who commented, ‘I began working as a celebrant in 2012, and quickly learnt that the tribute is the central part of a humanist funeral. During my training with Humanists UK I learnt how important it is to get this life story right. Through my work I have learnt how rich and fascinating the lives of ordinary people can be’.

Patsy managed it as a volunteer, alongside other dedicated volunteers, for the first years of its existence. Although testament to the passion of those individuals, the demands on hardworking volunteers – not helped by the pandemic –  made it difficult to sustain. However, last year it was agreed that this incredibly important resource deserved redevelopment. It moved to become part of the Humanist Heritage project, and work began to reinvigorate and relaunch the Archive.

Humanist funerals

Humanists UK have provided humanist funerals since the 1890s, and individual humanists for many decades before this. Find out more about historic humanist ceremonies by visiting this Humanist Heritage website page.

If you’re interested in a humanist funeral for yourself or a loved one you can find out more here. You can find a humanist funeral celebrant near you on our Find a Celebrant map.

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