gingko blossoms

celebrations for life and death

My youngest child told me that I needed an origin story. Why gingko they asked? And do gingko trees even have blossoms? The gingko I can explain. I lived in an area of north London for the longest time I have lived anywhere. A quarter of a century, half my life and the main part of my adult years. At the bottom of my road is a churchyard long disused as a churchyard, but much loved by the community. Central to the churchyard is a tower of Norman heritage. Each Autumn, its paths and garden of remembrance are carpeted in the delicate yellow fan-shaped leaves of the gingko trees that stand either side. They reminded me of Japan where I lived for a time. When I learned they are a living fossil, unchanged for more than 200 million years, unique in that they have no known living relative, I was inspired by their resilience. Do they have blossom? I swear I saw some this spring, but not beautiful sprays and arrays of colour that other trees share. And as much as I love the beauty and resilience of the gingko tree, I love blossom. Their heralding of spring, a faith that there will be growth, joy even after the darkest, coldest of winters. Resilience, faith in the future: gingko blossoms.


I have worked in the public and charity sectors for over twenty years with roles in communication, training and volunteer and service management. Like many people, my paid work combined with unpaid work – caring for children and for an older family member. Through my own experience and those of colleagues and friends, I became increasingly aware of the stress of juggling these competing priorities and how undervalued care is. This growing awareness intersected with an innovative project that promoted opportunities to talk about planning for end of life and challenged the taboo of talking about death, dying and grief.

This led me to train as a Funeral Celebrant which further enhanced my awareness of how much need there is for safe spaces to talk openly and safely about our experience and feelings around death, dying and grief.
I combine my role as Director of Creating Conversations CIC with a role as Head of Services for a local charity that works with and for older people. I also provide funeral and memorial celebrancy and celebration life writing.

Life Celebration Writing

A truly personalised piece of writing - a unique tribute to celebrate any occasion from 'big' birthdays, weddings, engagements, anniversaries, retirement.

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Funeral Ceremonies

Saying good-bye isn't easy, but it can be special. 'Alberta is warm, professional and reassuring making a difficult time easier.'

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Memorial Ceremonies

Memorial Ceremonies can be planned to take place following the funeral. You can choose where and when you want to have them and what form you would like them to take place.

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Funeral Ceremony Planning

You may wish to plan your funeral ceremony yourself or want to talk through some wishes for your funeral that you can share with your family.

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Death Cafe Hosting and Facilitation

Death Cafes provide unique opportunities to talk openly about death and dying in a safe and confidential environment. There are no agendas, themes or objectives. The conversations are led by the group.

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Free yourself from Death Anxiety: a review

Book Review - Free Yourself from Death Anxiety – a CBT Self-Help guide, Rachel E Menzies and David Veale, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

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Death is a time for solidarity

Following a couple of in person, around a table Death Cafes, it felt a little odd to be back in the small boxes and slightly strange evening lighting of a zoom gathering. But the great thing about virtual gatherings is that they allow distance to shrink and we were delighted to welcome attendees from Northern Ireland and Bucharest ...

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East of Eden Death Café I

Saturday 25 September saw the first (we hope) of the North-East London ‘in person’ Death Cafes at the lovely East of Eden café in Walthamstow. Big thanks to Abby and her team for offering us use of the venue. As one of the attendees fedback: ‘East of Eden feels like the perfect venue, calm and reflective… ‘

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My first funeral

Having finished my training as an Independent Funeral Celebrant earlier this year, the next step was to put the training into practice. There are mixed feelings about looking for such an opportunity - that there is a need cannot be divorced from knowing the pain and loss that the person you are supporting is experiencing.

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Swedish Death Cleaning

Swedish death cleaning. Just one of the topics that came out of my first virtual Death Café.

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Is death something you can prepare for?

There are things that you plan weeks, or even months, in advance with a great burst of enthusiasm and energy.

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