News Guardian – November 24, 2005
By News Reporter Tel (0191) 251 8484
A NEW form of funeral service that can be held almost anywhere except in churches or religious buildings is being pioneered in North Tyneside.
Civil funerals, as they are known, are driven by the wishes, beliefs and values of the deceased and their family – not those of the person conducting the funeral.
Jonathan Ryland of R J Ryland Funeral Services in Cullercoats is the first in the region to be made a member of the Institute of Civil Funerals and will act as celebrant when this type of ceremony is requested.
A civil funeral can be held in any suitable location, including a home or funeral parlour.
The format is wide ranging and can be adapted to a cremation or burial.
The firm has added this type of personal tribute and celebration of a life to the more usual traditional religious or humanist options because of interest now being shown in alternative forms of service.
However, a religious element, such as a prayer, hymn, reading or appropriate music, can be incorporated in a civil ceremony.
Jonathan, who runs the independent family business with his parents, Edward and Brenda, is the first funeral director in the area appointed to a panel able to officiate on behalf of other funeral companies if asked to do so.
He is the current secretary of the British Institute of funeral directors for the North-East and Cumbria.
Earlier this year he spent three weeks in Thailand helping to embalm victims in the aftermath of the tsunami that devastated many parts of Asia.