Letter: An atheist's funeral

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Peter Stanford's essay on his mother's funeral (The Independent Magazine, 13 November) appeared the day after my own father's funeral, and I was struck by the difference in our experiences.

We had no difficulty arranging exactly the ceremony we wanted. The funeral director suggested a Humanist ceremony as soon as we said Dad was vehemently atheist, and an officiant from the British Humanist Society in Sheffield worked closely with us (three daughters in different parts of the country) to compose the text he would read. This reflected Dad's life and character, and we chose exactly the music Dad liked and the readings we wanted. No prayers, no hymns, no po-faced sanctimony.

I would encourage anyone with a dislike of the mawkishness Peter Stanford experienced to choose a Humanist funeral. It gave us the opportunity to go through this important rite without compromising Dad's feelings or our own.


Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire