Head and shoulder photograph of Pamela smiling. she has shoulder length brown hair and wears a white top with black stripes.

Meet our trainer for funeral and memorial ceremonies, Pamela Clocherty

Pamela is a registered Humanist Society Scotland celebrant and has recently taken on the role of Lead Trainer for funeral and memorial ceremonies. Pamela will be part of our Celebrant Training Programme team, supporting celebrants as they prepare to conduct funeral and memorial ceremonies for families across Scotland.

We caught up with her to find out what humanism and being a funeral celebrant means to her, what she’d like to achieve in this new role, and some thoughts on how she’d like to be remembered.

Hi Pamela, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background

Hello! I live in North West Glasgow with my other half Stuart, my little boy, Morris, and wire fox terrier, Betsy. Before I became a celebrant I had my own business, a wee vintage tea room in the West End of Glasgow. It was great fun, baking cakes every day and chatting to customers! Before that, I worked for the charity LGBT Youth Scotland where delivering training was part of my remit.

Life is pretty busy these days and I don’t get a lot of spare time but family time is so important to me. I still love to bake, I cook and enjoy keeping active to balance my love of food! I read lots and I love music. Living in Glasgow, there are plenty of opportunities to go to gigs.

How long have you been a humanist celebrant for?

I’ve been a celebrant for seven years and I am very grateful to do the work full time. I’m a very committed funeral celebrant. I also help people to celebrate important life events through naming and welcoming ceremonies and weddings too.

What does being a humanist funeral celebrant mean to you?

It is not lost on me how special a job it is being able to help people say goodbye to their loved ones. It’s often challenging work but it definitely is not a sad job. I get to spend time with families and hold space for them. I enjoy hearing all the wonderful stories about a person’s life and helping families to celebrate their achievements and passions.

Getting a funeral ceremony right for a family is incredibly important and there can be no doubt that it has an impact on how family and friends are able to move on after a bereavement.

What do you hope to achieve in your role as Lead Trainer?

I’m excited to welcome new recruits to Humanist Society Scotland and inspire in them my passion for the work. I look forward to helping them discover the enormous job satisfaction that exists with being a celebrant. The new recruits will also be ambassadors for humanism, helping to raise awareness and promote humanist funerals throughout Scotland.

How were you first introduced to humanism and what does it mean to you?

I was first introduced to humanism when my friends had a humanist celebrant conduct their wedding. Then a short time later, I attended a humanist funeral. It struck me how special these ceremonies were: so personal to the couple or person in question but I also noticed how inclusive they were. Everyone is made to feel welcome in a humanist ceremony.

The humanist values of tolerance, respect and kindness inform how I live my life every day and the decisions I make. My colleague and Humanist Society Scotland Chair Jennifer Buchan described herself as a “card carrying humanist” which resonated with me too!

It is not lost on me how special a job it is being able to help people say goodbye to their loved ones. It’s often challenging work but it definitely is not a sad job. I get to spend time with families and hold space for them. I enjoy hearing all the wonderful stories about a person’s life and helping families to celebrate their achievements and passions…Getting a funeral ceremony right for a family is incredibly important.

Pamela Clocherty, Humanist Society Scotland Celebrant & Lead Trainer

Are there any particular poems or readings on the subject of loss or celebrating life which bring you comfort?

There are a lot of great readings out there. Poems in particular so often put into words what we cannot. I like uplifting poems that are from the perspective of the deceased, poems like After Glow, which invites the reader to remember and celebrate all the wonderful moments that they had in their life.

After Glow

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an after glow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
And bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve,
To dry before the sun
Of happy memories that I leave
When life is done
(Author Unknown)

Finally, what song would you like people to remember you by?

I love electronic dance music and my friends and family would associate this kind of music with me. Dance music is always uplifting in its nature so I’d like something like “My Feeling” by Junior Jack for people to remember me by. It is so upbeat and you cannot help but smile when you listen to it!

Two people wearing black suits hold hands at a funeral ceremony.

Humanist funerals

The loss of a loved one is difficult, but arranging a funeral ceremony shouldn’t be. 

Our celebrants will work with you to create a personal and meaningful ceremony for your loved one that celebrates their life.  

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