Scots actor weds Russian partner in beautiful Humanist ceremony

Jennifer Buchan celebrates wedding of Derek and Sergey as they prepare for their next chapter of life together. A touching story of love against the odds.

Derek and Sergey

Derek and Sergey

Sergey Pakholkov Leonidivich, 31 from Schulma, in the Vologda Region of Russia, two hundred and eighty miles east of St Petersburg, met Derek Crawford Munn, 58 who is originally from Inchinnan, during a holiday, in Gran Canaria, last September.

Sergey is a transport manager for a large national company, and also a published poet in Russia.

Derek is an actor who is currently starring in the role of Rudolf Hess at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, having previously worked in various roles including River City. Derek was a police officer, when he was encouraged to give up his job in 1988 by HSS Registered Celebrant Professor Maggie Kinloch, and complete a course at the then Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. Prof. Kinloch was, up until last month, Deputy Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

HSS Registered Celebrant Claire Digance conducted Derek’s  friend and business partner, Paul’s wedding, but then sadly she had to conduct Paul’s funeral, just a few months later. Like many people in this situation, Derek realised that life is too short, and however difficult, however unlikely, love happens, and when it does, the only real option is to love and be loved.

Within three months of their first meeting, Derek was in St Petersburg to visit for New Year, and to experience Sergey’s life in Russia. They had a wonderful ten days together, so much so, that then, in St Petersburg, Derek proposed, and Sergey said yes.

The ceremony will take place in the majestic Findlaystone Estate

The ceremony will take place in the majestic Findlaystone Estate

Derek told us:

“There was no question in my mind, from that first moment, that I wanted to spend my life with Sergey. And, I think it was for this one simple reason-for the first time in my life, when I looked into his eyes, I knew that I was loved, unconditionally.”

Sergey also told us:

“Derek is the most beautiful man in the world, and when I met him, I lost my mind – I still can’t find it, and I don’t want to.”

Jennifer Buchan, Humanist Celebrant

Jennifer Buchan, Humanist Celebrant

Commenting on the ceremony, HSS Registered Celebrant Jennifer Buchan, said:

“Sergey has come all the way from Russia to start a new life with Derek, and he just proves that it doesn’t matter where you are born, the place where your heart ends up, is the place that becomes your home.

“It’s such a great privilege to be able to be part of their happy celebrations.”


Notes: For further information or comment please contact Gary McLelland on or 07813060713.

The ceremony will take place underneath the Wishing Tree, on the Finlaystone Estate, Langbank at 2pm Tues 23rd August.

About HSS:
 Humanist Society Scotland seeks to represent the views of people in Scotland who wish to lead ethical and fulfilling lives guided by reason, empathy and compassion. We provide a range of non-religious ceremonies and campaign for a secular state. HSS has over 14,000 members across Scotland.


Take action now

Sign our petition

Sign our petition to end unelected religious representatives on education committees.

Sign today.

Learn more

Read Our Blog

Humanitie Blog

Humanitie is the platform for thought, comment and analysis for HSS.

Bringing you thought-provoking articles on Humanist issues.

Learn more

New Pod- cast

Available now!

Have you heard we’ve started podcasting?!

You can listen to the first episode, plus two special editions now.

Learn more