Making a difference

With funeral celebrant Elaine Searle

When Elaine Searle was a young woman her beloved uncle was buried and she was shocked by how bad the funeral was.

“His coffin just slid out of sight, after a few platitudes were said. There was nothing personal.”

“Even though I was only in my early 20s I thought ‘We can do better than this’. It was a thought that was always at the back of my mind.”

Over the years, as Elaine’s life continued, she attended many more funerals. Some were good and some were bad. Some were very, very good and some were very, very bad.

Elaine vowed to make a difference and after working as an English teacher, she became a funeral celebrant, the work she does today.

“It’s not the sort of work you can do without having a real commitment but I love it,” she said.

“ I have a very keen interest in the natural burial movement. I feel we should have the option to be buried in a shroud, in a bushland setting. Our present practices are completely environmentally unsustainable. There is one in Lismore, but as far as I know, little option available in the Sydney area, apart from one Catholic cemetery which has a bushland section.”


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