Philippa Howell Humanist Ceremonies

Funeral Services in Cheltenham

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36 Windsor Street
GL52 2DE

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About Philippa Howell

I started conducting humanist wedding, partnership and naming ceremonies in 2006. Since 2013 I have been accredited to carry out humanist funerals. I am based in Cheltenham -"the centre for the Cotswolds"- where there is a huge choice of unique ceremony venues. I work mainly in and around Gloucestershire and Bristol but can travel wider afield.


I inherited an interest in humanism from my father, Philip Howell, who founded the Norwich Humanist Group in 1976. He began to provide the first humanist ceremonies there. Philip continued as a celebrant of all humanist ceremonies in Gloucestershire. I decided to train as a celebrant after seeing how much satisfaction Philip gained from being a celebrant and how a good ceremony is a fulfilling and memorable occasion for all those involved.

I have long believed that people should be free to celebrate the important occasions in their lives without religion. I meet many people who want to express themselves in their own personal way at their significant crossroads of life.

Each ceremony is uniquely tailored to reflect the wishes and character of the individuals. Most ceremonies combine seriousness with joy. Funeral ceremonies are a respectful way to say farewell, while including personal tributes and sharing memories to celebrate the life that was.


Humanist weddings and partnerships can be held in any location, including out of doors, not just at a licensed venue. There is a great choice in the Cotswolds , and the surrounding countryside as well as in the main towns. There are many picturesque barns and lakeside venues as well as elegant hotels,inns and country houses. Some couples have married in fields, with camping for their guests, marquees and tepees. Some have persuaded relatives or friends to hold the ceremony in their garden or rent a large holiday house. Many couples choose Gloucestershire because they have spent happy times walking and exploring the area.

Bristol venues range from city centre and harbourside hotels and restaurants, to country parks and local halls. Anywhere can work!


I have conducted weddings for couples who want to celebrate their wedding in two countries but cannot have two legal ceremonies. In these cases a humanist non-legal, wedding gives the couple a wonderful opportunity to celebrate their marriage in front of ALL their family and friends while retaining the special importance of the occasion.

Some couples want to celebrate an anniversary, perhaps a landmark 10th. We can compose a unique personal ceremony for the occasion, perhaps to include a renewal of the wedding vows.

Your wedding or other ceremony can be celebrated in your own way at a time and venue that suits you.
Each ceremony is unique, meaningful and memorable.


Naming ceremonies are often conducted in private gardens or public parks, where there maybe opportunities for picnics, barbecues and bouncy castles. A sculpture park and a country farm park have provided unusual and memorable settings for ceremonies. Function rooms in pubs, restaurants and local halls can be personalised. Small gatherings can often be hosted at home indoors at any time of the year. A short ceremony can be celebrated outdoors in a park -even in winter- perhaps with tea served later elsewhere.

Naming and welcoming ceremonies can be held for children of any age. Often ceremonies are held on a first birthday. I have created ceremonies to welcome adopted children, and “double" and “triple" celebrations for siblings. You may consider appointing guideparents (or “odd parents"!) as part of the ceremony and may want to have some symbolic action like lighting a candle or having a toast to your child.

There are no rules – if you have something to celebrate with your child or children we can work together to compose a ceremony to suit the occasion. More information can be found on


The death of someone we love is one of the hardest things we have to cope with. Arranging a funeral with the opportunity to remember that person by personal tributes, favourite poems or music provides a respectful and meaningful celebration of that life, not just a final farewell. While often a funeral ceremony is held at the crematorium chapel a celebration can be held after the funeral in more relaxed surroundings giving more time to prepare personal tributes and exchange memories.

Please don't hesitate to telephone or email me to discuss possibilities.
If you leave a message on my landline 01242 583680 or mobile 07564 521516 I will ring you back as soon as I can.

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Firstly we wanted to again send our massive THANKS for such a fantastic day. Everyone commented on how wonderful our ceremony was and many people specifically commented on how fantastic you were. Thank you again for helping to calm my nerves and for your umbrellas…everything came together beautifully and we both couldn’t be happier.

Morgan and Ben

Thank you so much for being the celebrant at our wedding celebration. It was an amazing process which you took us through, not just on the day which went so well, but right from our first meeting when we needed all your advice and guidance about how to make it the event we wanted. It could not have gone better, so thank you for all you did.

Fran and Kevin

Thank you so much for your big part in making yesterday’s service such a success. Everyone commented on its being just right, including a 20 year humanist veteran who said that bar his daughter’s, it was the best wedding he’d been to. A perfect day!

Chris and Sue

Thank you so much for being our celebrant, you were just the sort of person we needed. We really appreciated your patience and ideas when writing our ceremony and looking back on it, it is still exactly what we would have wanted. Hope you are continuing with your lovely ceremonies.

Gilly and Dan

All the poems,readings and prose you sent us, as well as the first draft were incredibly useful and we were so delighted with the outcome. The ceremony was exactly what we wanted and you were so great.

Jenny and Tom

Testimonials are added by the business owner and are not independently verified.

Key Services

baby ceremonies, ceremonies, funeral ceremonies, humanist funerals, Non religious funeral ceremonies, Non religious naming and welcoming ceremonies, Non religious Wedding and Partnership ceremonies, Philippa Howell Humanist Ceremonies, SPECIAL CEREMONIES, wedding ceremonies

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