One wedding, no funeral but always remembered.

Auntie Barbara (Babs)

I have only been a bridesmaid once. I was about 7 and my sister was 5 – I still remember it because it was one of the best days of my life. The couple were my Uncle John and Auntie Barbara.

A few weeks ago my Auntie Babs died. Very suddenly and quietly at home. The Funeral was last Friday. Hardly anyone came. Not because Barbara wasn’t popular, you only had to read the messages from her friends and colleagues to know that – and the number of people who gave money to Help For Heroes in her name. People stayed away because they had to.

My Mum for instance – John’s only sister – She was devastated that she could not be there for her brother. On our (her children’s) insistence she just couldn’t risk the virus. But she had to phone her brother and tell him and it broke her heart to hear the disappointment in his voice (although he was very understanding of course)

I often think about Barbara when I am talking to brides about their weddings and I know how excited the bridesmaids must be. But I never thought she would help inspire the other part of our business.

So from This week we will be able to provide virtual funerals – adjusting to these challenging times and people’s needs and with grateful thanks to UKSOC who have done an amazing job of training their celebrants to help the people who need us.

Virtual ceremonies, like everything we do, can reflect the traditional service or something more unusual. We are able to include music, readings and elements that celebrate the life of the person you love. This service is for anyone in the UK and France, but we are especially reaching out to those people who live in our geographical areas in France (Dept 53, 61 and surrounds) and in the UK (Beds, Bucks, Herts, Cambs, MK).

If you live within our geographical area and have chosen us to conduct your family funeral. We will for this period of time only, conduct a memorial service, free of charge, at a later date. This we hope will allow people to come together to celebrate the life of your loved one once this crisis has passed.

I will of course, if called on, be deeply honoured to conduct a memorial service for my Auntie Barbara to say thank you for letting a wedding obsessed seven year old loose on her aisle!

Just look Barbara – now I get to help other people with their weddings – something I am sure you inspired all those years ago. But also you have inspired us to help people at the other end of their lives too. I loved it so much – I still have the dress

With much love – Lara xxx

In loving memory of Barbara Elizabeth Wilkinson 21st August 1952 – 29th February 2020 please feel free to donate to Help for Heroes as she would wish here helpforheroes.org.uk

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