Contact us

View navigation

In honour of Lynda

Please could you tell me a bit about Lynda?

Lynda was the foundation of our family, a gentle soul who kept us all in check with love and support. She was a selfless person, always putting her family first, without complaint and always with a quiet confidence. Each of us have vivid and lovely memories of holidays, dinners and quiet Sunday afternoons in the garden with her, which we will really miss. She had an understated impact on everyone she met and people could not help but be drawn in by her gentleness and warmth. Despite being a quiet person, Lynda was adventurous, loving travel, experiencing other cultures, rock music, foreign languages, and exploring exotic cooking. Despite her illness she was always strong for the family, fighting with dignity and never compromising her gentleness and grace. 

How did you find out about Hand in Hand?

We Googled funeral directors in York and were drawn in by the name Hand in Hand, as it stood out from the more traditional names of the others!

Why did you choose Hand in Hand?

The website immediately identified that it was modern, holistic and ethical, all of which were important to Lynda and to us as a family. As we read through the site, we quickly felt that it ticked every box of what we were looking for. Kerry's experience in Oncology and Palliative care was very relevant to our situation, and knowing that Kerry professionally understood what Lynda had experienced was significant and reassuring. At first, we weren't aware of what was possible in terms of alternative funerals, so the detail on the website of what was available really helped us to realise that we could create a beautiful, non-traditional, personal ceremony that was in line with Lynda's wishes.

What choices did you make to personalise Lynda's ceremony?

In accordance with Lynda's wishes we had a private cremation with a wicker casket and a beautiful hand-carved wooden urn from India.

Before the cremation, we were able to visit Lynda at Last Wishes funeral home, an incredibly warm, inclusive and welcoming environment. It was really special to us that we could all visit the home together, and those who wished to could spend time with Lynda in private with gentle support from Kerry, whilst the rest of us spent time reflecting, chatting and having tea with the lovely and attentive women at Last Wishes. We felt absolutely no pressure at all in terms of time constraints and all of our personal preferences were respected.

During discussions with Kerry, we discovered we could choose from a variety of venue types; we decided we'd like a yurt as this is exactly something Lynda would have loved. Kerry immediately knew a venue that would be perfect, but still provided us with options. Ultimately we chose the Salix Yurts, and we were able to personalise the space as we desired. We brought our own flowers, decorations, foliage, lighting, photographs and rugs to make the space feel cosy and welcoming. Kerry recommended a wonderful florist whom we worked with to create a beautiful bouquet and a large bespoke foliage decoration to hang from the ceiling of the yurt. 

For catering, Lynda specifically requested Afternoon Tea with Prosecco - Kerry knew the perfect catering company to provide this, Cream Catering, and we were able to work with them to personalise the teas so we could provide vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options for the guests. The catering company was really thoughtful and worked to great lengths to make sure everything was perfect and in-line with our wishes. 

For the service, Kerry recommended some local celebrants who she felt were a good fit. We met with Louisa Starr, who spent a long time with us getting to know Lynda and helping us to figure out specifics for the day. She wrote and led a completely personalised service, incorporating Lynda's wishes for music and utilising Lynda's love of Tolkein and mythology to tell her story in a very unique and wonderful way.

Lynda was a long-term supporter of the Breast Cancer Now charity and it was really important to us to have this present on the day. Kerry was able to arrange with the charity for us to have a donation collection box, pin badges and information at the venue.

We created our own booklets full of photos, memories, and lyrics, intended more as a gift for the guests than a traditional order of service. We also gave guests personalised forget me not seed packets as this was something Lynda specifically wished.

Please could you say a little about the support Kerry provided during the process?

From the minute we met Kerry, she was warm, kind and extremely knowledgeable, able to quickly respond to any of our queries and draw on her close network of skilled independent businesses who were in line with her high standards of ethics and quality. Kerry was also genuinely interested in Lynda and our family, resulting in a four hour family history session which she welcomed with enthusiasm! 

Kerry was unphased by any specific request we had and always had a selection of solutions to propose, and also went out of her way to suggest additional things we might not have considered. She was really mindful regarding the financial side of the planning, always transparent and negotiating to keep costs fair.

She clearly prioritised the wellbeing of the family, and was always available for us as a confidant and friend. She observed our grieving family and went above and beyond to support us, going as far as to organise a family healing session with a local Yoga instructor, Emel, at YogaBomb, which was unexpected but such a thoughtful gesture and we really benefited from this. 

Kerry asked if she could be present during the ceremony, and she was integral in helping out on the day; setting up and taking down, and being there as a quiet strength in the background ensuring everything was running smoothly and that we were happy with how things were going, so that we could focus on the celebration - but she also just genuinely wanted to be there to be with us and Lynda.

Finally, Kerry added a personal touch with a small but meaningful gift provided on the day, which was very thoughtful. 

What 3 words would you choose to describe your experience of Hand in Hand?