Current AffairsTrade Organisations

AOIC celebrates tenth anniversary

The Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC) celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2017. The growing organisation has planned a series of events, including a presence at this year’s National Funeral Exhibition.

The AOIC was founded in 2007 and is proud of the progress it has made, both in the support of its members and in receiving national recognition.

June’s exhibition will be one of the highlights of its birthday year, as it makes continual strides to improve the relationship between its members and others in the funeral profession. This, says president and professional celebrant, Philip Spicksley, is what has made the organisation a driving force.

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“The Association is leading the way on a lot of fronts. As a professional organisation, we offer our members mentoring and support, with the aim of ensuring the highest possible standards.”

To become a member of the AOIC, applicants must provide references and evidence of their work. Over the years, membership has grown and now stands at 90.

The Association’s celebrants enjoy a range of benefits, the support of experienced professionals and automatically receive public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance.

Members also benefit from regular meetings, workshops and mentoring, along with use of the SAIF counselling service, the 24-hour personal advice helpline to which the Association now has access to.

The Vice President

Harry Foster, who like Philip is a former police officer, is the AOIC’s Vice-President. Harry joined the profession following his retirement from the police force, after his wife admitted having him under her feet all day was ‘driving her mad’!

Harry said: “I found part-time work with a local funeral director who said I had good people skills and asked if I wanted to drive the limousine. Little did I know at that time, it would change my life.”

With time to spare, Harry would listen to the funeral services and, with his experience of dealing with people and good communication skills, took the decision to train as a celebrant, before returning to the Warrington area to begin his new career.

“I have not looked back. I am passionate about my work – a person has had a life that should be celebrated. I have found membership of a recognised professional Association very beneficial, because it is now an industry and I am afraid the day of the enthusiastic amateur is over.”

Support for members

For new Association member, Amanda St John, the opportunity to benefit from the experience of others was a driving factor behind her decision to join.

She says: “I wanted the support of a recognised association behind me, people I could turn to for support and to check some of my work if I was unsure of something. There is a great deal of comfort in knowing that you have a mentor that you can call upon for regular support and on the spot help if you get stuck with something.

“I am all for a raising of standards across the industry. For me there should always be a commitment to excellence: the AOIC checks scripts of new celebrants and has a mentoring scheme in place.”

For more details on the Association, visit the stand at the exhibition, where you can also wish them a very happy birthday.

To learn more about the Association go to:


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