One Sheffield man who watched the Coronation Street funeral of Hayley Cropper with special interest was former senior education officer Matthew Simpson.
He has been conducting bespoke humanist funerals in the area for eight years, taking around 200, and says increasing numbers of people are opting for the non-religious ceremonies.
“Lots of people know they wouldn’t want a church funeral for themselves, but aren’t really sure what else is available,” he said. “Hayley’s funeral will do a great job in letting people know that there is an alternative – and that it’s a really good one!”
Matthew, an accredited celebrant of the British Humanist Association, which advised ITV, said humanist funerals were very flexible, with no rules or scripts. His role was to create a funeral “that’s just right for that person that has died”.
He added: “We’re all unique and lead such different lives. It’s only right that a funeral reflects this and focuses on that person as an individual.
“By giving Hayley a humanist funeral, Corrie is reflecting what many of us now want from funerals. People want an occasion that is about celebrating a life led and the relationships forged with family and friends, as well as being able to share sadness.”