Contact Tom


07787 831557


How do we mark the great events of our lives together? Traditionally, religious faith has provided the structures, the ceremonies, the words. And the people to provide them. But what if you, for whatever reason, want to avoid the presence of organised religion at your wedding, your welcoming of a new family member, your reaffirmation of friendship? Or at your own or a loved one’s death?


Those were questions facing me in 2015, when I was first asked to conduct a funeral here in the Shetland Islands. I determined from the start that with funerals, what I should do is try and meet the needs of the bereaved. From my own humanist stance I would provide ceremonies without religion, but acknowledging the spiritual nature, the connectedness of us all. But if there was a desire to recognise an emotional bond with the music and poetry of religious faith, I was happy to include that. From Buddhist chants and speed metal through Stoic poetry to rollicking evangelical hymns. Or all four...


I’ve spent most of my working life telling stories, in print, on stage, on radio and TV. To celebrate the life of a lost loved one, to honour their story, was and remains an absolute privilege. If I can enable others to tell those stories, then that’s great, and very much the function of my site set up during the worst of the Covid pandemic.


In the past few years I’ve spoken at weddings and been asked to conduct marriages, but have never found a supportive humanist group that reflected my own beliefs and practice - until now. It’s been a delight to become involved with Celebrate People, and now to offer wedding ceremonies that reflect couples’ love, joy and commitment.

Tom’s book It Tolls for Thee: A Guide to Celebrating and Reclaiming the End of Life was published internationally in 2021.


“Reading this has been, as the BBC would like us to say at every opportunity, ‘a journey’. At the beginning, I’m happy to be drawn gently in, by about half way through, I’m starting to realise that, not only is this entertaining, but it’s important, and by the end I know it’s vital.”  Tim Hayward


“A beautifully written personal account of life and death, as lyrical and tough, tender and grave as the Shetland landscape and communities it is rooted in.”

Stuart Maconie


Watch a video of Tom reading here:


….and  him talking (and cycling) about Shetland here:


This is the Canadian Global News Network film about Tom’s work. It was filmed in sub-zero temperatures and involved several layers of bulky Fair Isle knitwear…