Born and brought up in Ayrshire, just a few miles from where Robert (Rabbie) Burns himself was born, I became a fan of his poetry from an early age, and can vividly remember as a wee girl, being taken to visit the Brig O Doon in Alloway… the setting for the poem Tam O’Shanter, where my dad would sit us down on the bridge and animatedly recite the story of Tam as he tried to flee the witches and warlocks in “Alloway’s Old Haunted Kirk”. And then he would tell us that if we closed our eyes and listened carefully, we might be able to hear the ghost of Tam’s horse Meg, galloping over the cobbled stones as she and Tam tried to escape capture. Of course, I was convinced I heard them every time! These early stories inspired a fascination with his poems, which led to me competing in various Burns contests and becoming Ayrshire Junior Burns Poetry Champion 3 years in a row.
In 1992, after having my two children, I joined the Scottish Ambulance Service, where I worked my way up from Care Assistant to Ambulance Technician, to Paramedic, until in 1999 I became Scotland’s first female Helicopter medic. In 2004, I left the Ambulance Service for pastures new, and after completing a 4 year Psychology degree at the University of Glasgow, followed by a Postgraduate qualification in Mental Health Recovery, I began my Coaching & Professional Speaking business.
In 2015, while working as a lecturer in Edinburgh, I was asked by friends to conduct their beautiful forest wedding in Dumfries & Galloway and it was such a wonderful experience that I made the decision to retrain and become a full-time Celebrant, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I absolutely love it! And as they say in Scotland… “You can take the lassie out of Ayrshire but you can’t take Ayrshire out of the lassie” and so as you might have noticed, there’s a wee bit of Scottishness running through my work!
In late 2017, I began a 2-year training programme with the Interfaith Foundation, a movement which supports and offers ceremonies for people of “all faiths & none.” Not only been life changing for me as an individual but following my ordination in July 2019, it will mean I will be authorised to conduct legal weddings in Scotland. This means that my couples will no longer have to go to the registry office to complete the legal aspects of their marriage.
When I’m not Celebranting, I enjoy spending time in my beautiful garden in the village of Doune in Perthshire, from which I can almost see Doune Castle which is one of the settings for ‘Castle Leoch’ in the TV series Outlander, or with my adorable new grandson Lochlan! And of course my love of all things Scottish, including Robert Burns stays with me, and to this day Tam O’Shanter is still my favourite poem.
Copyright Aye Do Ceremonies 2018.
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