No one likes to speak ill of the dead and, in truth, there are not many dead people who deserve to be badmouthed.

No one is perfect, though, and your tribute will lack emotional honesty if everyone knows that you are avoiding talking about something bad, if that bad thing was a large part of who that person was.

Worse, because you’re working so hard to avoid talking about it, that’s all your listeners will be able to think about. It’s better to confront the truth, or at least to touch on it.

Little faults and foibles are quite different. Everybody has those.

They may be exasperating but they are probably also be lovable. Talk about them. Talk about the things that sometimes drove you mad. You will almost certainly be met with answering, sympathetic laughter from your listeners – affectionate laughter.

Some people think you shouldn’t laugh at a funeral but, if someone made you laugh in life, are they going to stop just because they’re dead?

Humour, when it bubbles up naturally, does not trivialise or distract from the sadness of the ceremony: on the contrary, it enhances it and lends it a very necessary emotional dimension.

A funeral is an occasion where everyone is trying to keep their emotions in check.

Laughter acts as an emotional safety valve.