Many funerals are conducted entirely by a priest or celebrant, who writes or co-writes the script and speaks every word of it. There are two reasons for this practice. First, most people do not feel confident that they will be able to create and script a funeral ceremony and, second, they don’t feel they’ll be able to stand up and deliver it; they think that emotion will overcome them on the day.

Better, therefore, to get an outsider in who is emotionally detached.

It can be boring to have to listen to one person talking all the way through and it may be unsatisfactory to have a stranger take the lead at what is a private and personal event.

If you talk yourself out of being able to talk at the funeral you definitely won’t be able to. If, on the other hand, you see it as a powerful duty to the person who’s died, you may get the strength from somewhere. You will, after all, be among friends willing you on. You couldn’t ask for a more supportive and sympathetic audience than them. Who would you rather have a difficult emotional time on front of?

If you do not think that you will be able to lead the ceremony or speak at length, then try to introduce the celebrant yourself. To everyone else the celebrant is a stranger – the only stranger in the building. By introducing the celebrant you give him or her legitimacy and establish that this person is your representative; that their words are your words.

As a rule of thumb, the more people you can persuade to speak, the better.

And don’t overlook children. They are likely to be more fearless than adults, especially girls.