Changing careers after 50 is often very intimidating, but for a former BBC Radio York presenter it gave her the chance to make two long-held dreams come true.
Anna Wallace spent over 30 years working for the BBC in York. Most recently, she was the voice of the popular Afternoon Show, with co-host Adam Tomlinson.
But a combination of Covid and cuts in 2019 saw them taken off the air as BBC officials decided to cut the number of daytime shows from four to three.
Anna voluntarily left and has now converted as a family and funeral celebrant with UKSOC (UK Society of Celebrants).
Anna has also decided to go to college for the first time – she is starting her studies next week at York St John’s University, where she is studying mental health, counseling and education.
Many of the skills Anna has learned over the years as a broadcaster have come in handy in her new career as a celebrant. With the skills she learned from her degree, she hopes to provide much-needed grief counseling to the bereaved families she works with – a service that is currently under tremendous pressure.
So, what is an celebrant?
Talk to David Dunning on the Last show (listen again here on YorkMix Radio) she said, “I’m certainly not a curate! However, I am fully qualified to perform funeral and wedding ceremonies, I am self-employed and generally employed by a funeral director or wedding planner on behalf of a family or couple.
“A lot more people are celebrating us these days, it’s a way to reflect their true wishes, I can offer non-religious services as well as services with prayers and spiritual themes, basically every ceremony I write is bespoke and it’s always written with the utmost care and love, something that really matters to me.
“According to the Good Funeral Guide, a celebrant should be a good listener, a good writer and a good performer.
“It’s a rare combination, but I really believe I have these skills in spades, due to my 3 decades in broadcasting. Says Anna who also specializes in baby naming and vow renewals.
“To be honest, it’s possible to have a ceremony for anything these days, some people even have it to bless their new home or business.”
Anna, who lives in Norton, says, “Essentially, if you’re looking for someone to write and host a non-religious or semi-religious burial, wedding, or baptismal ceremony, an officiant is almost always your best bet.
“When it comes to choosing one, it’s best to look for someone who shares your values and who is demonstrably good at their job.
“They should be your representative that day. In short, you are looking for “your kind of person. This new career, I hope, will become the most rewarding and uplifting thing I have ever done, and I hope it will continue for many years to come.
To learn more about Anna’s role as a celebrant, click here.