AddThis SmartLayers

Former journalist opens up on new career conducting weddings and funerals

Tom MortonA former journalist has opened up about his new career conducting funeral and wedding ceremonies.

Tom Morton, who used to work as The Scotsman’s staff reporter in the Highlands, now works as a celebrant in the Shetland Islands.

Tom, pictured, also spent time on The Shetland Times as news editor before taking up his new career six years ago.

He has now written a book about his change in vocation, called ‘Tolls for Thee: Celebrating and reclaiming the end of Life’.

Speaking to Scottish Review, he said: “After training, I was accepted as someone who can officially marry folk. I am absolutely thrilled that I am able to do this.

“At both funerals and weddings, aside from any official function [making sure there is permanent black ink in your fountain pen for marriages: ballpoints and fibre tips are not allowed as the schedule signatures fade with time], being a celebrant is about storytelling.

“It is journalism with no excuses, no fallbacks, and no sub-editors or lawyers to catch your howlers.

“Everything has to be correct and you get one chance: say these names properly and get those relationships right. Do not mention that prison sentence for smuggling live tarantulas through Prestwick Airport.

“That’s why I check, check and triple-check with families. These days, I break that golden journalistic rule and read my copy back to every interviewee.”