A WALTERS Ash resident has praised Coronation Street writers' decision to hold a humanist funeral for one of the soap's best loved characters.

Tonight in a double bill fans of the soap will see the Street say goodbye to Hayley Cropper.

The character has been the centre of a right to die debate as she took her own life after battling terminal pancreatic cancer.

And Ros Curtis, from Walters Ash, was delighted to see the writers of the soap decided to hold a humanist funeral for Hayley.

Ros conducts non-religious funerals, weddings and baby naming ceremonies in the area as a humanist celebrant.

She said:"Lots of people who aren’t religious know they wouldn’t want a church funeral for themselves but aren’t really sure what else is available. Hayley’s funeral will do a great job in letting people know that there is an alternative - and that it’s a really good one."

She has conducted thousands of ceremonies, many at The Chiltern Crematorium but also in cemeteries or at Woodland Burial sites such as that in Jordans.

Ros said: "What people want is something that is not full of God.

"For us funerals should be about people's lives and not about people's death."

She said some people don't know what they believe and others think they will meet up with loved ones.

Ros said: "I am not going to say to people that is rubbish. I don't believe it but I don't feel it is right to rubbish it if that is what you believe."

When preparing a funeral, Ros visits those closest to the person that has died to find out about their life and what is wanted from the occasion.

She advises on music, readings and contributions from other people and then goes away and writes a unique ceremony.

Ros, who taught at John Hampden Grammar School for many years, decided to train as a humanist celebrant when her dad died and they had to wait some time for a humanist funeral.

She conducts around 100 to 150 humanist funerals a year in the area. Humanists are non-religious people who believe this is the only life we have with no supernatural side, and people can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity.

Ros is a accredited celebrant of the British Humanist Association who has advised ITV on what a humanist funeral might involve.

For more information, contact Ros on 01494 562984 or 07923 450825 or email at ros.curtis@virgin.net