Philip and Richard bring their experience and inspiration to work with people across the community to develop relevant and memorable celebrations and rituals.
Philip works as a presenter, public speaker, master of ceremonies, facilitator, celebrant, or chaplain. He also is a listener, guide, advisor, welfare worker and bereavement carer. Then we can add funeral director, grief educator, and wedding planner.
He grew up in a small rural community with his farming parents, three brothers and four sisters. They learned first-hand about hard work on the farm and the unpredictability of the seasons.
Philip studied at LaTrobe University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. After completing a Diploma of Education at Monash University, he taught English, Legal studies, History, Geography, Religious Studies, and Sport.
With his wife, Donna, they made application to work and teach in Africa. Part of the process included study and training for the ministry. After three years of further studies, training, and working in the church in youth work, they moved to Zambia to learn the local language, go out to villages on weekends, sleep in grass huts, and eat the local food. The family came back to Australia after six years. Philip became the minister at a Baptist church where the tasks included teaching, preaching, and pastoral care.
In 1995, living in Ocean Grove, Philip began to work as a funeral celebrant. “When I officiate at a funeral, I seek to write and present something new and different. Every person for whom I prepare a funeral should have a completely personal ceremony. Every one of us is unique. Therefore, the farewell that we have needs to reflect that distinct story and character.” Philip has a depth of experience and exposure to various cultures and religions. He is also involved in his local football club and Geelong athletics.
Richard is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Ocean Grove and was a member of the Apex Club for 10 years. He has had a key involvement in many local community events. Richard has had a diverse career path, including agricultural sales, clerical administration, tyre-fitting, painting, farm-hand, multi-storey construction and hospitality. Since 1988, he has worked in the funeral industry in Geelong.
Richard is a qualified embalmer, obtaining a Certificate in Mortuary Science (Embalming) in 1995 and being accepted into the Australian Institute of Embalming the same year. Over the years, he has developed skills in coordinating funerals, dealing with a wide variety of people and situations. He has a thorough understanding of death and grief, religious and cultural backgrounds, legal and ethical requirements, funeral home management, industry standards and trends.
In 1995, Philip joined Richard in funeral service in Geelong where they began to combine their skills in creating and producing funeral ceremonies and celebrations. Now, more than ten years on, together they form the heart of bellarine memories.
Donna grew up in Melbourne. She has two brothers. She also studied at La Trobe University, where she met Philip. They married and started their family. They have three children Emma, Simon and Ryan.
In Africa, Donna had roles in hospitality, teaching English as a second language, and various clerical duties.
After the years in Africa, she worked as a kindergarten assistant for 5 years. She then took a year to supervise the building of the family home as owner/builder.
Donna presently works at Barwon Prison. She has a deep interest in people and has a welcoming, warm personality.
Heather and Richard have lived in Ocean Grove for almost 20 years. Heather was retail manager at the local pharmacy for 10 years, prior to commencing work as administrative assistant at the General Practitioner's Association of Geelong in 2008. Heather’s background is in business administration and retail, with experience that has taken her from the ledger book to MYOB.
While Heather worked for a short time at a local funeral service, her real insight to funeral work was gained through growing up in a family funeral business in Colac.
Heather and Richard have 3 children, Grace, James and Will.