The Yew Fellowship exists to celebrate lives and support those left behind.

The death of someone close to you is one of the most difficult experiences in people’s lives. Delivering funeral ceremonies for English speaking communities in France, we recognised that additional barriers exist which make this time even more challenging, such as language barriers, cultural differences and isolation from traditional support structures. There is currently an unmet need within the English speaking community for funerals and bereavement support.

We train and support independent Funeral Celebrants to deliver unique funeral ceremonies. In order to support people practically during the early stages of bereavement, we have developed an additional service which we call ‘Funeral Advocacy’. With online training and ongoing support, we enable our clients to set up and run their own successful, independent businesses.

The Fellowship is built on a foundation of more than 50 years professional experience in supporting people, quality training and leadership. You are in safe, professional hands. But what sets this organisation apart is its values. Heart-based, innovative, authentic, creative, and kind. 

We are looking for people that reflect that – people who are both competent and compassionate. Because we believe it is possible to have a successful business that also does good in the world. 

If these values chime with your own, if you have these special skills, we want to hear from you today.

Our Instructors

If you decide to become a part of the Yew Fellowship, you will be trained by a team led by our highly experienced and passionate directors, Samantha Edmundson and Lara Norris.

Samantha Edmundson

Founder and Director

Who am I? It’s a big question and one Sam has been wrangling with for some time. Essentially though Sam is an easy-going, calm soul who loves people and welcomes new experiences (including learning to love – alright then, like – what she sees when she is in front of the camera – that was not an easy task).

In her quest for a more meaningful life, Sam gave up her work in the charity sector in 2017 in order to travel to India and then mooch around France, Spain and Portugal in Bessie, her very ancient motorhome.

Working with her amazing friend, Lara, brings out the very best in Sam. She is learning to temper her sense of responsibility with some frivolity, a good smattering of giggles and an occasional dance around the kitchen.

Sam is happiest when she is at home with her Partner, Paul, her family and friends, and her two cats, Atticus and Esmerelda. She loves spending time in nature (especially if there is sun involved), on her yoga mat or with a book in her hand.


Lara Norris

Founder and Director

Lara studied Psychology and Research Methods at The University of Hertfordshire where she later worked as a Health Research Consultant.

Lara went on to establish a successful career working in both the charity and political sectors in the UK, including five years in the British Parliament. 

But ask her, and she will tell you that her experiences outside of work and study is where she learned the real lessons that brought her here. Because some of the things that nearly broke her, were the things that ended up making the slightly quirky, passionate, hilariously funny (at least in her own mind) and kind person that you will meet on your course. 

Lara adores watching people grow and is a coach, trainer, writer, public speaker and celebrant. 

“You are never too old to realise that scaring yourself to death is sometimes how you scare yourself to life!” – Said Lara in a rare and inspired moment of wisdom.


Individual Online Learning

You will have a personal sign in to access your training. Each module and topic is listed and includes learning outcomes and tasks. You can monitor your progress as a percentage or by module/topic completed.

You will need to complete each module/topic in turn; once you complete the task for that topic and, where appropriate, submit your assignment, you’ll be able to move onto the next one.

One to one support

The course may be online but it is anything but remote. You will receive personalised support throughout, tailored to your needs. You will have a personal  mentor and coaching opportunities to help you succeed. 

Ongoing professional development

You will receive online and 1:1 support whilst you complete the training. Afterwards there will be opportunities to receive peer support online and to access further professional training from the Yew Fellowship. Additional individual coaching is also available if you feel you’d like to explore that further.