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Dunfermline: Former Woodmill High teacher Beverley Bryant nominated for top wedding award

A FORMER Woodmill High teacher who cut her links with education to help couples tie the knot has been nominated for an award.

Beverley Bryant, from Townhill, left the classroom in October to focus full-time on her role as a humanist celebrant.

She has been shortlisted in the Scottish Celebrant of the Year category at the Scottish Wedding Awards 2022.

Also a trained storyteller, English teacher Beverley had been carrying out celebrant duties part-time and had planned to go full-time sooner, however, her plans were rocked by the devastating fire at Woodmill then the coronavirus outbreak.

“I stood at the top of Kingseat hill and watched as 15 years of work and community and resources and everything else just burned,” she said.

“We have the slogan ‘We are Woodmill’ and it is so very true. Colleagues were friends. Friends, colleagues and pupils as well and all these years of work.

“Our English department was in the part of the building that we didn’t get back into. We couldn’t save a single thing. All the thank you cards I had, the wee things that pupils made that hang in the classroom, the resources were all gone for all of us. I don’t think anyone could realize how it was.”

Mum-of-two Beverley, whose husband, David, has also become a celebrant recently, was able to put her storytelling skills to use as children came to learn in makeshift classrooms created in the Vine Centre.

“I went to work with the first years. They were coming from primary school and we had no resources. As a storyteller, the stories are in my head and I don’t need anything other than my voice. They kitted me out with a microphone and I told stories while other teachers from other schools pulled up with jotters in their cars.

“Then we got back. The temporary classrooms were lovely and we just got back and I thought my time is now (to go) and then COVID came. It has just been such a journey.

“I could not give up my job partly because there was no business here to replace it but equally, these same kids had just gone back to their school and are all sent home and learning over the internet and things. It was such a double- whammy for Woodmill in particular.”

In October, Beverley, 52, decided it was the time to make the break.

“Things were still uncertain but I thought, ‘If not now, when?’ I had been dealing with all these people whose lives had been changed. Dreams had been put on hold. I just started to look at things differently and just thought go for it.”

She is now busy with weddings – many rescheduled after lockdown – and also officiates at funerals too.

Being a humanist celebrant has seen her carry out her duties all over the country and she has had many highlights since she started.

“It makes me smile all the time – I was standing up at The Hermitage when lockdown restrictions were eased last year and standing on the bridge up there at Dunkeld looking up to the Birch trees and I thought this is my actual job,” she said .

“I was the first celebrant to conduct a ceremony at the top of the Glenfinnan monument. The wee spiral stair case was not the easiest but it was amazing.

“I did a wedding in December in Glencoe where a stag came to eat the bouquet. It was incredible.

“The ceremonies go from local to far away to really interesting places. Lochsides – I have been soaked to my skin many times! I have met llamas, alpacas, flying owls, dogs – they are often ring-bearers and are more or less successful !

“It is such a privilege. People trust you and you are asked back. If you maybe conduct someone’s wedding ceremony and, sadly, their father passes away, you may be asked to do the funeral.

“It goes the other way as well. I have conducted funerals and then done weddings.”

Beverley, who is part of the Independent Humanist Ceremonies’ 30-plus strong team, was honored to discover she had been nominated as a finalist for the awards ceremony, which will be held in Glasgow on February 23.

She added: “It was a most lovely feeling after such a horrible time.”

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