Below are a selection of sample obituaries, examples of the style and structure I employ to tell a life’s story. My obituary template differs from those you see in newspapers or online. It fully re-creates who you or your loved ones are, as if you’re the protagonist in your own novel, or the star in your own film.

Following a self-contained ‘prologue’, the obituary is written in a traditional chronological style, from birth to day of death: family details, cultural and social-historical contextualisation. After that necessary placing, the expected flow unfolds, from childhood to young adulthood, work, marriage, children, maturity and old age. I discuss quirks and foibles, notable events and highlights but also the quiet, secret fabric of a life – the dreams, hopes and reflections that give depth and meaning to the passage of time.

Above all, I identify what was most significant; the recollections, lessons and love we leave behind. This is the heart of the obituary, and how it truly sings. I distil the essence of a person’s life in these final words – and in so doing, honour them in all their complexity and beauty