After the shock of suddenly being made redundant last month, a North Tyneside man has gone in a new direction.
Almost 600 people lost their job when energy consultancy firm Utilitywise went into administration.
Among them was David Wilson, who was an energy consultant in the Irish international division for four years.
As it happened, he had conducted a few bespoke ceremonies – including a funeral service for his father-in-law John Oliver in Inverness two years ago and the scattering of ashes, both Mr Oliver’s and Mr Oliver’s mother’s ashes, service on Holy Island last year.
He had qualified as a civil celebrant with a view to potentially doing it as a career in the future, but after what happened to Utilitywise, the 49-year-old has now started his own business.
The services by Choose Precious Moments also include marriage ceremonies, renewing vows and celebrating a new-born.
Mr Wilson, who lives on the Marden Estate in North Shields, said: “Following the funeral service for John, I was highly complimented by the funeral director, as well as the family and friends who were present. This opened my eyes to my potential for conducting bespoke ceremonies for all occasions.
“After doing a few more, I decided to get the necessary qualifications and I completed my training with Tina Bowden of Mulberry Days just before Christmas.
“I told my wife, Victoria, at the start of the year that I was thinking about starting my own business at some point in the next couple of years.
“Being made redundant has sped things up as I decided soon afterwards to immediately begin the process for setting-up Choose Precious Moments.
“I’m now spreading the word that I’m available to create a bespoke ceremony for people and families in the style and with the music they want and it doesn’t have to be in a church or a licensed premises, it can take place in the garden or on the beach.
“I’ve had leaflets and business cards produced, I’ve contacted funeral directors across the region and will be attending wedding fairs.
“My daughter Adele Oliver runs a photography business and she has taken some great shots of me and her 16-month-old son Jaxon (my grandson) and dog Bowser for the publicity material.
“I can do marriage ceremonies if the couple has already completed all the documents with a registry office or has arrangements in place to make their marriage official with a registrar within 17 days of the ceremony.
“I’m excited for the future as I think there’s a lot of people out there who want the type of service I provide and my main aim at the moment is spreading the message that these ceremonies don’t have to be a religious service.”
Utilitywise made the decision to put itself up for sale due to ‘unexpected challenges and legacy issues’ and a statement on its website at the time said the business went into administration on February 13 after the formal sale process ‘did not result in any offers’.
Staff were informed that they were being made redundant by administrators FTI Consulting at a meeting held in the company’s headquarters, which moved to Cobalt Business Park from South Shields in 2014, on the same day.
Mr Wilson said: “There were rumours flying round, but they were denied by management and we were under the impression that the business would be sold or an investor would come on board.
“Therefore, it was a complete shock to be told at the meeting that we had lost our jobs.
“I would say that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel and I hope that things work out for everyone who was made redundant.”
For more information, call 0191 2596214, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Choose Precious Moments Facebook page.