Marriage Celebrant Kenan Osborne, the Jersey Se Marier, has conducted over 50 weddings and recently made a £20,000 donation to Philip’s Footprints, Jersey’s baby loss and safer pregnancy charity.
Kenan explained: “When I applied to be a Celebrant they required a business case to cover how you would run your business. I thought it would be great instead to donate my time and all the funds to charity instead. It seemed to me being involved in marrying people in itself would be an amazing journey and I didn’t need to profit from it.”
“My wife and I lost twins many years ago in early pregnancy, there was little support at the time for parents going thought this. I had heard about the wonderful work Philip’s Footprints did in supporting people and it struck a note with me and so I decided to select them as my charity of choice. I have had very positive feedback, it is amazing how many people experience or know people who experience child loss during pregnancy. They seem so happy to donate on their special day to such a wonderful cause.
“The only real challenge has been Covid and the laws that came in to help manage the pandemic. In one year I had 30 weddings booked and in the end only did a handful. For many couples it was very stressful, I had one couple move the date 6 times. Other than that the real challenge is promoting what I do. There are lots of wedding fayres, but I cannot justify the cost when I am donating all the money I make to charity, so I rely on word of mouth, the website from the Registrars and social media recommendations.
“I am so proud of what I do and feel it is a real privilege to be involved in a couples very special day. I will keep doing it as long as I can – it costs just under £500 a year to run and so it is a small price to pay to support such a worthy cause.”
Jo Nash, Founder said: “As a small Jersey charity we rely heavily on the support of our community and we were delighted when Kenan reached out to us with his fundraising idea. You have to understand, this is not a one-off event it’s an ongoing commitment. We know that he regularly puts in a great deal of time to make sure every ceremony is absolutely perfect for the happy couple. To have raised £20,000 is an enormous achievement and we are just so very grateful to him for supporting Philip’s Footprints.”
Each year, around 900 babies are born in Jersey. For most, it is a joyous occasion bringing new life into the world. But some families do not get to take their much wanted and already much-loved babies home and instead they are left with a devastating and profound heartbreak. In the UK it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss.
Philip’s Footprints provide support to those affected by the loss of a baby or child, offering comfort in memory boxes, remembrance services, bereavement counselling and one to one support as well as regular support meetings.
The charity felt strongly about trying to improve the outcomes for babies, starting their ‘Safer Pregnancy Projects’ in 2015. They now fund professional training, antenatal equipment and information for pregnant women, to reduce the stillbirth and premature birth rate and complications at birth.
Being a charity fundraising Celebrant wasn’t the only connection Kenan would have with Philip’s Footprints. He explained: “When I first approached Philip’s Footprints Founder, Jo Nash, about raising money for their charity I was just taken aback by her enthusiasm and dedication to the charity. When the role of Chair became free, I offered to step in for a short period while the committee found someone to take on the role full time.
“After 6 months I had found it so rewarding that I agreed to take on the role full time. It also became apparent to me how important it is for the male voice and experience of baby loss to be heard as it is often overlooked, so I thought I could help represent that voice and help promote Philip’s Footprints in a different way.”
Jo said “Kenan brings with him a wealth of experience from both the business and charity sector and this has been really helpful to keep us focussed on responsibilities and regulations and to take the charity forward. Together with fundraising from our new 100 Club, Seymour Sprint and Starlight Ball, the ‘Jersey Se Marier’ donation is a massive boost to help us on our way with some big plans we have for this year. “
Photo credit: The Jersey Se Marier