Mandy's funeral wishes - "Fire me into the sky"

How Mandy’s wishes created a dazzling funeral

Mandy was known for her sparkling personality and life-affirming positivity, which made her a hugely successful “charity angel”, raising more than £2m for good causes over the years and inspiring the #Bemoremandy fundraising campaign to encourage people to live life to the full. After being given the earth-shattering news that her cancer was in-curable in September 2021, her approach was “If I can’t add days to my life, I will add life to my days”.

Shortly before she died, Mandy’s husband, Andrew, was able to tell her that she had received an MBE in the Queen’s Honour List.

Before her death from cancer at the age of 53, Huddersfield fundraiser Mandy Taylor expressed detailed wishes about the funeral she wanted and recorded a personal audio to be played at the service.

After being diagnosed with cancer for the second time, she turned the experience of going for radiotherapy into a positive one, raising money for charity by recording carpool karaoke videos where she was chauffeured to hospital appointments by volunteers in a variety of vehicles singing along to her favourite songs.

After her third and terminal diagnosis, she turned her attention to her legacy and her funeral and the way she wanted her life to be celebrated and remembered.

Mandy’s funeral wishes

Mandy spoke to Sarah in the months leading up to her death to gradually build on her initial thoughts about what she wanted.  She started by knowing where she wanted the service to take place and that she wanted to be able to speak at the service – by leaving an audio-recording to be shared with the people attending.

Mandy knew that by expressing her funeral wishes she would be creating an occasion she would have enjoyed and would be helping her family, friends and those who knew her to take something positive from the occasion. She wanted her natural warmth and sense of fun to light up the event to remind people of the upbeat way she had chosen to live her life.

She decided to make her final journey in a white coffin which was decorated with ostrich feathers, diamante, sequins, and pearls in truly flamboyant Mandy style. A beautiful floral tribute spelled the word “Angel”.

She chose uplifting funeral songs – ‘The Power of Love’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood; ‘Rule The World’ by Take That and ‘Time To Say Goodbye’ by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. Mandy also recorded a poignant and inspiring speech to be played at the service. Rule The World was her favourite song of all time as it was her “first dance” wedding song.

Fire me into the Sky

One of Mandy’s wishes, which by anyone’s standards is typical Mandy style, is that she wanted part of her ashes to be placed in a firework and at a time that her husband thought suitable, be fired into the sky over Huddersfield from the very popular Castle Hill.

Mandy’s birthday was September 21st and by chance, an organisation called lights out are organising an event on September 26th on Castle Hill whereby the whole of the Huddersfield Sky line will fall into darkness as all the lights will be switched off.  What a poignant moment for the Rocket, and part of Mandy, to be fired into the sky at this moment in time.

Mandy’s legacy

Mandy wanted to share her experience of expressing her wishes with others – so that they might feel able to do the same.  She found the experience so much more positive and empowering that she had believed possible and wanted to help other people, as she had always done.

“I don’t want tears and sadness; I want to leave behind a legacy of positivity,” Mandy said in a newspaper interview shortly before her death.  “I’ve had a fantastic life and I want people to remember that.”

In the last months of her life she also launched the #BeMoreMandy foundation – to encourage people to continue to raise funds in her memory.

Leaving funeral wishes

If Mandy’s story has inspired you to want to express your wishes and you would like some support then get in touch.  We know how helpful and important it is to leave and fulfil wishes so it is a pleasure to be able to help.  We can meet with you to understand and document your wishes free of charge and without obligation.

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